4 World Champions added to adidas Grand Prix lineup
Richardson and Merritt to face Oliver in hurdles field with major star power
NEW YORK CITY (May 2, 2012)--A trio of the world's best hurdlers, the #1-ranked high jumper in the world, and the American Record-holder at 400 meters are among the world-class athletes joining the field for the adidas Grand Prix on June 9, organizers have announced.
Jason Richardson, Jesse Williams, Aries Merritt, and Sanya Richards-Ross are among the stars set to join previously announced 2011 World Champions Yohan Blake (100 meters), Carmelita Jeter (100 meters), and David Rudisha (800 meters), giving the event seven current World Champions with many more athletes yet to be announced.
Topping the charts in the 110-meter hurdles is Richardson, the American whose meteoric rise as a pro in 2011 reached its zenith when he was crowned the IAAF World Champion. Richardson, 26, was the 2003 IAAF World Youth Champion at both the 110-meter and 400-meter hurdles--the only athlete ever to score that double--and the 2008 NCAA Champion at the high hurdles, but made his major breakthrough as a pro just last year. In 2011, a personal best of 13.04 helped him to a #2 world ranking after he finished 2010 as #6 in the U.S.
Going toe to toe with Richardson will be Merritt, another new American star. Merritt, also 26, won the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, giving the adidas Grand Prix field both the reigning indoor and outdoor World Champions and a matchup of athletes at turning points in their careers after following similar paths: Merritt was the 2004 World Junior Champion and 2006 NCAA Champion in the 110-meter hurdles before making his biggest mark as a pro this winter.
They will have to contend with no less than veteran superstar David Oliver, who in 2010 became the third-fastest man in history when he ran 12.89 to break the American Record. Undefeated outdoors and ranked #1 in the world that year, the 30-year-old Oliver is also the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and the 2010 World Indoor Championships bronze medalist. He was ranked #3 in the world for 2011.
All three will be chasing the meet record of 12.92, set by Liu Xiang in 2007 in a thrilling duel that saw American Terrence Trammell finish second in 12.95, the first sub-13 of his career and still his personal best. Their times ranked as the fastest and third-fastest in the world for 2007.
Headlining the men's high jump will be Williams, the 2011 World Champion, who last summer became the first American man to win that title since Charles Austin in 1991. Williams, 28, finished the season ranked #1 in the world. He is a five-time U.S. champion and the 2011 Jesse Owens Award winner, and heads into the 2012 Olympic Games as a gold-medal favorite.
Richards-Ross, 27, is the 2009 World Champion and 2012 World Indoor Champion at 400 meters. The American Record-holder (48.70), she is the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and also owns two Olympic gold medals and four World Championships gold medals in the 4x400-meter relay.
Also added to the field are Jamaican stars Sherone Simpson, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 100 meters and 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the 4x100-meter relay; and Jermaine Gonzales, 2011 World Championships bronze medalist in the 4x400-meter relay.
The adidas Grand Prix will begin at 1 p.m. June 9 at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island. The sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit, it is also part of the Visa Championship Series. All of the latest news, photos and additional information on the event can be found at adidasgrandprix.com, the event's pages on Facebook at facebook.com/adidasGrandPrix and on Twitter at twitter.com/adidasGrandPrix. When tweeting, use #agpny.