Previewing the 2024 U.S. track and field trials in Eugene

Team USA unveil Paris Olympic ceremony uniforms (1:35)

Paralympian Jamal Hill, Olympian Daniela Moroz and Ralph Lauren's David Lauren comment on Team USA's uniform for the opening ceremony. (1:35)

Since the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, one country has dominated the rest of the world in track and field: the United States.

The Americans' whopping 828 Olympic medals in track and field are nearly four times as many as the next-closest country -- Great Britain's 211.

Since American athletes historically have been so good internationally, the odds of making the U.S. men's and women's track and field teams have proved over the years to be extraordinarily difficult -- maybe more difficult than making the team in any other sport.

That difficulty will be on display between now and June 30. Hundreds of American athletes will vie for spots in Paris, competing in this year's U.S. track and field trials in Eugene, Oregon. Beginning with the opening rounds on Friday, we'll soon find out who will be representing the U.S. in the Olympic Games later this summer.

Here are a few names and storylines to keep an eye on from the trials at the famed Hayward Field:

Sha'Carri Richardson

Events: Women's 100m, 200m

No athlete at the U.S. trials will have a greater spotlight on them than Richardson, the 24-year-old sprinter hoping to make her long-awaited Olympics debut.

It was at this event three years ago when Richardson became an even greater household name. She built upon her college fame as a national champion at LSU by winning the 100m trials in a blistering 10.86 seconds that had her poised to lead American sprinters to glory at the Tokyo Games.

But days after the trials victory, Richardson's qualifying appearance was invalidated. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency gave her a one-month suspension that caused her to miss the Olympics.

According to the agency, Richardson tested positive for marijuana, a substance the World Anti-Doping Agency says is "prohibited in-competition."

She quickly apologized, taking responsibility for her actions. Richardson admitted ingesting marijuana during what she called a state of "emotional panic," brought on by the death of her mother just before the trials began.

Since then, she has largely avoided the limelight, letting her athletic exploits speak.

In the past year, she has rounded back into her form on the track. A first-place 100m finish at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in August 2023 officially put the athletic world on notice.

Her 10.65-second time helped set a tone for American sprinters during the meet that culminated in the women's 4x100 relay team's dramatic victory over longtime nemesis Jamaica. The win was anchored by Richardson's powerful final leg, in which she held off Jamaican superstar Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.

Richardson has participated in four meets this year, including a trio under the Diamond League banner. In the Diamond League meet at Hayward Field last month, she made her season debut in the 100m, winning in 10.83 seconds.

A showing like that is why she enters the trials with the world's No. 1 ranking in the event. It's also why the expectation is not only for her to go to Paris, but to come back with multiple medals.

"She's the highest Q-rated athlete we have in our sport," four-time Olympic medalist and sprint analyst Ato Boldon said at a pretrials event Thursday. "Sha'Carri's the world champion. She goes to Paris and takes care of business in this 100[m] and she's the Olympic champion. Where's the next Olympics? Oh, that's right. It's in America.

"She is so important to the sport. Not just globally, but domestically."

Noah Lyles

Events: Men's 100m, 200m

In his final meet before the trials, Lyles torched the 200m field at the New York Grand Prix two weeks ago, crossing the line first in 19.77 seconds. Although satisfied with the result, he believed his time would've been faster had it not been for a stiff headwind on the back side of the track, near the starting blocks.

With multiple strides between him and the next closest runner, it was another dominant performance that has become synonymous with Lyles.

"I feel like I got the power for sure; I feel like I'm trying to find the rhythm again," Lyles said after the event. "We're going into USA's and we've got a strong hold on all the events."

Lyles enters these trials as the world's top-ranked man in the 200m and second in the 100m behind countryman Christian Coleman.

A six-time world champion, Lyles earned the nickname "fastest man on the planet" in August 2023, when he won three events at the World Athletics Championships, including the 200m in 19.52 seconds. That was also his third consecutive world 200m title. While competing in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, Lyles earned a bronze medal in the 200m.

This week, Lyles is scheduled to run both his premier events. While he is a favorite in the 100m and 200m, he will face stiff competition.

In both events, he'll be going against Coleman and Olympic silver medalists Fred Kerley and Kenny Bednarek, among others, and his brother Josephus Lyles.

Along with his individual events, Noah Lyles also spent part of this spring with a retooled American 4x100 relay team. That group finished first in the World Athletics Relays in the Bahamas last month. That competition taught Noah Lyles, who is hoping to help lead the American men to their first Olympics gold medal in the event since 2000, an important lesson.

"Truly after running at World Relays, it's no longer about speed," Lyles said. "It's how you pass the baton. It's the chemistry that you have between everybody.

"It's not about the fastest guys. It's chemistry."

Sydney McLaughlin-Levrone

Events: Women's 400m Hurdles

For much of the year, any chatter surrounding McLaughlin-Levrone has centered upon these questions: "Will she only run hurdles at the Olympics? Or will flat track sprints be part of her routine again, too?"

Days before the start of the trials, the two-time Olympian provided an answer.

Although she has posted times this year in flat track events that would easily qualify for Paris, McLaughlin-Levrone and her team have decided to focus solely on her premier event: the 400m hurdles.

"We kind of just knew we wanted to come back to the hurdles," McLaughlin-Levrone told The Associated Press earlier this week. "In the future we might come back to [the flat races], but I think this is kind of just our focus right now."

That means she won't be trying to one-up the blistering 48.75-second flat track 400m time she posted at the recent New York Grand Prix any time soon.

"It wasn't exactly what we were hoping for, but sometimes you've just got to feel the race," McLaughlin-Levrone said just after the dominating win two weeks ago.

For what was she hoping?

"American record," she said, smiling.

That particular record will have to wait until after the Olympics. For now, her focus is on building upon the 52.70-second 400m showing she had last month at the HBCU Pro Classic in Atlanta. It was the first time she had run the 400m hurdles in competition since August 2022.

After debuting in 2016 at the Rio Olympics just as she was turning 16, McLaughlin-Levrone earned a pair of gold medals in Tokyo. She won in the 400m hurdles and was part of the gold medal-winning American women's 4x400m relay team.

Others to watch:

Ryan Crouser: A two-time Olympic gold medalist in the shot put, he has two first-place finishes in the only events he's competed in this year.

Gabby Thomas: The two-time Olympic medalist, taking silver in the 4x100m relay in Tokyo and bronze in the 200m, ran the 200m in 22.42 seconds despite a difficult headwind at the New York Grand Prix.

McKenzie Long: Two weeks ago at Hayward Field, Long became the star of the NCAA championships, claiming wins in the 100m, 200m and 4x100m relay, capping a successful college career at Mississippi.

Athing Mu: A two-time Olympic gold medalist, earning wins in the 800m and 4x400m in Tokyo, Mu hasn't competed since September 2023, when she won the 800m at the Prefontaine Classic, which was also the Diamond League final.

Keturah Orji: The two-time Olympian in the triple jump announced this week this will compete in her final U.S. trials.

Tara Davis-Woodhall: The one-time Olympian in the long jump, Davis-Woodhall finished second at last year's World Championships. Earlier this year, she set a personal best, jumping 7.18 meters at the U.S. Indoor Championships in February.