The first four of 12 ‘Journey To Gold’ fields announced today.
— Drake Relays (@DrakeRelays) April 14, 2021
The Drake Relays just announced 4/12 elite fields, giving the Midwest its chance to see the finest in the area, state, RÃ©gion, country and world!
Drake Relays Presented by Xtream Powered By Mediacom Announces First Of Outstanding Elite Fields
DES MOINES, Iowa – Drake Stadium will once again serve as a launching pad for the world’s top track and field athletes as they begin their journey to the 2021 Summer Olympics at the 111th Drake Relays presented by Xtream powered by Mediacom April 22-24.
The 2021 Drake Relays is set to stage 12 ‘Journey to Gold’ events as part of the Relays World Athletics Silver Level Continental Tour that will feature some of the world’s best inside Drake Stadium. Blake Boldon, the Franklin P. Johnson Director of the Drake Relays, revealed the first of the competitors in those events with the men’s shot put, women’s pole vault, women’s 100-meter hurdles and men’s 400-meter hurdles fields.
Those scheduled to compete in the ‘Journey to Gold’ events include national champions from 16 different countries, five Olympic gold medalists, 12 total medalists and 21 total Olympic finals appearances. The entire field will feature a total of 10 World Champions and 32 total World Championship medals.
“We’re thrilled that once again, so many of the best competitors in the world are choosing to begin their march to Tokyo on the Blue Oval,” Boldon said. “The Blue Oval has always been a destination for that talent, and in an Olympic year, the level of competition has been stepped up again. It will be another special weekend at Drake Stadium as we anticipate nothing short of greatness again from experienced athletes and the best up-and-coming talent in the sport.”
The men’s shot put again features Drake Stadium favorite, Olympic gold medalist and record holder Ryan Crouser. In his last performance inside the Blue Oval, he recorded the second-best series in world history and he owns more 22-meter throws than anyone ever at more than 100. He returns to Drake Stadium fresh off setting the World Indoor record at 74-10.5 (22.82m).
Crouser is joined in the field by Payton Otterdahl, a Relays regular at North Dakota State that the Relays has witnessed blossom into one of the world’s best throwers. He was second to Crouser at last summer’s Blue Oval Showcase and is coming off a third-place showing at the USA Indoor Championship.
The shot put will also feature a Paralympian in Josh Cinnamo. Cinnamo owns the World Record in his division and is a World Champion as well. The standout field also includes Josh Awotunde, Dotun Ogundeji, Nigerian record holder Chukwuebuka Enekwechi, Nick Ponzio, Nick Scarvelis and Darrell Hill.
The Drake Relays has quickly become synonymous with great hurdlers and 2021 continues that tradition with the field in the women’s 100-meter hurdles. World record holder and four-time defending Drake Relays champion Keni Harrison returns to go for an unprecedented fifth-straight title in the event. She is a four-time World Championship medalist and four-time national champion.
Harrison will be pushed by a field that includes Kristi Castlin, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and British standouts Tiffany Porter and Cindy Sember, who were 2016 Olympic finalists.
Relays favorite Dawn Harper-Nelson, a two-time Olympic medalist, also makes her return to the Blue Oval, as does Bahamian national record holder Pedrya Seymour. The field is rounded out by one of the USA’s top young talents in Gabby Cunningham, the 2020 USA Indoor Champion and an 18-time ACC medalist at North Carolina State.
The women’s pole vault will soar to new heights at Drake Stadium with four-time champion and Olympic silver medalist Sandi Morris making her return to Des Moines as the American record holder and second-best outdoor performer in the world. Relays regulars Jen Suhr, Alysha Newman and Katie Nageotte also return to Drake Stadium.
Suhr is a three-time Olympian and silver medalist that is No. 5 in the world all-time, along with Nageotte, as both have cleared 16 feet. The field also includes some of the top newcomers in the event in Olivia Gruver, Bridget Guy and Emily Grove. Gruver was a two-time NCAA Champion, while Guy and Grove were some of the top collegiate competitors in the nation at Virginia and South Dakota, respectively.
The men’s 400-meter hurdles will feature some talented fresh faces on the Blue Oval including Amere Lattin, the third-place finisher at the 2019 USA Championships in Des Moines who is coming off a silver medal at the 2019 Pan-American games in the event. Abdelmalik Lahoulou, the seven-time Algerian national champion and 2016 Olympian will make his Blue Oval debut, as will Alison Dos Santos, a 20-year-old talent from Brazil that was seventh at the 2019 World Championships. Eric Cary, a 2016 Olympian from the Philippines is also in the field, as are Khallifah Rosser, Kenny Selmon and David Kendziera, who finished third at the 2019 Relays and was a Blue Oval regular as a six-time All-American at Illinois.
Boldon will continue to announce the ‘Journey To Gold’ competitors in the days leading up to the 111th Drake Relays. Below are those events and the competitors announced to date.
Men’s Shot Put – Saturday – 3 p.m.
Women’s 100-Meter Hurdles – Saturday – 3:19 p.m.
Women’s Pole Vault – Saturday – 2:15 p.m.
Men’s 400-Meter Hurdles – Saturday – 2:55 p.m.
Alison Dos Santos
Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles
Men’s 1,500 Meters
Men’s 5,000 Meters
Men’s Pole Vault
Women’s 400-Meter Hurdles
Women’s 1,500 Meters
Women’s 3,000-Meter Steeplechase
Women’s Long Jump