2012 USA Olympic Trials Home
Current Men's Qualifiers:
Qualifying Times Run: 347
Qualified by 26.2M: 85
Current Women's Qualifiers:
Qualifying Times Run: 414
Qualified by 26.2M: 196
About the Trials/Qualification Standards
Most countries around the world use a selection committee to choose their Olympic Team Members, but not the USA. Prior to 1968, a series of races were used to select the USA Olympic Marathon team, but beginning in 1968 the format was changed to a single race on a single day with the top three finishers selected to be part of the Olympic Team and the fourth and fifth finishers designated as alternates.
As a once-every-four-years opportunity to be selected to the Olympic Marathon team, the USA Olympic Team Trials is arguably the most important marathon that many will run. For some, just getting to the Trials is a goal in itself and marks them as among the best in the USA. For others, the Trials is the first step in making the Olympic Team. Whatever the motivation for running the Trials, one thing is for sure: the men and women who will represent the USA at the 2012 Olympic Marathon in London will come from the lists on these pages.
The Qualifying Standards - History, Pre-2008
The Men's and Women's Long Distance Running (LDR) divisions of USA Track & Field (USATF) set separate qualifying standards and they may change during each four-year cycle. Prior to 2008, all qualifying was done through times achieved at the marathon distance and two standards were available: a tougher standard (the A-Standard) which gave the runner a fully-paid trip to the Trials and a B-Standard which allowed entry, but required the athlete to pay his/her own way. An exception to the marathon-only qualification was set for the women's marathon in 1988 and 1992, when B-Standard qualifying times were set for achievements at the Half-Marathon and 10,000m distances.
Qualifying Standards - 2008
For the 2008 Trials, Men's and Women's LDR added shorter standards to the Qualifying distances in the hope that some promising track stars might choose to jump up to the marathon distance and/or that promising marathoners who were unable to run a marathon in the qualifying window might still find multiple opportunities to qualify as it is theoretically easier to run a bunch of 10,000m or Half Marathon races compared to the toll a marathon puts on a body. For 2008, the Women's qualifying standards added the 10,000m (track) distance as an additional B-Standard; and the Men's qualifying standards included a 10,000m (track) AND 5,000m (track) distances to the qualifying standards as B-Standards. Ultimately, the addition of the 10,000m standards for men and women had limited success as they added 25 qualifiers (only 8 starters) for the men and 10 qualifiers (only 1 starter) for the women. The idea of adding a 5,000m standard for the men was a dismal failure as it added 16 "qualifiers" to the list, but not a single one was interested in actually participating in the marathon.
Qualifying Standards - 2012 = Discrimination?
With some success at prior use of shorter qualifying distances, both the men's and women's standards for 2012 included Half Marathon (great idea!) and 10,000m (limited efficacy) standards for qualifying. Men's LDR made the bold decision of removing a B-Standard from the marathon qualifying times, we think a questionable decision. What separates the men and women's qualifying for 2012, is that virtually ALL of the men's standards are being considered A-Standards, meaning that ALL men will gain a free trip to Houston, even as it seems that a minority are using the marathon to gain entry to the Trials. On the other hand, women qualifying by the Half Marathon or 10,000m distances will have a B-Standard and MOST women will need to pay their own travel and hotel for the Trials. [as of today, 159 of 161 men will have their trip paid for, whereas only 45 of 226 women will have their trip paid for.]
The 2012 Standards: