Trayvon Bromell attempts to complete the latest stage of his remarkable comeback as a new generation of American sprinters take centre stage at the US track and field Olympic trials in Oregon on Friday.
Five years ago, Bromell left the track at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in a wheelchair after suffering a torn Achilles, the start of an injury nightmare that threatened to torpedo his career.
The 25-year-old from Florida barely raced over the next three years, and then on his return in 2019 blew an adductor muscle, a fresh setback that left the 2016 world indoor 60m champion pondering retirement.
A change of coach and regaining full fitness, however, have seen Bromell make an improbable return to the summit of international sprinting.
In April, Bromell signalled his re-emergence as an elite threat with a world-leading 9.88sec for the 100m at an invitational meet in Florida, and then in June bettered that mark with a blistering 9.77sec.
Those times mean Bromell will head into this week's trials in Eugene as the man to beat, and as the heavy favourite to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion at next month's Tokyo Games.
Bromell however faces stiff competition as he attempts to lock down a top three finish in Sunday's 100m final that will secure a ticket to Japan.
Although world champion Christian Coleman is missing through suspension, a stacked field in the men's 100m also includes world 200m champion Noah Lyles, veteran Justin Gatlin and Ronnie Baker.
In fact, six US sprinters lead the 2021 rankings over 100m, raising the prospect of a possible medals sweep in Tokyo.
- Warning shot -
In the women's 100m meanwhile, all eyes will be on the charismatic Sha'Carri Richardson, who became the sixth fastest woman ever in April when she clocked 10.72sec at the Miramar Invitational in Florida.
That stood as the fastest time of the year until June 5, when Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce blasted to victory in 10.63sec at a meeting in Kingston, firing an emphatic warning shot to the 21-year-old Richardson.
The men's and women's 100m events are the highlights of a packed opening weekend at the trials, which run through June 27 and will take place at the newly renovated Hayward Field, venue for next year's World Championships.
A reduced capacity crowd divided into vaccinated and non-vaccinated sections will be on hand to watch US Olympic hopefuls attempt to secure their places in Tokyo, a year after the games were postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Elsewhere, six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix will attempt to secure a fifth consecutive Olympic appearance at the age of 35, and is entered in both the 400m and 200m.
Other highlights of the meeting include the 400m hurdles, where world record holder and reigning Olympic and world champion Dalilah Muhammad faces off against 2019 world silver medallist Sydney McLaughlin.
The field events, meanwhile, should see another battle royale in the shot put, where 2016 Olympic champion Ryan Crouser goes up against rival Joe Kovacs, the 2019 world champion.
In the triple jump, Will Claye will be adjusting to a competition without rival and friend Christian Taylor, whose hopes of chasing a third consecutive Olympic gold medal were ended by a ruptured Achilles tendon last month.
Claye, a two-time silver medallist behind Taylor in 2012 and 2016, is relishing the chance to compete in front of spectators once more.
"It's going to be a one-of-a-kind Olympic Trials because for one, we haven't been around that many people for I don’t know how long," Claye said. "I'm just excited to be able to get out there and compete in front of all those fans."