May 31, 2012For Immediate Release
Pre Classic Men’s and Women’s 200 Meters and Men’s 100 Meters – GREAT SHOWDOWNS INVOLVING AMERICANS EVERYWHERE
Eugene, Oregon – Americans Walter Dix and Justin Gatlin will square off in the men’s 100, Dix will face Wallace Spearmon in the men’s 200, and Americans Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter will duel in what could be the first of many epic encounters this summer. While those Americans are the most accomplished, several challengers from around the world, including the U.S., as the final events’ field are being confirmed. The 38th Pre Classic is a major stop on the road to the 2012 London Olympics and part of the elite Samsung Diamond League of international meets. This year’s Pre event will be held over two days, June 1-2 at Hayward Field. All three of the sprints will be held on Saturday. Felix has won a staggering 10 Olympic or World Championships gold medals – all of them on relay teams except a pair in the 200 (2005 and 2007 World Championships). This year’s Pre Classic race will mark her seasonal debut in the 200. Earlier this year, she kicked off the Samsung Diamond League by winning the 100 with a lifetime best 10.92. Her 200 PR is 21.81 and has been ranked No. 1 in the world five times by Track & Field News. Jeter, a three-time World Championships gold medalist, has been ranked No. 1 in the world by T&FN in the 100 the last three straight years. While her 200 PR is 22.20, her 100 PR of 10.64 makes her the world’s second-fastest ever, just 0.03 behind legendary Florence Griffith-Joyner. And Jeter is coming off her best-ever season in the 200, winning the silver medal at last year’s World Championships and ranking No. 2 in the world – both one spot ahead of Felix. Jeter holds a 3-2 edge lifetime vs. Felix in the 200, with four of the meetings coming last year (2-2). Two other Americans in the field were ranked in last year’s top 10 by T&FN: Bianca Knight (No. 5) and Jeneba Tarmoh (No. 10), both teammates with Felix on last year’s World Championships team – Knight as part of the gold-medal winning 4x100 and Tarmoh in the 200. Bolstering the field are two more runners with World Championships finals experience: Jamaican Anneisha McLaughlin (fifth in 2009) and American LaShauntea Moore (seventh in 2007). Blessing Okagbare of Nigeria is also entered. She’s best know for winning the 2008 Olympic bronze medal – in the long jump. Women’s 200 MetersCarmelita Jeter (USA)Allyson Felix (USA)Bianca Knight (USA)Jeneba Tarmoh (USA)Anneisha McLaughlin (Jamaica)LaShauntea Moore (USA)Blessing Okagbare (Nigeria)Joanna Atkins (USA) Gatlin, gold medalist in the 2004 Olympics and 2005 World Championships, owns a best of 9.85. Dix, with a best of 9.88, was much better last year, taking the silver medal at the Daegu World Championships after collecting bronze in the 2008 Olympics. Dix edged Gatlin – 9.94 to 9.95 – in last year’s USATF Championships at Hayward Field. But neither Gatlin nor Dix is fastest in field – Jamaica’s Nesta Carter at 9.78 is. Carter, a finalist in last year’s World Championships, won the gold medal earlier this year in the 60 meters at the World Indoor Championships. Carter is also part of the Jamaican 4x100-meter relay team which won gold medals at 2008 Olympics and 2011 World Championships. In what could be a preview of the U.S. Olympic Trials, the remaining entrants all have sub-10 PRs: American Michael Rodgers (9.85), American Ryan Bailey (9.88), American Darvis Patton (9.89), American Trell Kimmons (9.95), and Jamaican Nickel Ashmeade (Jamaica). Rodgers and Patton each recorded his fastest time at Hayward Field, Rodgers in taking second at last year’s Pre Classic. Men’s 100 MetersNesta Carter (Jamaica)Justin Gatlin (USA)Walter Dix (USA)Michael Rodgers (USA)Trell Kimmons (USA)Darvis Patton (USA)Nickel Ashmeade (Jamaica)Ryan Bailey (USA) Dix will be attempting the 100 before running the 200 meters. Just as in the 100, Dix has a 2011 World Championships silver medal and a 2008 Olympic gold medal in the 200. Dix was ranked No. 3 in the world last year by T&FN after being ranked No. 1 in 2010. Challenging him are the 34-year-old Shawn Crawford, 2004 Olympic gold medalist and 2008 Olympic silver medalist, and Spearmon, 2005 World Championships silver medalist as well as bronze medalist in the 2007 and 2009 Worlds. Both Crawford (2008, 2001) and Spearmon (2010, 2005) have twice been ranked No. 2 in the world byT&FN. Two others ranked in last year’s top 10 by T&FN will line up: Jaysuma Saidy Ndure of Norway and Marvin Anderson of Jamaica. Saidy Ndure was ranked No. 5 in the world last year by T&FN after finishing fourth in the final at the World Championships, while Anderson was ranked No. 9. Completing the field are Trinidadians Rondell Sorrillo and Richard Thompson. Sorrillo was a finalist in last year’s World Championships, while Thompson is best known in the 100, in which he captured the 2008 Olympic silver medal. The final entrant, Churandy Martina of the Netherlands, is also well known in the 100, having finished fourth in the 2008 Beijing final. Men’s 200 MetersWalter Dix (USA)Jaysuma Saidy Ndure (Norway)Rondell Sorrillo (Trinidad)Marvin Anderson (Jamaica)Churandy Martina (Netherlands)Shawn Crawford (USA)Richard Thompson (Tri)Wallace Spearmon (USA) Complete, updated fields can be found at www.PreClassic.com and www.diamondleague-eugene.com With the fields announced, 86 athletesin this year’s Pre Classic have won 123 Olympic or World Championships gold medals. Meet organizers expect the greatest collection of talent ever for the meet, perhaps ever for an invitational on this continent, as the 86 athletes account for 270 medals (123 gold, 82 silver, 65 bronze). Tickets for the 38th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held June 1-2 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are on sale now from www.preclassic.com and from 1-800-WEBFOOT. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and on NBC from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 2. The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track and field meet in America and is part of the elite Samsung Diamond League of 14 meets held worldwide annually. Last year’s Pre Classic results ranked highest among all of the 14 meets, according to All-Athletics.com, the official data Partnerof the Samsung Diamond League. Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is perhaps the most inspirational distance runner in American history. He set a national high school 2-mile record while at Coos Bay High School that lasted nearly two decades. While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-mile/5000-meter championships (4) every time he competed, and never lost a collegiate race at any distance. As a collegiate junior, he made the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and nearly won an Olympic medal, finishing 4th in the 5K at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at age 22. After finishing college in 1973 and preparing for a return to the Olympics in 1976, he continued to improve, setting many American records. His life ended tragically on May 30, 1975, the result of an auto accident, at age 24. The Pre Classic began soon after and has been held every year since.