By Israel La Rue and Maddie Lang
Two world records, 12 national records, seven meet records and a Diamond League record were set Sunday on the final day of The Prefontaine Classic. As the last race ribbon was broken, last jump taken, last throw attempted and Diamond League trophy held out to the crowd by an athlete on a victory lap at Hayward Field, the 2023 outdoor season came to a close with an unusual number of record-setting performances.
“I saw a lot of events doing surprisingly well,” said Ryan Crouser, who finished second in the men’s shot put. “Across the board, outstanding performances here, and so I was surprised.”
Others, though, weren’t so surprised.
“I feel like everyone just kind of wants to leave it out on the track,” said Athing Mu, who set a U.S. record in the women’s 800 meters. “ Especially when it’s your last week of the season.”
The 12,355 fans at the second day of the Diamond League final at Hayward Field saw Gudaf Tsegay break the women’s 5,000-meter world record just over three months after Faith Kipyegon broke it earlier in the season. They also saw Mondo Duplantis breaking his own world record, also about three months old, in the men’s pole vault.
And as if that weren’t enough, they watched the top three finishers in the women’s 800 break national records. (Click here for details.)
THE NATIONAL RECORDS
Matthew Denny won his first major championship in dramatic fashion – by throwing an Australian record of 68.43 meters on his final attempt to defeat Kristjan Čeh.
“I had a lot of energy in me,” Denny said. “I was pretty twitchy, and I was just ready to compete. I knew that I could potentially put something together.”
Denny finished fourth at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, an improvement from sixth in Eugene in 2022. He finished fourth in the Tokyo Olympics.
“I’m just so happy to finish on such a high note for this season because it’s been a great season and I wanted to finish it the right way,” he said. “So to do it on the final throw is pretty good.”
Men’s 800 meters
The race came down to the final 100 meters, and this time Kenyan Emmanuel Wanyonyi outkicked Canadian Marco Arop to win in a meet record time of 1:42.80, the fastest time in the world this season. Arop finished in 1:42.85, a Canadian record.
The result was the opposite from three weeks ago at worlds, when Arop took the title and Wanyonyi finished second.
“I try my best,” Wanyonyi said.
Women’s high jump
Yaroslava Mahuchikh of Ukraine and Nicola Olyslagers of Australia opened the second day of competition with an entertaining showdown as they both cleared 2.03 meters, the highest jump of this season. In the end, Mahuchikh took home the title because she had only one miss before the final mark.
Olyslagers, who won a silver at the Tokyo Olympics and finished third in Budapest, set an Australian national record and thrilled the crowd by twice clearing the bar on her third attempt, the first at 1.98m, the second at 2.03m.
Mahuchikh, the reigning world champion and defending Diamond League champion, missed three attempts at her personal best outdoors, 2.05m. She conducted her post-competition interviews with a Ukrainian pin on her kit to continue to bring attention to her country’s war with Russia.
“Now it’s extra important because it’s precious that I have the opportunity to represent my country,” she said. “We are fighting and all our people are fighting in different spheres. I’m fighting on track and, after this I have the opportunity to talk to journalists, so I talk and spread all news to all the world.”
She added of the war, “I have hope and belief that next year it’s finally over.”
THE MEET RECORDS
Men’s 3,000 meters
Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the reigning 5,000-meter world champion, needed a lean to beat Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, who nearly broke the world record in the 5K on the road earlier this year.
Ingebrigtsen got his second victory of the Pre Classic by .01. A day after winning the 1,500 meters, he won the 3,000 meters in 7:23.63, a meet record and the fastest time in the world this year.
“It’s better than coming in second, so it’s good,” Ingebrigtsen said.
Kejelcha finished in 7:23.64, an Ethiopian record. “It’s a good time,” Kejelcha said.
American Grant Fisher, who finished third in 7:25.47, broke his own U.S. record of 7:28.48.
“I thought I could run about 7:30 today, but sometimes you surprise yourself,” Fisher said.
Luis Grijalva, who finished seventh, set a Guatemalan national record of 7:29.43.
Ingebrigtsen led for the entirety of the race. Coming into the final lap, Kejelcha was pacing right behind him.
The race came down to the final 100 meters. As the two approached the line, Ingebrigtsen, who more commonly wins his races with plenty of room, had to dive across to secure the win.
Women’s 200 meters
Last season, Shericka Jackson wrote as one of her goals to win “two trophies” at the Diamond League final. When that didn’t happen, she wrote it again on this year’s list of goals.
She got it on Sunday, adding the 200-meter title to the 100-meter title she won Saturday. Her time was a meet record 21.57.
“I got it and I'm grateful,” she said.
Coming around the curve, Jackson had established her first-place position, and she dominated the rest of the way. She finished .53 ahead of Marie-Josée Ta Lou, who finished in 22.10.
Women’s 400-meter hurdles
Femke Bol, the newly crowned 2023 world champion, ran a meet record time of 51.98 to finish her 2023 outdoor season undefeated and with a Diamond League trophy.
“It was great to be back [in Eugene],” Bol said. “Felt like good memories from last year, and I loved to really end my season at 51.”
Bol and Shamier Little, the Budapest silver medalist, had the best starts coming off the blocks and being the first ones over the first hurdle.
“I knew from the first hurdle,” Little said. “I knew from the warm-up that was gonna be a fast setup.”
Bol and Little caught up to the outside lanes 200 meters in, making it clear that it was going to be a two-person race for the win.
On the final curve, Little took the lead from Bol heading into the home straight, but she didn’t hold on to the lead for long.
“At 300 meters, it was just kinda like stay calm,” Little said.
While Little was trying to keep her cool to hold on for the win, Bol made her move in the final 100 meters, regaining her lead immediately after jumping over the second to last hurdle. Bol extended her lead to win by 10 meters.
Little finished second in 53.45, and Rushell Clayton, the Budapest bronze medalist, finished third in 53.56.
This was Bol’s 11th straight 400-meter hurdle win.
“I’m also happy that I’ve been consistent,” Bol said.
THE OTHER CHAMPIONS
Men’s shot put
Joe Kovacs avenged his Budapest world championship bronze medal performance with a Diamond League trophy on a season-best throw of 22.93m, beating two-time Olympic and world champion Ryan Crouser, who placed second at 22.91m.
“These past two weeks since Budapest. I feel like we actually started to lock in training,” Kovacs said. “So I finally got a good rhythm.”
The difference from training was immediately obvious as Kovacs threw a season best of 21.70 on his first attempt.
Crouser, the reigning Olympic and world champion, took the lead in the second round with a throw of 22.91. He didn’t hold on to the lead for long. Kovacs found his rhythm and threw 22.93 on his fourth attempt for his second straight Diamond League championship.
“I thought that going in it would be about 22.40, 22.50 to win,” Crouser said. “The shot was much better than what I was expecting, both for myself and the whole field.”
Valarie Allman won her third consecutive Diamond League championship, and she needs to figure out what to do now that she has three trophies.
“I was able to do curls with two,” she said. “And now the third one, I gotta come up with something new.”
Allman threw 68.66m on her first throw, and that stood up for the entire competition. Laulauga Tausaga, who threw a huge personal best in Budapest to beat Allman for the world title, came closest with a throw of 68.36 on her third throw. She settled for second, and Allman ended her season with a big victory.
“I think this year, it’s been bittersweet in a lot of ways,” Allman said. “I really wanted to be world champion. That didn’t happen, but I wanted, absolutely, to walk away as being known as the best in the world. While maybe I don’t have that title, hopefully my body of work shows that I am the top person this year.”
Women’s long jump
Ivana Vuleta wrapped up her outdoor season with her fifth Diamond League trophy on her final jump of 6.85m, to go along with her world championship gold medal.
Vuleta took the lead away from Ese Brume, who had also jumped 6.85 to finish in second.
“I feel amazing,” Vuleta said. “I’m really happy that I could come here, first of all, because of all of the pain and the thing I’m struggling with my Achilles during this whole season. I really wanted to finish this season as I planned, so I’m really really happy with this trophy. Fifth one, so it’s crazy.”
She ended her season winning five straight competitions.
Men’s long jump
Simon Ehammer had his second strong performance at Hayward Field, following up last year’s bronze medal at worlds with a leap of 8.22m to win the Diamond League championship.
“I have pretty close and good feelings here to Eugene,” he said.
Ehammer has also competed in the multi events – he finished second in the heptathlon at the 2022 World Indoor Athletics Championships – but he has backed off and concentrated on the long jump because of a shoulder issue. He plans to compete in both events next season, including at the Paris Olympics.
Women’s 100 hurdles
Tobi Amusan defended her Diamond League title in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.33. Finishing behind her was Puerto Rican Jasmine Camacho-Quinn in 12.38.
Amusan broke down in tears in the broadcast interview area after what she said was a difficult season. She was provisionally suspended for having three whereabouts failures, but reinstated just before the world championships, where she finished sixth.
“I’m just grateful to God, that’s all I can say this season,” Amusan said. “This win is not about me, it’s for my coach, my family, for everyone who supported me throughout this year. It’s been a rough one, and I’m just thankful.”
Men’s 110 Hurdles
Jamaican Hansle Parchment andAmerican Grant Holloway continued their rivalry. Just three weeks after Holloway took the world title, this third, Parchment, the Tokyo Olympic champion, bested him with a time of 12.93, a personal best and the world’s fastest time this season.
Holloway’s strong start, as usual, gave him the lead in the first part of the race. Parchment took the lead coming over the eighth hurdle and crossed the line first.
“Got the PR, got the win, so I’m very happy about that,” Parchment said.
Holloway finished second in 13.06.
Men’s 200 meters
Andre De Grasse, the Tokyo Olympic champion, finished his shaky season with a Diamond League trophy, running a season best of 19.76.
“It’s been a challenging season, but I gotta finish strong, give it my best I got, and try to come away with something I can learn going into next year,” he said. “Next year’s a big year obviously with the Olympics, so I wanted to try to just give it all to try to see where I’m at going into next season.”
De Grasse came down the final 100 chasing Kenny Bednarek and Erriyon Knighton. Once he hit his top speed with 50 meters left, he easily passed the two Americans to win his first Diamond League trophy. Bednarek finished second in 10.95, and Knighton finished third in 10.97.
“It’s my first one, so I’m pretty grateful for that, to be able to get one, put it up in my trophy case with all my medals,” De Grasse said. “Definitely looking forward to getting more in the future, but this one feels great to get my first one.”
Men’s Para 100 meters
Noah Malone crossed the line first in a time of 10.72 among a field of various categories of para athletes.
“The opportunity to come out here and have this platform for all of us, it really can’t get better than that,” Malone said. “A great way to cap off the season.”
Women’s Para 100 meters
Fleur Jong of the Netherlands took the title in the women’s para 100 with a time of 12.67. She was just .01 ahead of runner-up Marlene van Gansewinkel.
“I actually felt a little bit pressured – it’s my last race of the year, and I haven’t raced in six weeks,” Jong said. “So I had no idea what I was up to today, but I’m glad I snatched a win on the line, that’s the most important.”
Women’s 400 meters
Reigning world champion Marileidy Paulino dominated the field, winning by nearly a second in a time of 49.58