June 14 (Reuters) - Donavan Brazier is out for revenge.
The 24-year-old finished a dismal 19th in the men’s 800 metres at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, missing out on the Rio Games, but then destroyed a stacked field in Doha at the World Athletics Championships three years later.
Now, a ticket to Tokyo is Brazier’s number-one priority.
“I have some things to redeem, I’m looking for some good redemption here at the trials,” Brazier told reporters on Monday, with this year’s Olympic trials set to kick off on Friday.
“(The year) 2016 was a hell of a lot different than what 2019 was,” said Brazier. “I feel like I was ignorant (of) everything, which was a pro and kind of a con at the same time.”
A favorite to dominate the men’s 800 in Tokyo, Brazier picked up his 10th straight win in the event at August’s Diamond League in Monaco, when many other American athletes stayed stateside amid a chaotic competition schedule.
“We didn’t really find what our purpose was, we were losing motivation by the day, like we were training but we didn’t know what we were training for and (coach Pete Julian) saw that we were all fit enough to kind of compete and he didn’t want to waste that time,” said Brazier.
He credits the team environment created by Julian, a former assistant coach of the Nike Oregon Project, with helping deliver him through the “ups and downs” between 2019 and the starting line this week.
“It wasn’t up until I finally had a group I could surround myself with and kind of have more structure and kind of have somewhat of a comparison to what I had in college that (I felt I) had the biggest progression,” said Brazier. (Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)