Starting Friday, February 21, track and field athletes from across the U.S. will compete for championship titles and a place on the U.S. Team at the USATF Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The top athletes in their events will go on to represent the U.S. at the World Indoor Track & Field Championships in Sopot, Poland, on March 7-9.
The men's 3000-meter run and the women's 1500-meter run are two of the most highly anticipated events at the championships this weekend. Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp and 12-time World Championship medalist Bernard Legat are entered in the 3,000-meter race. The women's 1500-meter run puts two running prodigies against each other: Jordan Hasay and Mary Cain.
Because there is neither a Summer Olympic Games nor an outdoor track and field world championship this year, indoor track and field gains importance as the only international championship this year. But because the sport, and the public, put less pressure on indoor competition, many athletes are looking forward to this gap year in the sport.
"I'm very excited it's a non-championships year. I don't think my heart can take any more stress and anxiety from qualifying to compete," says Jenn Suhr, who won gold in the pole vault at the 2012 London Olympics.
Two-time USA Outdoor heptathlon champion Sharon Day echoes those sentiments: "I think it's a great opportunity to get a mental and physical break to recharge for the years after this."