22 May, 2017

Gatlin and De Grasse Will Have the Need for Speed in 100m Showdown at Pre Classic

  • Mens 100m - Prefontaine Classic - PhotoRun.net

On a surface that’s proven to be one of the fastest main straightaways in the world, 8 men - all with sub-10 personal bests - will test their limits in the Prefontaine Classic 100 meters. Every century-race since 2011 has been clocked at 9.90 or faster, making it one of the showcase sprint events on the annual athletics calendar.

May 22, 2017
For Immediate Release 

Gatlin and De Grasse Will Have the Need for Speed in 100m Showdown at Pre Classic

(The 43rd Prefontaine Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 26-27, 2017 at historic Hayward Field.)

 
            Eugene, Oregon – On a surface that’s proven to be one of the fastest main straightaways in the world, 8 men - all with sub-10 personal bests - will test their limits in the Prefontaine Classic 100 meters. Every century-race since 2011 has been clocked at 9.90 or faster, making it one of the showcase sprint events on the annual athletics calendar.
 
            Justin Gatlin, 35, earned Olympic silver in Rio – the oldest medalist in this event by some two years at 34 and the best by an American of any age since a 22-year-old Gatlin was gold medalist in the 2004 Athens Olympics.

            Gatlin has both the most Pre Classic wins (five) and Diamond League trophies (three) in this event.  His career collection of major medals in all events totals 13, and his win in last year’s Pre Classic (a wind-aided 9.88) was over an incredibly tight field, as last place was only 0.16 seconds behind the winner.  He has been the top-ranked American for the last five years by Track & Field News.

            Andre De Grasse, 22, carved out a piece of Canadian Olympic history with a silver/bronze combination in the 200/100 at Rio with impressive PRs in both events – 9.91 in the 100 and 19.80 in the 200.  His all-conditions bests still stagger Eugene fans, especially when as a USC sprinter he won double NCAA titles in 2015 with wind-aided efforts of 9.75 and 19.58, among the fastest in Hayward Field history (the 19.58w 200 is the fastest under any conditions at Hayward Field).

            De Grasse’s individual performances may be trailing his effect on relay teams.  In Rio, he anchored Canada to bronze, the country’s only Olympic medal in that event besides the gold won in 1996.  In April, he anchored Canada’s world-leading 4 x 100 team in 38.15 at the Florida Relays and ran third leg on his nation’s 4 x 200 squad to win the World Relays in the Bahamas later in the month.  It was the second straight year the De Grasse-led team won the World Relays 4x2 with a world-leading time.

            American Ronnie Baker, 23, has twice PRed this year under 10 seconds, preceded in the winter by a pair of world-leading 60-meter times, including the U.S. title in Albuquerque.  He won NCAA Indoor 60 titles in 2015 and ’16 while at Texas Christian University, and his first full pro season has seen him run 9.99 at the Mt. SAC Relays and 9.98 at Saturday’s Jamaica Invitational.

            Ben Youssef Meite, 30, joins Gatlin and De Grasse as another Olympic finalist,  After winning the African Championships for the first time in 2010, he repeated last year and became his country’s first Olympic finalist, both with sub-10 performances.

            Great Britain’s Adam Gemili, 23, was 4th in the Rio 200, just a whisker behind the bronze medalist with the same time.  Gemili is a former World Junior (U20) Championships gold medalist in the 100.  Chijindu Ujah, 23, is also from Great Britain.  The 2013 European Junior champ anchored last year’s British 4 x 100 team that won European gold as Gemili ran the backstretch leg.

            Mike Rodgers, 32, is the only American to run sub-10 every year since 2009, when he won the Pre Classic in a then-PR 9.94.  He has been a force ever since, clocking sub-10 six times in seven Pre Classic centuries.  The 2014 U.S. champ’s fastest times have come at the Pre Classic – 9.85 in 2011 and a wind-aided 9.80 in 2014.

            China’s Bingtian Su, 26, finished 3rd in the 2015 Pre Classic, becoming the first from China to run sub-10 at 9.99.  It was a time he equaled in the semifinals at the World Championships in Beijing, qualifying him for the final to the crowd’s obvious delight.  He later ran the third leg on the silver medal-winning 4x100 team in Beijing as well as last year’s 4th place in Rio, China’s highest finish in the Olympics.  Earlier this month, he captured his first victory on the Diamond League circuit, winning in Shanghai.

Men’s 100 MetersPersonal Best
Justin Gatlin (USA)9.74 
Mike Rodgers (USA)9.85 
Andre De Grasse (Canada)9.91 
Ben Youssef Meite (Cote d’Ivoire)9.96 
Chijindu Ujah (Great Britain)9.96 
Adam Gemili (Great Britain)9.97 
Ronnie Baker (USA)9.98 
Bingtian Su (China)9.99 

 
            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 43rd annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 26-27 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 six 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.