The world’s best runners, jumpers and throwers are in Eugene, Ore., this week to compete in the world track and field championships. At least most of them. But not all.
Some are injured. Some did not qualify. Some serve to ban doping. Some had visa problems. Some are missing for several reasons, or no public reason at all.
These are some of the most important absences.
Sha’Kari Richardson won the 100 meters at the United States Olympic Trials last year, looking to cement the mantle of a future great American sprinter. But since then, things have only gone downhill for him.
He missed the Olympics last summer after testing positive for marijuana, and only raced last year. Last month at the United States Championships, he failed to make it past the first round of the qualifying stage. His attempt to reach the 200 World Cup also failed.
After that, he organized news media.
In less than two months last year, Cole Hawker won the 1,500 at the NCAA Championships, won the same event at the Olympic Trials and finished sixth at the Tokyo Olympics.
The 21-year-old’s excellent form continued in 2022. He won the 1,500 at the U.S. Indoor Championships and skipped the much less prestigious World Indoor Championships to focus on the outdoor championships.
Unfortunately, his plan was foiled at the United States Championships in the 1,500 when his famous kick dropped him in the final 50 meters. After that, his agent said that he was injured.
Social media star Tara Davis, who finished sixth in the long jump at the Olympics, was ruled out of the United States championships with a knee injury.
As a marathon bronze medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, Molly Seidel was offered a spot at the World Championships eight months ago. However, since then his running has been hampered by injuries. Seidel crashed midway through the Boston Marathon this spring, and earlier this month he said he had a stress reaction in his sacrum, the bone at the end of his spine.
Seidel was replaced in the marathon by Kira D’Amato, who set the American marathon record in Houston earlier this year. D’Amato finished eighth at Oregon State on Monday and was one of three Americans to finish in the top 10.
The greatest marathoner of all time – he won 14 of the 16 marathons he started, including the last two Olympics – Eliud Kipchoge has made a habit of skipping world championships to compete in the much more lucrative big city marathons instead. Kipchoge follows the standard elite marathon schedule of running one in the spring and another in the fall, breaking form only during Olympic years.
He will compete in the Berlin Marathon next September.
Burundi’s Francine Nyonsaba was one of the world’s best 800m runners, winning a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics. But in 2019, it was determined that Nyonsaba would no longer be able to compete at middle distances due to naturally elevated testosterone levels.
She has since moved on to longer distances and finished fifth in the 10,000 at the Tokyo Olympics, but withdrew from the world championships this week after missing training with a stress fracture.
With colorful hair, masks of the Joker and the Incredible Hulk and, among other things, incredible strength, Raven Sanders was one of the most memorable characters of last year’s Olympics, winning a silver medal in shooting.
Sanders was also among the few athletes to stage a protest in Tokyo, raising his arms in an X while accepting the medal, later saying it was a gesture for “oppressed people.”
Sanders only finished fourth in qualifying, but he will still be in Eugene for interviews and the game. Fantastic track.
World champion pole vaulter Sam Kendricks would likely be one of the few to challenge Swedish champion Mondo Duplantis. But Kendricks underwent knee surgery in early May and hasn’t recovered as quickly as expected.
Randolph Ross and Lawrence Cherono
The two athletes were suspended from competition by the Athletics Integrity Unit – the World Athletics Federation’s anti-doping arm – on the eve of the World Championships.
American Randolph Ross, who won gold in the 400 relay in Tokyo, was suspended as the AIU said it was “pending an investigation into a potential venue violation”. A location violation occurs when an athlete is not where they said they would be when anti-doping testers try to test them.
Lawrence Cherono, a Kenyan who is one of the world’s top marathoners, has tested positive for trimetazidine, a banned heart drug best known as the drug that teenage Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva tested positive for before this year’s Winter Olympics.
Peres Jepchirchir, the marathon champion at the Tokyo Olympic Games, withdrew from the World Championships due to a thigh injury.
Reigning world and Olympic 400 champion Stephen Gardiner wrote on Instagram last week that he had to withdraw due to tendinitis.
It is unclear why Gareth Scantling, who finished fourth in the decathlon in Tokyo, is not competing. Scantling qualified for the world championships at the United States Combined Events Championships in April with a score that ranks him as the third-best American of all time, behind only Dan O’Brien and Ashton Eaton.
But Scantling was not on the USA Track & Field World Championships roster, and Scantling, his agent and the national federation did not explain why.
Athletes facing visa problems
About 100 athletes were still having trouble entering the United States as of Thursday night because of visa issues. Some, Kenyan sprinter Ferdinand Omanyala, barely made it to Eugene in time to compete. Others, like British marathoner Chris Thompson, had to withdraw.