For the first time in three years, the Penn Relays will return to its role as one of the biggest events in track and field.
From April 28 to April 30, some of the greatest athletes in the world will take to Franklin Field to demonstrate their talents on a global stage. In 2020 and 2021, the competition was canceled due to COVID-19, but now with the event back in full force, top high school athletes, prospective Olympians, and current Olympians will come to Penn's campus with the hopes of securing top finishes. Here are five of the most notable competitors who will be competing at the Relays, each of which have Olympic experience.
Perhaps one of the most famous American track athletes ever, Allyson Felix will be participating in the Penn Relays once again. She most recently took bronze and gold in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Los Angeles native has a monstrous 11 Olympic medals and has been to the Olympic Games five times. Felix is set to take part in the 300-meter event on the final day of the Relays, which will mark her first competitive race since the Olympics this past summer.
Felix recently announced her plans to retire after the 2022 season, thus marking the Penn Relays as one of the final competitive events of her illustrious career.
Another top competitor arriving on Penn's campus will be Omar McLeod, who will be racing in the 110-meter hurdles event, the same event he won the gold medal in during the 2016 Rio Olympics. In addition to his Olympic victory, McLeod, who hails from Jamaica, has won a gold medal at the World Championships and the World Indoor Championships. During the 2017 World Championships in London, the University of Arkansas alumnus earned gold in the 110m hurdles, and during the 2016 World Indoor Championships in Portland, earned gold in the 60-meter hurdles.
Like McLeod, Devon Allen will also be competing in the 110-meter hurdles during the Penn Relays next weekend. That isn't the only shared history the two have, though. Allen finished four spots back from McLeod during the 2016 Rio Olympics, earning him a fifth-place finish, and, during the 2017 World Championships in London, he finished eight spots back from McLeod for a ninth-place result. Since then, however, Allen has gotten more experience under his belt than his counterpart has. In 2019, he competed at the World Championships in Doha, Qatar, and, this past summer, he finished just one spot out of a medal finish at the Tokyo Olympics.
Franklin Field likely won't be that far of a trek for Allen to make, as he was recently signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as a wide receiver. The 27-year-old played college football at the University of Oregon, but hasn't suited up since then, and only recently gauged interest from pro scouts after running an unofficial 4.35-second 40-yard dash at Oregon's pro day.
While many athletes will be making their Penn Relays debuts, Ajeé Wilson is no stranger to the track at Franklin Field. The Philadelphia native, who's competed at the event since her high school days, competed at both the 2016 and 2020 Olympics. Most recently, Wilson earned a first-place finish in her preferred event, the 800 meters, during the 2022 World Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.
"I've been racing at Franklin Field since high school, and have so many amazing memories as both a spectator and competitor," Wilson said via Penn Relays' Twitter account. "I'm beyond excited to return and make more!"
Athing Mu will be making her Penn Relays debut when the competition returns to Franklin Field. Arguably more than anyone else at the event, Mu is coming in on a tear after having won two gold medals at the Tokyo Olympics in the 800m and the 4x400m relay, respectively. In the 800m, the Trenton, N.J. native holds the U.S. record, and, by winning gold at the Games, became the first American to do so since 1968. At the Penn Relays, however, she'll be competing in the 600m, which will take place on Saturday, April 30.