Here’s what you need to know about the Track and Field Olympic Trials

Canada’s best runners, jumpers and throwers will be in Montreal this week for the 2024 Bell Track & Field Trials, which are a mandatory event for most athletics athletes hoping to compete for Canada at the upcoming Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Here’s what you need to know about the event — and a look at some Saskatchewan athletes to keep an eye on.

How many athletes can Canada send to the Olympics in track and field?

Each National Olympic Committee can send up to three athletes per individual event, one team per relay event, and up to two teams in the mixed team race walk.

In order to “unlock” spots for individual events, a country’s athletes need to hit qualifying times/distances or be ranked high enough based on World Athletics or World Para Athletics rankings during the qualification window (July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024 for most events). You can head online to check out the qualifying time for the Olympic track and field events, the World Athletics rankings, the Paralympic Games entry standards and the Team Canada Paralympic Athlete Ranking List.

Do athletes need to compete in the Trials to be named to the Olympic team?

For most individual events, athletes must participate in the Bell Track & Field Trials to be eligible to be named to the Olympic team. Athletes with an injury or illness that prevents them from competing can receive a written medical exemption.

Exceptions exist for some of the longer events; the 10,000m championships took place in May and there are no trials for the marathon. Nominated marathon athletes can meet their trials requirement by competing in a shorter event at the Trials or a Canadian Championship road race.

Do the winners of the Trials go to the Olympics?

Not necessarily; the top finisher at the Trials will only be nominated to the Olympic team if they have met the qualifying time/distance or are ranked high enough based on World Athletics rankings. The men and women’s winners of the 10,000m champions last month had not yet run the 10,000m qualifying standard so were not named to the team. They could still punch their tickets to Paris if they achieve the standard before June 30.

How can I watch the Trials?

The Bell Track & Field Trials take place Wed. June 26 through Sun. June 30 and will be broadcasted live on for RunnerSpace +PLUS subscribers. Accounts cost $12.99 monthly.

Who are some Saskatchewan athletes to watch?

There’s a lot of great Saskatchewan talent headed to Montreal. Thank you to Astrid Nyame and Adrea Propp who have compiled the below list of some athletes to keep an eye on. Nyame and Propp are co-founders of SaskWatch Athletics, a social media account and podcast that shares elite track and field news from Saskatchewan.

  • Brendan Cote-Williamson (200m, 400m; T47 classification) of Cote First Nation trains with Running Wild Athletics Club out of Saskatoon. He was the silver medalist in last year’s Para-ambulatory 100m and 400m at the Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships in Langley, B.C.
  • Jessica Furlan (3000mSC) of Regina is the former national record holder in the 3000-m steeple chase and a two-time national champion in the event.
  • Michelle Harrison (100mH) runs with Saskatoon Track and Field Club and is a three-time national champion in the 100-m hurdles. She is currently Canada’s second-ranked woman in the event after Mariam Abdul-Rashid. As of time of writing, she had qualified for the Games based on World Athletics rankings.
  • Courtney Hufsmith (1,500m) was a standout cross country and track runner with the University of Saskatchewan and now trains with Running Wild Athletics Club. One of her career highlights was winning bronze at the 2019 Summer Universiade (FISU; World University Championships).
  • Julianne Labach (800m) is a University of Saskatchewan alumnus. She is the 2017 Canada Summer Games 800m champion and 2019 USports champion in the 600m.
  • Kaila Neigum (1500m) is a recent graduate of the University of Regina who twice broke the school record in the 1500m in her final year of collegiate running.
  • Avery Pearson (800m) just completed her third year at the University of Saskatchewan. She is the 2024 USports champion in the 1,000m and runner up in the 600m. She was also part of the gold-medal-winning women’s 4x800m and 4x400m relay teams at that event.
  • Jonathan Podbielski (800m, 1500m) trains with the University of Regina. He was a three-time medalist at this spring’s USports track and field championships, with a silver medal in the 1000m and a bronze in the 1500m. He was also a member of the second-place 4x800m relay team.
  • Adrea Propp (800m) ran with the University of Regina Cougars from 2010-15 and continues to be coached by Cougars coach Alger Seon.
  • Janz Stein (long jump; T64 classification) is associated with Excel Athletika out of Regina and is the Canadian record holder in the T64 long jump.
  • Savannah Sutherland (400m) hails from Borden and trains with the University of Michigan. She ran the Olympic standard and lowered the Canadian record in the 400-m hurdles twice this month at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships, where she finished second. She also holds the Canadian record in the 400m, though she ran that time last year outside of the qualifying window.
  • Paige Willems (400m) is a University of Saskatchewan athlete who was the USports runner up in the 300m and a member of the gold-medal-winning women’s 4x400m relay team at that event.
  • Storm Zablocki (100m, 200m) grew up in Prince Albert and trains with the University of Regina. He made headlines last year when he tied the Canadian U20 100m record previously set in 2013 by multiple Olympic medallist Andre de Grasse. Months later, Zablocki made his national team debut, running the 100m at the U20 Pan American Championships, where he advanced to the finals and finished seventh. He was the 2023 U20 gold medalist in the 100m at the Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships.