EUGENE, UNITED STATES (AFP) – World 800m champion Donavan Brazier suffered a sensational upset at the United States (US) Olympic track and field trials in Oregon on Monday, finishing last in a shock final won by Clayton Murphy.
Murphy, the 2016 Olympic bronze medallist, produced a devastating finish to power to victory, overtaking Isaiah Jewett in the home stretch in a world-leading 1min 43.17sec.
Jewett, a student at the University of Southern California, finished second with a personal best of 1:43.85 to book his ticket to Tokyo while Bryce Hoppel finished third in 1:44.14.
But it was Brazier’s listless performance that provided the biggest shock of the trials so far.
The 24-year-old 2019 World Championships gold medallist had been looking to atone for his disappointing showing at the 2016 Olympic trials, when he surprisingly bombed out in the opening round.
He had looked comfortable during Saturday’s semi-finals, easily qualifying in second place from his heat behind Murphy.
In Monday’s final he looked to be well-positioned heading into the final 200m, but was unable to find an extra gear as Murphy passed him and the front-runners pulled away down the stretch.
Brazier later said he had miscalculated his race, pushing too hard on the opening lap and leaving himself critically short of power in the closing stages.
“I think I might have made a move a little too early and tried to get in a better position in the first 300-350 and paid the price in the last 200,” Brazier said.