Pre Classic "Hollister Night at Hayward": FRIDAY NIGHT FREE WITH THE WORLD'S BEST - EVEN MORE STARS ADDED
Eugene, Oregon - Only at the Prefontaine Classic can the impossible be possible. Two Samsung Diamond League events get even stronger with world-class additions, plus two of the world's strongest long-distance nations confirm that Eugene is the place to be in terms of how to get to the 2012 London Olympics. Admission is free for the Friday portion called "Hollister Night at Hayward."
That a world-class meet would provide free admission to many of its events is a generous offer from meet organizers and long-time sponsor NIKE. It is a direct result of the respect and love for Geoff Hollister, a beloved Oregonian who helped to make NIKE and instilled a strong spirit to many who wear the Swoosh. Hollister died earlier this year on Feb. 6 after battling cancer for many years. He was 66.
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. Eight of the 24 events will be held on Friday The Rich Get Richer - Men's Triple Jump and Women's Throws
Three already outstanding fields have received major improvements.
The men's triple jump will add yet another world champion. Phillips Idowu
of Great Britain, the 2009 World Champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist, will join Americans Christian Taylor
(2011 World Champion) and Will Claye
(2012 World Indoor Champion) in a pre-London showdown. Idowu owns a PR of 58-5.25 (17.81), while Taylor has a best of 58-11.25 (17.96) and Claye has a best of 58-1 (17.70).
Even more pre-London drama should come in the women's discus throw with the confirmation of Cuba's Yarelis Barrios
, owner of four Olympic or World Championship medals, including the 2008 Olympic silver behind American Stephanie Brown-Trafton
, also a leader in the field.
The women's hammer field will be enhanced with Yipsi Moreno
of Cuba, a two-time World Championships gold medalist and four-time Olympic or World Championships silver medalist. She joins a stellar field including three other former World Championships gold medalists: world record holder Betty Heidler
of Germany,Tatyana Lysenko
of Russia, and Anita Wlodarczyk
of Poland. Men's 10K - Kenyan Olympic Trials
Athletics Kenya (AK) has selected 15 of its best to send to Eugene to race for its three berths in the London Olympics men's 10K. The event is like none other in history - Kenya hosting an event outside its borders on turf that many know very well. AK hosted a mid-April event at the high-altitude site of Nairobi as part of its selection process.
Ten of Kenya's entrants have PRs under 27 minutes - a staggering number for any other country in the world. The incredible field in order of their personal bests: Kenyan Men's 10K Olympic Trials
Micah Kogo 26:35.63 - 2008 Olympic bronze medalist. 5K PR 13:00.77. 6th
in the April Nairobi pre-trial race.
Denis Masai 27:32.97 - 20-years old - 2010 World Junior gold medalist. Women's 10K - "de facto" Ethiopian Olympic Selection Race
The women's 10K at Pre is not an official Ethiopian Olympic Trials event, but it might as well be as that country's best are approaching Eugene as a stepping stone to the London Olympics gold.
Reigning Olympic gold medalist Tirunesh Dibaba
, world record holder in the 5K (14:11.15) and second fastest ever at 10K (29:54.66), is aiming for more glory in Eugene and would prefer another sub-30 effort.
She will be joined by several other Ethiopians, including two-time OlympianWorknesh Kidane
(30:07.15), 2009 World Championships bronze medalist Wude Ayalew
(30:11.87), 2009 World half-marathon bronze medalist Aberu Kebede
(30:48.26), 21-year-old national champion Belaynesh Oljira
(31:17.80), 19-year-old Tigist Kiros Gebreselasse
(31:20.38), and Sule Utura
Runners from other countries will also compete, including Kenya's Pauline Chemning Korikwiang
(31:06.29), a former World cross country champion. International Mile - The Return of Matthew Centrowitz
American Matthew Centrowitz, bronze medalist in last year's World Championships 1500 meters, returns to Hayward Field to headline the International Mile. The former University of Oregon star aims to better his mile best of 3:53.92, set earlier this year indoors in winning the venerable Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games.
Also among the world-class field is Ethiopian Aman Wote
(fourth in the World Indoor Championships 1500 earlier this year) and Americans Jeff See
, Will Leer
, andDorian Ulrey. Women's 1500 Meters - World Champ Jenny Simpson among Three Fastest Americans
The first American to win a World Championships 1500-meter gold medal since Mary Decker in 1983, Jenny Simpson
is the fifth-fastest American ever with a best of 3:59.90. She will be joined by third-fastest American ever, Anna Pierce
(3:59.38), and the seventh-fastest American all-time, Shannon Rowbury
(4:00.33), as well as CanadianSheila Reid
(last year's NCAA 1500 and 5000 champ at Villanova) and 18-year-old Ethiopian Tizita Bogale
(4:03.94). Women's 800 Meters - Fastest Americans Since Turn of the Century
Finalists at World Championships last summer in Daegu, Americans Alysia Montano
and Maggie Vessey
are also two of the fastest in U.S. history - Montano No. 5 at 1:57.34 and Vessey No. 8 at 1:57.84. The two highest ranked Americans will be joined by 2008 Olympian Alice Schmidt
and fellow American Erica Moore
, bronze medalist at this year's World Indoor Championships.
Complete, updated fields will be posted at www.PreClassic.com
With the latest additions, 93 athletes
in this year's Pre Classic have won 111 Olympic or World Championships gold medals
. Meet organizers expect the greatest collection of talent ever for an invitational on this continent, as the 93 athletes account for 271 medals (111 gold, 88 silver, 72 bronze). And more events are still to be announced. Webcast
of Friday's Hollister Night at Hayward will be available beginning at 7:30 p.m. PT at www.PreClassic.com
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.