21 March, 2018

Air Lavillenie & Kendricks (& Duplantis) Primed for Major Vault at Pre Classic

  • Sam Kendricks - Prefontaine Classic - PhotoRun.net

Current World Record Holder and World Indoor champ Renaud Lavillenie will duel World Outdoor champ Sam Kendricks as part of an exceptional field during the “Friday Night at Pre” program at the 2018 Prefontaine Classic.

(The 44th Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 25-26 at historic Hayward Field.)


Eugene, Oregon – They can each claim to be a reigning World Champion…current World Record Holder and World Indoor champ Renaud Lavillenie will duel World Outdoor champ Sam Kendricks as part of an exceptional field during the “Friday Night at Pre” program at the 2018 Prefontaine Classic.


The duo have combined to claim every IAAF Diamond League title since the series began and lead a field which features every Olympic and World Championships medalist over the last two years. Even an 18-year-old, high school sensation Mondo Duplantis, has joined the field of world-class vaulters who successfully petitioned meet organizers to add the event to the program.

It’s a world-class freebie for fans, courtesy of long-time sponsor NIKE, as part of the always-loaded Friday evening events.
 
Renaud Lavillenie added a record third World Indoor Championships gold to his impressive war chest earlier this month in England. The world record holder at 20-2½ (6.16) battled multiple injuries last year and relinquished a crown he owned since the Diamond League was created in 2010. His 7 DL titles in 2010-16 matched his Track & Field News World Ranking No. 1s over the same period.

Lavillenie, now 31, enjoys vaulting in front of Hayward Field’s East Grandstand. He soared to 19-10¼ (6.05) at the 2015 Pre Classic, the best ever seen in America and the best he’s done anywhere outdoors. His appreciation for Eugene has never been hidden, even wearing a hometown University of Oregon singlet in 2016 as he won his fourth straight Pre Classic, a feat only achieved by Oregon’s Kory Tarppening (1988-91).
 
Sam Kendricks won everything last year, an undefeated season including the World Championships gold and the Diamond League trophy that no one could ever wrestle from Lavillenie. His U.S. jumping is many times golden – he has won every U.S. title he has entered. Before that, he won two NCAA Outdoor titles, both at Hayward Field, while at Mississippi.

Kendricks, 25, earned Olympic bronze in Rio – the first U.S. Olympic medal by an American since 2004. It also made him the youngest American Olympic medalist since Jan Johnson’s bronze in 1972 at age 21.
 
Mondo Duplantis is 18 years old and still in high school in Lafayette, Louisiana. As a 17-year-old, he turned the vault world upside down last spring with a Texas Relays victory of 19-4¼ (5.90) that gave him the World Junior (U20) Record, a mark he’s looking to increase this year. He subsequently became the youngest male vault finalist at the London World Championships, competing for mom Helena’s Sweden. His dad, Greg, won the 1992 Pre Classic.

Brazil’s Thiago Braz, 24, won the 2016 Olympic gold, becoming the first from his country to claim Olympic gold in this sport since 1984, when Joaquim Cruz – an Oregon Duck at the time – won the 800 at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

Poland’s Piotr Lisek, 25, was ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN and earned the 2017 World Championships silver medalist after a bronze in in 2015. Indoors, he added a World Indoor bronze to the one he earned in Portland.

Pawel Wojiechowski, 28, is also from Poland. He won the 2011 World Championships and last year earned a No. 4 T&FN world ranking.  He also won bronze at the 2015 World Championships.

Germany’s Raphael Holzdeppe, 28, won the 2013 World Championships and an Olympic bronze in 2012. He was silver medalist at the 2015 Worlds.

Men’s Pole VaultPersonal Best
Renaud Lavillenie (France)20-2½(6.16)
Thiago Braz (Brazil)19-9¼(6.03)
Sam Kendricks (USA)19-8¼(6.00)
Piotr Lisek (Poland)19-8¼(6.00)
Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany)19-5¾(5.94)
Pawel Wojciechowski (Poland)19-5½(5.93)
Mondo Duplantis (Sweden)19-4¼(5.90)


Fans can follow the event lineups as all announced fields are posted at PreClassic.com. The direct link to current start/entry lists is HERE and will include updates to all announced fields.
 
Tickets for the 44th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 25-26 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now at www.GoDucks.com as well as from 1-800-WEBFOOT. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience by NBC.

The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has rated No. 1 or No. 2 in the world in each of the last seven years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the Diamond League.

Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is the most inspirational distance runner in American history. He set a national high school 2-mile record (8:41.5) while at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon, that is the fastest ever in a National Federation-sanctioned race. While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-Mile/5000-meter championships (4), and never lost a collegiate track 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 21. 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 that year and has been held every year since.