Donavan Brazier, reigning world champion, fails to qualify for Tokyo Olympics at 800 meters

Story Highlights

  • Donavan Brazier's failure to make the Olympic team was a stunning development
  • Brazier says he made a move too early in the race and ran out of gas
  • Elle Purrier St. Pierre wins the women's 1,500, setting a meet record
  • Sha'Carri Richardson withdraws from the women's 200

EUGENE, Ore. — The fourth day of the U.S. Olympic track and field trials featured possibly the biggest shocker thus far.

Reigning world champion and American record-holder Donavan Brazier finished last in the 800-meter men's final Monday and failed to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. The 24-year-old Brazier finished the race in 1:47.88 – more than four seconds behind the winner, Clayton Murphy, who won bronze at the 2016 Rio Games.

Isaiah Jewett, who recently won a NCAA title at 800 meters for USC, came in second. And Bryce Hoppel will round out the Olympic team.

Brazier said after the race that he believes he made a move a bit too early in the race and ran out of gas in the final 200 meters. When asked if he is healthy, he said he's had "some things bugging me" but declined to go into specifics.

Donavan Brazier looks on in the first round of the men's 800 Meters during the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 18, 2021. (Photo: Patrick Smith, Getty Images)

"There's things that champions overcome, and I couldn't overcome them," Brazier said. "So obviously, I'm not of that championship-caliber that I needed to be at."

When asked if there's anything he could take away from this experience, he said: "I can't take away anything from this experience. I ran pretty (expletive)."

Brazier's last-place finish comes roughly five years after he finished 19th at the 2016 Olympic trials, which he described to reporters in a news conference last week as a "self-destruction." 

Brazier added that he "probably won't" compete in the men's 1,500 later this week.

Meet record for Purrier St. Pierre  

The sweltering heat at Hayward Field did little to slow down Elle Purrier St. Pierre.

The 26-year-old led the women's 1,500-meter final from start to finish, setting a personal best and meet record of 3:58.03 to secure her place in Tokyo. Two of her teammates and training partners, Cory McGee and Heather MacLean, finished second and third, respectively.

Jenny Simpson, a three-time Olympian who won a bronze medal in Rio, finished 10th. 

The win caps a terrific year for Purrier St. Pierre, who married her high-school sweetheart in September and has not lost a 1,500-meter race in 2021.

Richardson withdraws from 200

After her star performance in the 100-meter dash over the weekend, Sha'Carri Richardson has decided to withdraw from her secondary event, the 200.

Richardson has been the fastest American woman at both distances this year, but her camp viewed the 200 as merely a fallback, in case she didn't qualify in the 100. The 21-year-old will likely be favored to win two medals – in the 100 and 4×100 relay – in Tokyo. NBC first reported Richardson's withdrawal Monday morning.

Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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