The Nike Pre Classic has been a Memorial Day weekend event for years. This year, the meet was held in Eugene, Oregon for the first time in three years. It was held in the new Hayward Field, and, it was also the first Diamond League meet after the Tokyo Olympics.
While some expected poor performances due to the travel from Tokyo, we had amazing events, one after another, at the 2021 Nike Pre Classic.
Here are my 12 reasons why the Nike Pre Classic in 2021 stands out!
Why does Nike Pre Classic stand out in 2021?
- Absolutely top-notch fields in all events, which happens most years, but with Pre being post-Olympics, each event rocked!
- The new Hayward Field. The first time most fans of the sport had seen the new stadium. An incredible facility, with nothing left to chance. Should be a wonderful host for Nike Pre in the future, NCAA’s, and, in 2022, the World Championships in Eugene.
- Ryan Crouser continues to astound. His ability to compete, his knowledge of the event, and his accessibility to the media are huge in his success.
- The women’s 100m was astounding. Elaine Thompson Herah battling Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce allowed the fans to see the top 3 Jamaicans battle. It also allowed us to see the reality of track & field, it really does not matter what one says on social media, one must race.
- The women’s pole vault showcased the talent of Katie Nageotte. Katie is the Olympic champion, and if you have not seen the women’s PV from Tokyo, check the replay! Katie Nageotte pulled a clutch jump once again. That is not luck, that is practice and cool under pressure.
- Mujinga Kambundji is a talent. The Swiss star has been moving up the European sprint food chain for a decade. I saw her in 2014 at the European Champs in Zurich. Her win over the 200m in Eugene showed that the Swiss star is a key player in the sprint battles.
- Joshua Cheptegai is the next huge distance star. Joshua took silver in the 5,000m and gold in the 10,000m in Tokyo. Identified in 2014, at the World Juniors, by some keen observers as the next great one, Joshua races with focus and tenacity. Joshua holds the WRs for 5000m and 10,000m.
- Sifan Hassan is human-powered by lots of coffee! Sifan took bronze in the 1,500m, gold in the 5,000m, and gold in the 10,000m in Tokyo. Her most amazing feat was running a 300m in 42.9 in the 1,500m heat, where she fell. Her 5000m in Eugene, which was she on WR pace for 3000m, showed how tough she was. I loved her comments on caffeination.
- Jakob Ingebrigtsen and the Bowerman mile. How Norway must smile when the Olympic 1,500m gold medalist competes! Jakob is a fine racer, and his ability to take on all comers makes him a superstar.
- Noah Lyles’s time will come. The 2019 World Champ at 200m took the bronze in the Olympic 200m. He had a tough year, but, Noah, you have many good and prosperous years ahead of you. The US, in the near future, will sweep a global championship at 200m for the Men, mark my word.
- Francine Nyonsaba ran 9:00.75 for two miles. Francine had to stop racing 800m to 1,500m and move up to the 2 miles and 5000m, due to the naturally occurring high testosterone levels. Nyonsaba competed in the 5000m ( a questionable DQ) and 10,000m in the Tokyo Olympics.
- Athing Mu ran a spectacular 800m at Pre, in 1:55.07 AR. Athing Mu is a revelation. I believe that she could be the female “El Caballo”. Of course, I am referring to Alberto Danger Juanterena, the amazing Cuban who won the 400m and 800m golds in Montreal in 1976.