1. Will this be the championship meet in which Brianne Theisen-Eaton breaks through to earn her first world gold?
In what is for all intents and purposes a home meet for her, Theisen-Eaton will be seeking to overcome the sting of three straight silvers at world meets since the London Olympics in 2012. Her personal best of 4,768 in the pentathlon from 2014 leads the field, but this won’t be a cakewalk for Theisen-Eaton. The two Ukrainians, Alina Fyodorova and Anastasiya Mokhnyuk, have PBs very close to Theisen-Eaton’s mark. The first two events could be key for Theisen-Eaton; if she gets off to a fast start in the 60 hurdles and the long jump, it might be hard for her competitors to deny the 27-year-old Canadian her long-sought gold medal.
2. Can Kurt Roberts continue the American winning streak in the men’s shot put and win a seventh consecutive indoor gold for the U.S.?
Not since Manuel Martinez of Spain edged John Godina by one centimeter in 2003 at Birmingham has a non-American taken home the gold in the shot put in the IAAF World Indoor Championships. Roberts does have the world-leading mark this year – 21.57m set in Boston last month – but extending the U.S. streak to seven is far from a sure thing. Canadian Tim Nedow won the IAAF World Indoor Tour title and would appear to be at least a co-favorite with Roberts in Portland. Tomas Stanek of the Czech Republic is another strong contender, as is Michal Haratyk of Poland.
3. Will Brittney Reese continue her dominance in the long jump on the world championship stage?
Since 2009 Brittney Reese has been a solid bet to win in the biggest meets. She has five world championship titles, indoors and out, to her credit, as well as the 2012 Olympic crown. While she is just third on the world list in 2016, behind the fast-improving Alexandra Wester of Germany and world silver medalist Shara Proctor of Great Britain, Reese is very tough to beat in championship meets, and looks to be in very good form, though she had trouble with fouling last week in the U.S. Indoor Championships. Reese’s teammate Janay DeLoach will be seeking to regain the form that brought her silver in the 2012 World Indoors.
4. Could Great Britain’s Tiffany Porter break up American dominance in the women’s 60 meter hurdles?
Tiffany Porter has silver and bronze from the last two world indoor meets, and needs a gold to complete her collection. But Porter’s best this year of 7.89 ranks just seventh on the 2016 list, behind all three of the Americans who will be competing – Brianna Rollins, Keni Harrison, and Nia Ali. Rollins is the 2016 world leader at 7.76 followed closely by Keni Harrison’s 7.77. And Ali is the defending champion from 2014. As always, predicting the outcome of the hurdles is a nearly impossible task.
5. Can Kim Collins of Saint Kitts and Nevis contend for the 60m title at the age of 39?
Kim Collins won a silver medal way back at the 2003 World Indoor Championships, and again in 2008. Can he win a third medal as an early 40th birthday gift to himself? It is not impossible, as Collins has run 6.51 earlier this season. Another seasoned veteran, Asafa Powell of Jamaica, has the world-leading time this season and will seek to win his first-ever medal at a world indoor meet, as well as Jamaica’s first gold in the men’s 60m. American Marvin Bracey won silver in Sopot two years ago and will be seeking to bring home gold this year. This race promises to be a photo finish.