06 April, 2015

Discus Giants Ready to Unleash at Pre Classic

The two longest throwers of the last 15 years highlight a world-class men’s discus field at the Prefontaine Classic.

April 6, 2015
For Immediate Release 

Discus Giants Ready to Unleash at Pre Classic 

            Eugene, Oregon – The two longest throwers of the last 15 years highlight a world-class men’s discus field at the Prefontaine Classic.

            The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.  The Pre Classic is an American track tradition and this year will be a major stop as the planet's top pros prepare for the World Championships in Beijing, China.
            Longest in the field are Estonia’s Gerd Kanter and Poland’s Piotr Malachowski.  The two have combined to win four of the IAAF Diamond League’s five Diamond Trophies in this event.

            Kanter is history’s No. 3 ever at 240-9 (73.38).  He won Olympic gold at Beijing in 2008 as well as the 2007 World Championships in Osaka.  He has ranked among the top 3 in the prestigious Track & Field News world rankings every year since 2005, and his war chest also includes a pair of World silvers (2005 & ’11) as well as three bronze medals (Olympics in ’12, World in ’09 & ’13).  Kanter also owns the longest throw on U.S. soil at 236-3 (72.02).

            Malachowski is history’s No. 5 ever at 235-8 (71.84).  A former Pre Classic champion, he has silver medals from the 2008 Olympics as well as the 2009 and 2013 World Championships.  He has ranked No. 2 in the T&FN world rankings five times, with four behind 2013 Pre Classic winner Robert Harting, who is still recovering from knee surgery performed last October.

            The Kanter-Malachowski rivalry dates back to 2006, with Kanter leading 39-31, but since 2013, Malachowski owns a 15-4 advantage.

            The elite field also includes the remaining top eight available athletes from theT&FN world rankings, and among the most decorated is Ehsan Hadadi of Iran with Olympic silver from 2012 and bronze from the 2011 Worlds.  He also owns golds from the Asian Games (3) and Asian Championships (4).

            Cuban Jorge FernandezRobert Urbanek of Poland, and Viktor Butenko of Russia earned their first T&FN world rankings last year.  Fernandez, at No. 4, was the highest for his country since 1989.  No. 5 Urbanek only beat Malachowski once last year – but that was for bronze at the European Championships.  Butenko was a World Championships finalist in 2013 at age 20.

            Two Martins round out the field:  Martin Kupper of Estonia owns the early 2015 world lead with his personal best 218-8 (66.67) winning the European Cup winter throwing competition in March; and Martin Wierig of Germany was ranked No. 6 in the world by Track & Field News in 2014.

Men’s DiscusPersonal Best
Gerd Kanter (Estonia)240-9(73.38)
Piotr Malachowski (Poland)235-8(71.84)
Ehsan Hadadi (Iran)227-5(69.32)
Robert Urbanek (Poland)219-7(66.93)
Martin Kupper (Estonia)218-8(66.67)
Jorge Fernandez (Cuba)218-2(66.50)
Viktor Butenko (Russia)216-5(65.97)
Martin Wierig (Germany)212-8(64.82)


            Fans can follow the event lineups as all announced fields are posted atPreClassic.com.  The direct link to current start/entry lists is HERE and will include updates to all announced fields.
            Tickets for the 41st annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 29-30 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now from goducks.com and from 1-800-WEBFOOT.  Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and by NBC Sports from 1:30 till 3:00 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 30.

            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 four years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the IAAF 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 22.  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.