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What you need to know as track and field takes off at the Tokyo Olympics.

TOKYO — Athletes in track and field spent the first half of the year taking aim at — and shattering — a smorgasbord of world records. No one should be surprised to see more of those records fall in the coming days, when runners and jumpers take center stage at the Games. Despite the absence of fans, the Olympic Stadium has not been short on drama.

In these uncertain times, reaching the starting line could be considered an achievement. But many of the athletes have come to Tokyo with ambitious goals.

There are 10 consecutive days of track and field, beginning on Friday in Tokyo (Thursday evening in the U.S.) with the first rounds of the men’s 400-meter hurdles, the women’s 800 and 100 meters and more before concluding with the men’s 10,000-meter final. The competition runs through Aug. 8, when the men’s marathon will punctuate the festivities in Sapporo, about 500 miles north of Tokyo, where organizers expect cooler weather.

Allyson Felix, 35, the grande dame of U.S. track and field and a six-time gold medalist, is set to compete next week in the 400 meters in her fifth and final Olympics.


In the women’s 100 meters, Sha’Carri Richardson, the American star whose positive marijuana test cost her a spot in the Tokyo Olympics, would have been a favorite. But though Richardson will be absent, the event remains a draw with sprinters like Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica, 34, who is already a two-time Olympic champion in the event.

Here’s our complete guide to track and field at the Games, including a breakdown of the rules of competition, a list of the sport’s star Olympians, and the more intriguing events to watch for.

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