The Olympic track & field action kicks off today, and two HepsNation women will be in the mix.
Alexi Pappas will participate in the first final on the track – the women’s 10km. This will be the second time Pappas will race the 10km in a Greek uniform (third time as a Greek national athlete). Given the talent of the event entries, the conditions could be favorable for Pappas to set a new personal best and Greek national record in this event (her current best and Greek national record is 31:46.85). She will be lined up with the likes of two-time Olympic 10km champ Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, world leader Almaz Ayana of Ethiopia, four-time World Champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya, and other speedy individuals from Eastern Africa. But the Rio heat and humidity could impact the whole field. Regardless of the weather impacts, Letsrun.com is calling this race an “unreal final” in their event preview. A IAAF preview is also available for your reading pleasure.
But our first athlete to compete will be Harvard’s rising senior Nikki Okwelogu. Representing the Green and White of Nigeria, Okwelogu is ranked 39th in the world with her all-time Ivy best distance of 17.91m (58-09). She will need a huge new personal best if she wants to make the shot put finals that will be held during the Day 1 evening session. The top three in the world have bests over 20 meters (65-07 ½), which includes the two-time defending champion Valerie Adams from New Zealand. Okwelogu will need to be one of the top 12 competitors in the field or surpass 18.40m (60-04 1/2) to automatically advance to the Friday night final. Check out the event previews provided by Letsrun.com and the IAAF.
You can follow the action through the live results website provided by IAAF or – if your cable provider allows it – through the webstream at NBCOlympics.com.