US Olympic Track Trials 2012: 5 Top Medal Contenders Set to Compete at US Trials

Richard LangfordCorrespondent IJune 27, 2012

US Olympic Track Trials 2012: 5 Top Medal Contenders Set to Compete at US Trials

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    The 2012 U.S. Olympic Track Trials have passed the halfway point, but there are still plenty of top medal hopefuls ready to take their first step towards capturing 2012 London glory.

    The following men and women all have shown they have what it takes to be a on the short list of legitimate contenders for the gold in their respective events, and they will be looking to solidify that status as they attempt to qualify for the Olympic team.  

    Here are five athletes, all with big-time medal hopes, definitely worth keeping an eye on in the closing days at the trials. 

No. 5: Bernard Lagat, 5,000 Meters

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    A 37-year-old long-distance runner is not typically the first place Americans are going to turn to when pegging down medal hopefuls, but that is exactly what Bernard Lagat is.

    He was second in the 5,000-meter event at the 2011 World Championships, and he set the American record while doing so.

    Leading up to the trials, he had not run the 5,000 yet this year, but he took the gold in the 3,000 at the 2012 Indoor World Championships. 

No. 4: Lashinda Demus, 400 Hurdles

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    LaShinda Demus has not been on top of her 400-meter hurdle game in 2012, but she has likely just been laying low while keeping her sights set on London. 

    In 2011, Demus took first in this event at the 2011 World Championship, and she broke the U.S. record with her victory with a time of 52.47 seconds. That is better than any time turned in in the 400 hurdles this year. 

    If Demus can recapture that form, she will be tough to beat. 

No. 3: Will Claye, Triple and Long Jump

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    Claye excels at both the long and triple jumps. In the 2012 World Indoor Championships, he won the gold in the triple jump and took fourth in the long jump. 

    Claye is a consistent performer and shouldn't run into any problems qualifying. And once he gets to London, he has a solid chance to bring home two medals. 

No. 2: Chaunte Lowe, High Jump

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    Chaunte Lowe has been spectacular in the high jump this year. 

    She took the gold at the 2012 Indoor World Championships, and she has four of the top eight marks this year in outdoor high jump competition.

    Lowe's consistency and ability should find her easily qualifying for the Olympic team and a near lock for a medal once she gets to London. 

No. 1: Christian Taylor, Triple Jump

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    Christian Taylor has been so good at the triple jump that it would be a shock if he came back from London with anything other than a gold.

    He took gold at the 2011 World Championships, and he has the world's longest triple jump this year. 

    He should have an easy time advancing at the trials.