Oslo Diamond League Preview: Ingebrigtsen's Revenge Begins, Warholm vs. Dos Santos

By Owen Corbett

May 28, 2024

We are truly in the thick of the professional track season. Before the excitement of last weekend’s Prefontaine Classic has even worn off, we’ve got another stellar Diamond League lineup on the schedule. Track and field fans are treated to a mid-week meet this Thursday with the Bislett Games from Oslo, Norway. Fans who tune into Peacock at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday will see some of Norway’s biggest heroes – including Jakob Ingebrigtsen fresh off his defeat in Eugene – more incredible head-to-head matchups, and inevitably, fast times. For all of the storylines going into the first Diamond League meet of the year in Europe (it’s home for the rest of the season) read on below.

Is Jakob Ingebrigtsen Beatable Now?

The short answer is probably no. In order to top the Norwegian star last weekend, Josh Kerr needed to break Steve Cram’s long standing British national record in the mile (which served as the world record from 1985 to 1993). It was Ingebrigtsen’s first loss in a paced race since the 2021 Diamond League Final in Zurich. In Oslo, he’ll be going up against a loaded field, but Kerr won’t be a part of it. It would take a significant upset for Ingebrigtsen not to return to his winning ways in the final event of the night.

Joining Ingebrigtsen on the Eugene-to-Oslo trip are Brit Neil Gourley and Australia’s Olli Hoare. Gourley finished fourth in the Bowerman Mile, running a personal best of 3:47.74 that was mostly achieved with a strong finish. He was the only runner who finished in the top five that was not at the front of the pack for the majority of the race. His countryman George Mills, who finished third in last year’s Bowerman Mile and had a stellar indoor season, will also be a factor at the front of the race.

Jakob Ingebrigtsen after winning the 2023 Oslo Diamond League.Jakob Ingebrigtsen after winning the 2023 Oslo Diamond League.

Johnny Pace/@pacephoto

Hoare, whose main goal last weekend was to hit the Olympic standard of 3:50.40 (which he did, running 3:49.11 for ninth), should be racing with a weight off his back now that he has that taken care of. The part-time podcaster, who is the fourth Aussie with the standard, is in a good spot to be selected for Paris with his second place finish at the Australian Championships in April. Hoare set a national record last year in Oslo, but finished seventh, nearly a second and a half behind Ingebrigtsen’s European record (3:29.41 to 3:27.95; Ingebrigtsen lowered the mark to 3:27.14 a month later). Fellow Australian Stewy McSweyn, an avid frontrunner, should also be in contention for a top finish.

Ingebrigtsen will also be racing a 1500m against his Norwegian rival Narve Nordås (coached by Ingebrigtsen’s father), for the first time since Nordås finished just .03 seconds behind Ingebrigtsen’s silver in last year’s World Championships.

Warholm and Dos Santos Go Head To Head

Norway’s other favorite child, Karsten Warholm, will also face some stiff competition in Oslo on Thursday, as we get our first marquee matchup – men’s or women’s – of the 400m hurdles season. Last year in Oslo, Warholm opened his season in a blistering 46.52 (at the time, the fourth fastest performance in history) and became the first man ever to run a season opener under 47 seconds.

Just over two weeks ago in Doha, Brazil’s Alison Dos Santos joined Warholm in that exclusive club, opening his season in 46.86. Dos Santos was beaten by Warholm at this meet in 2021, but he won the event while the Olympic champ was injured in 2022.

As for who won’t be present, American Rai Benjamin is scheduled to race the NYC Grand Prix this weekend instead, but his status may be in question after he scratched from last weekend’s Prefontaine Classic. Benjamin matched Warholm and Dos Santos with a sub-47 season opener earlier this month at the LA Grand Prix where he stopped the clock at 46.64. The trio may not face off until the Olympic Games later this summer, in a matchup that could become the most anticipated race of the year.

Warholm has won the 400m hurdles at the Bislett Games four times, but has never done so in back to back years (2017, 2019, 2021, 2023).

Shericka Jackson Gets A Test

Shericka Jackson, the fastest woman alive over 200m, is currently the 53rd fastest woman of 2024 in her signature event. The Jamaican opened up her season earlier this month in Marrakech with a win in 22.82 seconds, but she’ll need to run faster if she wants to finish first this time around.

In Morocco, Jackson was up against a field in which no one other than herself had ever run under 22 seconds. In Oslo there will be three, including the experienced American Jenna Prandini, and Brittany Brown, who made the 100m final at the World Championships last year for Team USA.

Jackson’s biggest competition however will be two women who made the 200m final in Budapest last year: Brit Daryll Neita, who already has two Diamond League wins under her belt this season, and Marie-Josée Ta Lou-Smith of the Ivory Coast, who beat Jackson in the 100m at this meet last year. American Anavia Battle, who finished behind Neita but ahead of Sha’Carri Richardson in Suzhou, is also on the start list.

Elite Discus Field Runs It Back From Marrakech

Earlier this month, we talked about one of the deepest men’s discus fields ever assembled in Morocco (the throwing equivalent of last weekend’s Bowerman Mile). Seven of the top eight finishers in that competition will be dueling once again on Thursday in Oslo, headlined by World record holder Mykolas Alekna.

Alekna remains undefeated on the season, but when many of the same throwers gathered last week for a competition in Estonia, he beat Kristjan Čeh by just 22 centimeters (compared to his 2.96m win in Marrakech). Čeh, the 2022 World champ, bounced back from a rough day in Morocco, where his seventh place finish marked his worst since 2019.

2023 World champ Daniel Ståhl of Sweden, and Australian champ Matthew Denny should also finish on or near the podium.

Repeat Of A Historic Men’s 5000m

At last year’s Bislett Games, Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia and Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda battled down the finishing straight to a photo finish, both finishing with a time of 12:41.73. The finish line photo was studied for minutes before the win was given to Kejelcha (although I still think Kiplimo got there first). Somewhat lost in the closeness of their finish, however, was how fast both men ran. Their clocking was the joint sixth fastest in history, with Kiplimo’s performance being the fastest losing time in history by more than three seconds until Joshua Cheptegei ran 12:41.61 behind Berihu Aregawi two weeks later.

Yomif Kejelcha after winning at the 2023 Oslo Diamond League 5000m.Yomif Kejelcha after winning at the 2023 Oslo Diamond League 5000m.

Johnny Pace/@pacephoto

Cheptegei, the reigning Olympic 5000m champion and world record holder, is slated to join Kejelcha and Kiplimo this year in Oslo, along with Ethiopia’s Telahun Haile Bekele, who ran 12:46.21 for third in last year’s race. Bekele ran 12:42.70 in Monaco just over a month later but still finished third behind countryman Hagos Gebriwhet (also on the start list for Thursday), that’s the kind of summer it was for Diamond League 5000m races last year.

With 14 of the runners in the race already having the Olympic standard in their pocket, it will be interesting to see if the stars will relax the pace and focus on the win, or go all in on a fast time with nothing to lose.

One of the most interesting entrants among runners without the standard is Kenya’s Stanley Mburu, who ran 27:07 for seventh place in his Olympic Trials at the Prefontaine Classic just a few days ago. The 2022 World silver medalist over 10,000m will be looking for another avenue to represent his country in Paris this summer.

Owen Corbett

Huge sports fan turned massive track nerd. Statistics major looking to work in sports research. University of Connecticut club runner (faster than Chris Chavez but slower than Kyle Merber).