Track & Field

A 16-year-old was just fractions of a second shy of becoming youngest male US track Olympian ever

Quincy Wilson still has a chance to be part of the U.S. 4x400m relay team. 

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Quincy Wilson, a 16-year-old from Bullis School outside Washington D.C., finished sixth with a time of 44.94 in Monday’s 400-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials. 

Quincy Hall clocked in at 44:17 to take the top spot, and Michael Norman (44:41) and Chris Bailey (44:42) also claimed places on the team headed to Paris.

Though Wilson failed to make the team as an individual runner — and become the youngest male ever to do so — he will have a chance to be part of the U.S. 4x400m relay team. 

Quincy Hall
Quincy Hall competes in the men's 400-meter final in Eugene, Ore., on Monday. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

The result does not take away from an incredible weekend for the high schooler after he set — and then bested — the world record for under-18 runners that stood for 42 years. 

“I’ve never been this happy a day in my life when it comes to track,” Wilson said after he ran a 44.59 in the semifinals. “I’ve been working for this moment. That record I broke two days ago, that’s 42 years of nobody being able to break that record. I broke it twice in two days. It means a lot to me, because it means the hard work is paying off.”

Wilson, who only 19 days ago finished his sophomore year of high school, competed this week with some of the world’s fastest runners. Vernon Norwood is 32, twice Wilson’s age. Michael Norman, 26, finished fifth in the Tokyo Games.

Norman called Wilson’s performances “spectacular.”

“A 16-year-old is going out here competing like a true competitor,” Norman said. “He’s not letting the moment get too big. He’s living in the moment and competing, so it’s great to see young talents like himself elevate, push us to run a little bit faster and take us out of our comfort zone. He has a bright future in front of him as long as he stays grounded and focused.”

Michael Norman
Michael Norman competes in the first round of the men's 400-meter dash on Day 1 of the U.S. Olympic team track and field trials in Eugene, Ore., on Monday. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Wilson, at 5-feet-9 and 140 pounds, could have faded in that semifinal. At the final turn, he was in fifth place with a lot of ground to make up for down the stretch. He said “the race plan went out the window” at that point and he had to dig deep. 

“Stay calm,” he said he told himself in that moment. “I didn’t get out the way that I wanted to, but like my coach said, the race starts at 300. Coming up from fifth to third, it means a lot. If you look at me, I’m not as strong, so it’s 100% heart inside.”

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