Who is Taliyah Brooks? Heptathlete faints, pulls out of Olympic trials due to heat

Extreme temperatures in Eugene, Oregon, forced officials to pause qualifier event after Brooks was taken off in a wheelchair


                            Who is Taliyah Brooks? Heptathlete faints, pulls out of Olympic trials due to heat
Taliyah Brooks competes in the Women's Heptathlon Shot Put during the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 26, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon (Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

Soaring temperatures in Eugene, Oregon have hit the US Olympic qualifications for the track and field events. On June 27, Heptathlete Taliyah Brooks was taken off in a wheelchair and withdrew from the event after fainting ahead of the javelin trials. At 3 pm, officials decided to postpone the event and asked fans to evacuate, before resuming in the evening when things cooled down. 

The 2020 summer was one of the hottest on record, with the Death Valley recording its highest ever temperature of 130 degrees in August. Massive wildfires also repeatedly struck California, eventually turning skies in the state orange in September. Unfortunately, it appears as if 2021 will be the same, if not worse. In May, a Texas farmer made headlines for finding and helping four migrant girls, one of whom had severe dehydration. 

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Temperatures soared up to 108 degrees on June 27 in Eugene, reportedly making it the hottest day on record in the city. "It’s crazy. I wasn’t expecting it to be this humid,"  high jump finisher Shelby McEwen told AP. While there was plenty to report from at the event, Brooks' fainting has captured national attention, possibly putting her place at the Olympics in jeopardy.

Taliyah Brooks is taken off of the track after collapsing ahead of the Women's Heptathlon Javelin during day ten of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials at Hayward Field on June 27, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images)

Who is Taliyah Brooks?

A native of Wichita Falls, Texas, Brooks is widely considered to be a favorite for the US women’s multi-event team at the Tokyo Olympics. While at high school, she broke the school record for the 100m hurdles, 300m hurdles, high jump, long jump, and 4x400m relay. She then went on to major in communications with a minor in legal studies at Arkansas State University. During her time with the Razorbacks athletic team, from the university, Brooks ended up winning numerous accolades and awards.

During her sophomore year in 2016, she set a new school record in long jump and finished as the runner-up during the NCAA pentathlon event. The next year, she set program records in the pentathlon and the long jump events. By her senior year, she was NCAA indoor champion and SEC champion for the pentathlon. Since graduating in 2018, Brooks has made her name for herself as an Olympic hopeful, which she was widely expected to become with the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.



 

Unfortunately, though, things didn't quite go as planned out. At the Eugene trials, Brooks finished in second place in four events and won the 100-meter hurdles and the 200-meter race. She also finished fifth in the high jump and thirteenth in the shot put on June 26. On June 27, she returned to compete in the long jump and javelin throw events. She reportedly finished fourth in the former, before fainting ahead of the latter.

According to reports, Brooks was warming up for the javelin event when she collapsed on the field. She was placed in a wheelchair, before being taken to River Bend Hospital in an ambulance. Initially, it was reported organizers had granted a request to re-enter the competition, but she ultimately did not compete. At 3 pm, USA Track and Field (USATF) said it was postponing the event. It eventually resumed later in the evening when temperatures fell to around 99 degrees. On resuming, USATF confirmed that Brooks had withdrawn from the meet. 

Before pulling out, Brooks was close to qualifying for the Tokyo Games, which required her to finish in the top three with a minimum of 6,420 points. After her long jump performance, she was placed fourth overall. Her present condition is not known, there has been no update from her manager or Brooks herself.

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