With no Olympics or World Outdoor Championships in track and field this summer, the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot, Poland, which begins today and runs through Sunday, is the blue-ribbon event of the 2014 athletics season. But many of the names that usually grace track and field headlines will be staying stateside during the competition.
Mary Cain announced last week that she also will not compete. Concerned about aggravating a calf injury that cleared an MRI scan, she said in a statement, "I still feel the pain when I wear spikes and have decided not to risk making it worse in Poland."
Even with two of the biggest names in U.S. track and field out, there are still two good stories to follow:
Ashton Eaton: The defending heptathlon champion, current world record holder, and perennial Outside man crush says he's not going for a new heptathlon world record this weekend but is just competing for the win and—probably—a better performance than his wife, Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who competes for Canada.
“My coach will definitely be the most tired tomorrow. This is the first time [Brianne and I] have done a World Indoor Championships together. This will be the first time we’ve competed [in the combined events] at the same meet in such close proximity," Eaton said. "It’ll increase our performances being able to feed off each other.”
Eaton competes in the heptathlon today and tomorrow.
Bernard Lagat: Like fine wine, Legat only gets better with age. At the U.S. championships, the 39-year-old defending 3,000-meter world champion put two seconds on runner-up Galen Rupp—who is 12 years Lagat's junior.
"I'm excited to go to World Championships. You know why? Because I'm the defending champion. In my head, I'm thinking, can I still do this?" Legat said after his U.S. Championships victory. "If I can pass the strong guys who are going to be running hard in the front, I think everything is possible."
Lagat competes in the men's 3,000-meter on Sunday, which NBC is broadcasting at 10:10 a.m. ET.