Home Sports Teen phenom Quincy Wilson’s Paris dream may not be over even after falling short in 400 final

Teen phenom Quincy Wilson’s Paris dream may not be over even after falling short in 400 final

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EUGENE, OREGON - JUNE 24: Quincy WIlson and Justin Robinson compete in the men's 400 meters final on day four of the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Track and Field Trials at Hayward Field on June 24, 2024 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

It is now out of Quincy Wilson’s control whether he will become the youngest man to make the United States Olympic track and field team.

The fate of the 16-year-old track phenom is in the hands of men’s relay coach Mike Marsh and a USA Track & Field selection panel.

Wilson’s captivating bid to claim an automatic berth to the Paris Olympics ended Monday night when he finished outside the top three in the men’s 400-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Trials. His time of 44.94 seconds placed him in sixth place, well behind winner Quincy Hall and fellow Olympic qualifiers Michael Norman and Chris Bailey.

Racing into the final turn at Hayward Field, Wilson followed eight of America’s fastest 400-meter runners, some of them seasoned professionals twice his age. Wilson chased down three of the men in front of him down the stretch, not bad for a kid who just finished his sophomore year of high school.

Quincy Wilson finished sixth in Monday night’s 400-meter final. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Wilson could still become a Paris Olympian if he is chosen for the USA Track & Field relay squad after the Trials are over. The United States can bring up to seven men’s 400-meter runners to Paris, the three who qualified for the individual event, two who are eligible for the men’s 4×400-meter relay and two more who can take part in the medley relay.

In 2021, the top seven finishers in the 400 final at Trials were part of the relay group. Will London, ranked eighth, was a backup in case anyone else was injured or unavailable.

That Wilson is in this position is notable considering he turned 16 in January and still doesn’t have a driver’s license. He is about a year younger than middle-distance runner Jim Ryun, who made the 1964 U.S. Olympic team at age 17 years and 137 days.

Wilson first attracted attention in athletics circles after his family moved from Chesapeake, Virginia, to Gaithersburg, Maryland, so he could attend a private school known as a track powerhouse. The precocious young sprinter racked up trophies and broke national age group records when he was a freshman and sophomore at Bullis School.

Last September, at just 15 years old, Wilson landed an NIL contract with New Balance. In April he signed with WME Sports, the same agency that represents Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone.

Despite his talent and impressive high school credentials, Wilson arrived at the US Olympic Trials last weekend as an afterthought. It was one thing for a third-year high school student to constantly outperform his classmates. It was a completely different challenge for Wilson to defend himself against grown men.

like wilson he joked earlier this month during an appearance on the “CITIUS MAG” podcast, “I’m competing with the big dogs. I have to put on my big boy boots.”

Those big boy boots sometimes seemed rocket propelled.

In his Olympic Trials debut on Friday night, Wilson broke a 42-year-old under-18 world record when he won the men’s 400-meter heat in 44.66 seconds. That record stood for two days before Wilson lowered it again in the 400 semifinals, recovering after the final turn to run a time of 44.59 seconds and advance to Monday’s final.

The hype surrounding Wilson reached a crescendo after those performances. Deion Sanders congratulated him on X. So did Michael Johnson. He went from having his preliminary series not air live on NBC on Friday to being a main attraction on the network’s broadcast on Monday night.

While the fairytale ending would have been for Wilson to place in the top three in the 400 final, her most likely ticket to Paris was always as a member of the relay group.

Wilson’s driving test may have to wait.

The 16-year-old track phenom might be too busy this summer to prepare for it.

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