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Mt. San Antonio College to host virtual Inspiration Games

The LA Times logo The LA Times 6/24/2020 David Wharton
Allyson Felix standing in front of a crowd: U.S. runner Allyson Felix is one of the athletes who will take in the Inspiration Games, an virtual track meet at eight international venues, from Mt. San Antonio College. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press) © (Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press) U.S. runner Allyson Felix is one of the athletes who will take in the Inspiration Games, an virtual track meet at eight international venues, from Mt. San Antonio College. (Kirsty Wigglesworth / Associated Press)

Southern California will serve as one of eight locations for an international track meet featuring world-class athletes who will compete by way of synchronized video from around the globe.

The Inspiration Games, scheduled for July 9, will include U.S. Olympic champions Allyson Felix and Dalilah Muhammad and world champion Noah Lyles running at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. Other medalists such as Omar McLeod of Jamaica and Dafne Schippers of the Netherlands will be at foreign venues.

Video-coordinated track meets, with athletes spread thousands of miles apart, are the new, if temporary, structure in a sport that saw all competition halted with the coronavirus outbreak in spring.

The Weltklasse Zurich Inspiration Games will comprise eight events of three athletes each. Intricate timing devices, controlled from Switzerland, will seek to ensure that runners in races such as the men’s 100-yard dash and women’s 150 meters start at the same moment, even if they are separated by continents and multiple time zones.

This task becomes trickier with the women’s 3 x 100-meter relay, as automated timers alert runners when they have received a virtual baton.

“We will give our all to present a perfect production of the star-studded competition,” co-meet director Andreas Hediger said in a news release. “Our ambition is to set new standards.”

The locations for other venues include Aubiere, France; Karlstad, Sweden; and Lisbon, Portugal.

Felix, a six-time Olympic champion, is scheduled to compete in the 150 meters and relay. Olympic champions Shaunae Miller-Uibo of the Bahamas and Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece are also among the entrants.

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