Rio champ Derek Drouin headlines Olympic high jump rematch

Injury forces high jumper Derek Drouin out of nationals

Expect Derek Drouin to look ahead rather than dwell on his most recent Diamond League performance.

The Canadian high jumper, with a personal best leap of 2.40 metres, failed to clear the bar at 2.20 a month ago in Shanghai and finished the event without a successful attempt.

"The conditions in Shanghai weren't favourable for the jumpers. A lot of guys were slipping and struggling to find proper footing for one reason or another," the 2016 Olympic champion said in an email to CBC Sports. "It was a blemish on my record that I quickly tried to put behind me."

On Thursday, Drouin will be part of a strong 11-man field at the Oslo Bislett Games in Norway (CBCSports.ca, 2 p.m. ET). Mutaz Essa Barshim of Qatar and Ukraine's Bogdan Bondarenko, both of whom shared the podium with the Canadian at the Rio Summer Games, also will compete at the fifth Diamond League meet of the season.

It's believed Steinar Hoen, Norway's 1994 European indoor high jump champion who won the Bislett meeting that year by clearing 2.35, longs to see Javier Sotomayor's 1993 world record of 2.45 broken and his Bislett Stadium mark of 2.37 shattered. So much so, he revamped the infield setup two years ago to give jumpers the best chance of attacking Sotomayor's record.

Drouin, 27, cleared 2.40 to establish a Canadian record at the 2014 Drake Relays in Iowa while Bondarenko, the 2013 world champion, has reached that height or greater six times. Barshim, who is second on the world all-time list with a clearance of 2.43, has achieved 2.40 seven times.

"It's always a great opportunity to jump well when you have a field stacked with Olympic finalists," Drouin said. "These guys will obviously get me into competitive spirits but right now my focus is more on executing the things I've been working on in practice and less about winning competitions."

Drouin spent much of the past month trying to get dialed in with his approach and raising the bar, literally, at practice "to get me ready for a championship season and hopefully a new personal best."

In late April, Drouin won a fourth consecutive Drake Relays title with a jump of 2.30, defeating fellow Canadian Mike Mason (2.27). Earlier that month, the six-foot-five jumper from Sarnia, Ont., cleared 2.28 in the high jump portion of the Sam Adams Combined Events Invitational decathlon in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Mason, 30, enters Thursday's competition with a season-best jump of 2.30, set at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., on April 15.

"It has been awesome to see Mike start the season so well and I am optimistic that his best jumps are still ahead of him," said Drouin. "We're friends and often roommates on trips, so I love seeing him do so well."

Also worth watching Thursday is Robbie Grabarz, Britain's 2012 European champion, and Madjd Ghazal of Syria, who cleared 2.36 last year.

Here's a breakdown of the other Canadians in Oslo:

Andre De Grasse & Aaron Brown, men's 100 (3:03 p.m. ET): De Grasse has shifted his focus back to the 100 after running a season-best 20.01 seconds to win in the 200 at last week's Golden Gala in Rome. The 22-year-old is coming off a fourth-place finish in the 100 at the Prefontaine Classic, where he clocked 9.96 in late May. De Grasse opened the season with a 10.22 performance at the season-opening Diamond League meet in Doha, Qatar.

De Grasse will be seeking a repeat of his 100 victory at Oslo last June (10.07) before travelling to Stockholm for Sunday's Diamond League event (CBCSports.ca, 10 a.m. ET). His season best of 10.10 is in line with three others in Thursday's six-man field: Great Britain's Adam Gemili (10.08), Ben Youssef Meite of the Ivory Coast (10.10) and Switzerland's Alex Wilson (10.11).

Brown continued a disappointing stretch last week in Rome, clocking 20.43 in the 200 after a 20.41 showing at Diamond League Shanghai in May. The Toronto native ran a season-best 10.30 in the 100 at the Grenada Invitational in St. Georges on April 8.

Melissa Bishop, women's 800 (3:10 p.m.): She is coming off a sixth-place finish in her outdoor season debut at last month's Prefontaine Classic in Oregon, where the native of Eganville, Ont., crossed the line in one minute 59.52 seconds. Bishop believes competing in more races and exploring the tactics will help her lower her time going forward. She set a national mark of 1:57.02 in the event at last year's Rio Olympics, missing the podium by 0.13 seconds.

Like De Grasse, the 2016 Olympian will compete at the BAUHAUS-galan meet in Sweden this weekend, where 83 world records have been set since 1912.

Alysha Newman, women's pole vault (12:15 p.m.): The former hurdler from London, Ont., is coming off the most impressive performance of her pole vault career. At the recent adidas Boost Boston Games, Newman cleared 4.60 metres on her third try to win the event, defeating former Olympic champion and U.S. record holder Jenn Suhr, 35.

Newman, 22, hasn't competed at a Diamond League meet since Doha, Qatar five weeks ago, where Newman tied for seventh with Kristen Brown of the U.S. with a height of 4.25. In April, the All-American broke her own mark (4.61) to set a new Canadian senior outdoor record of 4.71 at the Hurricane Alumni Invitational at the University of Miami.

Newman and sprinter Crystal Emmanuel are the other Canadians competing at Stockholm.

Emmanuel, 25, will race the women's 200 in Sweden. The native of Scarborough, Ont., ran a season-best 22.86 seconds on March 30 to finish second in a field of 71 at the Florida Relays in Gainesville.

Emmanuel is a two-time Olympian who advanced to the 200 semifinals in Rio last summer, finishing 23rd overall.

Last Saturday, she set a meet record in the women's 100 at the Aileen Meagher Track Classic in Halifax, where Emmanuel's time of 11.26 topped last year's record run of 11.47 by Arialis Gandulla of Cuba.

Diamond League on CBC Sports

CBC Sports is providing live streaming coverage of all 14 Diamond League meets this season at CBCSports.ca and via the CBC Sports app for iOS and Android devices. TV coverage will be featured as part of the network's Road To The Olympic Games weekend broadcasts throughout the season.

The following is a list of upcoming Diamond League meets on CBCSports.ca and the CBC Sports app:

- Oslo (Thursday, 2 p.m. ET)

- Stockholm (June 18, 2 p.m. ET)

- Paris (July 1, 2 p.m. ET)

- Lausanne (July 6, 2 p.m. ET)

- London (July 9, 9 a.m. ET)

- Rabat (July 16, 2 p.m. ET)

- Monaco (July 21, 2 p.m. ET)

- Birmingham (Aug. 20, 2 p.m. ET)

- Zurich (Aug. 24, 3 p.m. ET)

- Brussels (Sept. 1, 3 p.m. ET)