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US Olympic Trials 2021: All-rounder Tianna Bartoletta will be Team USA's trump card

Tianna leaping to Olympic gold at Rio 2016
Tianna leaping to Olympic gold at Rio 2016

For someone who has won 3 Olympic gold medals, Tianna Bartoletta sure does surprise you. She recently stated she sees herself more as a writer than an athlete.

Tianna Bartoletta - Olympic gold medallist

Tianna Bartoletta has previously won gold at the 2012 London Olympics as part of the US women's 4X100m relay team. Tianna Bartoletta repeated the feat at the 2016 Rio Olympics and added the gold medal in the long jump for her first individual medal at the Olympics.

Tianna Bartoletta also set her personal best in the same event and added to her 2015 World Championship long jump gold medal in the process.

Post the Rio Olympics, Tianna Bartoletta was not at the top of her game in either the long jump or the 100m relay. It was perhaps due to a lot of upheaval in her personal life.

Until June 2021, she didn't even meet Olympic qualifying standards for the long jump or the 100m relay. While the US Olympic Trials have the same norm as the Olympic standards for the 100m (11.15s), the long jump standard (6.70m for US) is slightly more generous than the Olympic standard (6.82m).

Tianna Bartoletta - path to the US Olympic Trials

Tianna Bartoletta made the Olympic standard for 100m by a significant margin just in time for the US Olympic Trials at the NACAC event on 5th June 21. She already has a bye to the long jump event at the US Olympic Trials, since she's the defending Olympic champion. She did hit the US Olympic Trials standard for the long jump at the same event, for good measure.

That said, she is perhaps in better shape for the 100m relay event than the long jump as she hasn't jumped further than 6.75m in the Tokyo Olympics qualifying window yet. On current form, she is barely in the top 50 athletes in the World Athletics rankings for 2021 in the long jump event and in the top 100 for the 100m relay.

Tianna Bartoletta - Tokyo Olympic dreams

Once Tianna Bartoletta gets past the US Olympic Trials, she will look to win a medal at the quadrennial event. Tianna and the US women's team will be hoping to three-peat their gold-medal winning feat in the 4X100m relay event. Surely, they will also be hoping to avoid the controversial path they took to make it to the final at the Rio Olympics.

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At the Rio Olympics, they ended up running alone in the 3rd heat, due to a fumble in heat 2, later attributed to obstruction by another team. Although Tianna Bartoletta wasn't involved in that fumble, the US relay teams, especially the men, have a history of mishaps to accompany their decades of dominance in the event. They will want to avoid any controversy this time around.

If Tianna Bartoletta manages to peak at the right time by bettering her jumps, she could have a chance at winning a medal in the long jump as well. Aiding her will be the fact that the Olympics have a rather cruel twist - the best in the world do not necessarily win gold or even a medal sometimes. So rankings don't mean much on the day of the event.

Tianna Bartoletta - vocal and socially active athlete

Tianna Bartoletta is easily amongst the most articulate and vocal athletes globally and one of the most interesting stars to follow on social media. She has called out fellow athlete Christian Coleman in the past for his WADA whereabouts violations. This is uncommon among athletes who are of the same country and share the same sponsor, where stars don't like to ruffle feathers.

Tianna Bartoletta's candor and boldness add more dimensions to what it means to be an active athlete. Even before her latest autobiographical book, she had written a book for fellow athletes, especially the young and upcoming ones. In the book, Tianna Bartoletta doesn't mince her words, offering a mix of experiential wisdom and tough love to her readers.

She's also working on the launch of for her new book alongside her participation at the US Olympic Trials. It is set to be an interesting read for her fans should she qualify for both the 100m (likely the 4X100m relay team) and the long jump at the Tokyo Olympics.

Also read: US women's relay team runs alone at the Rio Olympics and US women's relay team wins gold at Rio Olympics

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Edited by Diptanil Roy
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