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What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons?

Two runners will be making their marathon debut at the Olympics, and American Leonard Korir is getting screwed by USATF, World Athletics and the IOC

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Leonard Korir, who secured third place in the US Olympic Marathon Trials, faces the end of his quest for the 2024 Olympics following World Athletics’ recent decision to include 11 universality places in the Olympic marathon field. 

In addition to the men’s field, World Athletics has granted nine universality places in the women’s Olympic marathon category. However, this won’t affect the American women, who are set to send a complete team of three athletes. Fiona Oโ€™Keeffe, Emily Sisson, and Dakotah Lindwurm, the top three finishers at the US Olympic Trials, all comfortably surpassed the 2:26:50 auto standard during the qualifying period from November 6, 2022, to May 5, 2024.

Korir’s failure to meet the auto standard, with his best time during the qualifying period being 2:09:31, renders his Olympic quest moot, with the only remaining way to secure a spot is by multiple athletes withdrawing. 

Initially, Korir seemed to have a strong chance. He ranked as the third American on the Road to Paris list, a rather convoluted World Athletics created scoring system meant to simplify the selection process if an athlete didn’t hit the Olympic standard, when it seems to have just caused more confusion and frustration, even for the most committed fan of running. CJ Albertson held the 73rd spot, with the top 80 men on the list securing Olympic berths, meaning that Albertson had effectively secured a final qualification spot for the American squad, which Korir had earned by qualifying third at the U.S. Olympic Trials in early March (Albertson was fifth in that race, but the USATF requires that a qualifying marathon runner must place in the top three to go to the Games).

But with World Athletics suddenly reallocating quotas, Korir’s fortunes dramatically shifted. World Athletics’ decision to award 11 universality places led to Albertson’s downgrade to #84 on the Road to Paris list, meaning that the U.S. lost its third men’s spot for Games participation.

World Athletics’ aim in December 2022 was for 50% of qualifiers in the menโ€™s and womenโ€™s marathons to come through the entry standard and 50% through world ranking. However, with the current landscape, neither the men’s nor women’s marathons are expected to see qualifiers via world ranking.

So, who are the athletes that have received these universality places?

What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 1

Dario Ivanovski

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฐ North Macedonia

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:08:26 (2024 Seville)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 2

Il Ryong Han

๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ต North Korea

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:09:42 (2024 Wuxi)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 3

Amine Khadiri

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ Cyprus

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:10:20 (2023 Seville)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 4

Samuel Freire

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ป Cabo Verde

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:11:01 (2024 Seville)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 5

Cristhian Zamora

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡พ Uruguay

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:11:02 (2023 Seville)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 6

Jordan Gusman

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:13:13 (2023 Chicago)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 7

Ilya Tyapkin

๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Kyrgyzstan

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:17:05 (2024 Hannover)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 8

Eduardo Terrance Garcia

๐Ÿ‡ป๐Ÿ‡ฎ Virgin Islands

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:17:09 (2023 McKirdy Micro)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 9

Valentin Betoudji

๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฉ Chad

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:18:20 (2023 Valencia)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 10

Mo’ath Alkhawaldeh

๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด Jordan

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:21:17 (2023 Berlin)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 11

Yaseen Abdalla

๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Sudan

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
None, Olympics will be debut
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 12

Kwang-Ok Ri

๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ต North Korea

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:27:23 (Wuxi 2024)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 13

Sardana Trofimova

๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฌ Kyrgyzstan

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:27:32 (Hannover 2024)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 14

Lilia Fisikovici

๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฉ Moldova

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:30:06 (Wien 2024)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 15

Helalia Johannes

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Namibia

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:30:53 (Wien 2024)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 16

Mokulubete Blandina Makatisi

๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ธ Lesotho

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:30:54 (Wien 2024)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 17

Rutendo Joan Nyahora

๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ผ Zimbabwe

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:32:00 (Frankfurt 2023)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 18

Militsa Mircheva

๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ Bulgaria

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
2:32:03 (Osaka 2024)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 19

Kinzang Lhamo

๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡น Bhutan

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
3:26:42 (Punakha 2024)
What Are Olympic Universality Places, And Who Are the Runners Who Just Got A Spot in the Paris Games Marathons? 20

Shantoshi Shrestha

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ตNepal

Best Marathon During Qualification Window:
None, Olympics will be debut
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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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