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United States track and field poised to finish stron...
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United States track and field poised to finish strong from start in Rio

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    United States track and field athletes will take on the best in the world at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio next month.

    Track and field competition begins on Aug. 12 and will run continuously through Aug. 20. Each day will feature a final in at least one event.

    To qualify for the Olympics, U.S. track and field athletes had to finish in the top three in an event at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials in Eugene, Ore. They also needed to record a distance, time, score or height in their event that met or exceeded a preset qualifying standard.

    In all, 129 track and field athletes will represent the U.S. in Rio. Which of these athletes have the best chance of bringing home a gold medal?

    The men’s sprinting events feature two formerly disgraced stars looking for redemption.

    Justin Gatlin has resurrected his career since serving a four-year ban from the sport from 2006-2010 for performance-enhancing drug use. The 34-year-old sprinter enters the Rio Olympics with the fastest time in the world this year in the 100-meter dash and the second-fastest time in the world in the 200-meter dash.

    LaShawn Merritt also looks to erase the memory of a past occurrence of performance-enhancing drug use. The two-time Olympic champion has the fastest time in the world this year in both the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash.

    Smooth-running Matt Centrowitz will battle for a gold medal with a number of African competitors in the 1500-meter run.

    Ageless wonder Bernard Lagat will get one more chance at Olympic glory. The 41-year-old will compete in the 5000-meter run in Rio, marking the fifth time in his career he has qualified for the Olympics.

    Former Florida Gator Kerron Clement goes into the Rio Olympics with the second-best time in the world this year in the 400-meter hurdles.

    He won gold in this event at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

    Ashton Eaton looks to defend his Olympic title from four years ago in the decathlon. He is the world record holder in this event and has won gold in multi-event competitions in one Olympics, two World Outdoor Championships,and three World Indoor Championships since 2012.

    Not to be outdone by their male counterparts, the U.S. ladies figure to be in the running for gold medals as well.

    Allyson Felix will have an opportunity in Rio to add to her collection of four Olympic gold medals. She has the second-fastest time in the world this season in the 400-meter dash and will run a leg on Team USA’s 4X400-meter relay team.

    The U.S. has a chance to sweep the medals in the 110-meter hurdles. Brianna Rollins, Kristi Castlin and Nia Ali own the second, third, and fourth-best times in the world this year respectively. The athlete with the fastest time in the world this season failed to qualify for the Olympics.

    Brittney Reese will look to defend her 2012 Olympic title in the long jump. She goes into Rio with the best mark in the world in this event.

    While the Olympics always provides surprises, the athletes mentioned above give the U.S. the best chance at Olympic gold.

    After leading the world with 28 total medals between the two genders at the 2012 London Olympics, U.S. track and field athletes will try to be similarly dominant in Rio.





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