30 March, 2015

World-Class Moms to Renew Javelin Rivalry at Pre Classic

Gold medals are back in focus for the world’s best women’s javelin throwers at the Prefontaine Classic. Two of the best have very young fans.

March 30, 2015
For Immediate Release 

World-Class Moms to Renew Javelin Rivalry at Pre Classic 

            Eugene, Oregon – Gold medals are back in focus for the world’s best women’s javelin throwers at the Prefontaine Classic.  Two of the best have very young fans.
            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.
            Barbora Spotakova and Christina Obergfoll headline a deep world-class field on the road for gold at the Beijing World Championships later this summer.

            This particular duo has a unique rivalry – either one or the other has earned the No. 1 Track & Field News world ranking every year from 2007 on, and they are the only winners of the IAAF Diamond Trophy in this event.  And each missed one of the last two seasons while on maternity leave.

            World record holder Spotakova of the Czech Republic returned to a usual place last year – the two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 & 2012) was No. 1 in the T&FNworld rankings.  It was her sixth such top ranking, but first since missing the 2013 season giving birth to her son in May 2013.  She also has a World Championships gold (2007) as well as a pair World silvers (2009 & ’11).

            Germany's Obergfoll is also a reigning gold medalist, winning in the 2013 Moscow World Championships.  She has the field’s youngest child, her son being born in October 2014.  Obergfoll won the last two editions of the Pre Classic (2011 and 2013) and owns the meet record at 222-1 (67.70).  Like Spotakova, she has five major medals, adding Olympic silver (2012) and bronze (2008) along with a pair of World silvers (2005 & ’07).
            Russia’s Mariya Abakumova is another major gold medalist in the field, winning at the 2011 Daegu World Championships – which is the last time someone other than Spotakova or Obergfoll has won a major gold in this event.  Her best of 236-2 (71.99) is second all-time only to Spotakova’s world record.  Abakumova is also returning from maternity leave, giving birth to twin daughters in May 2014.  Olympic silver medalist in 2008, Abakumova also has bronze medals from the 2013 and 2009 Worlds.

            Linda Stahl of Germany claimed her most famous gold medal in 2010, winning the European Championships ahead of Obergfoll and Spotakova.  Stahl was Olympic bronze medalist in London, just ahead of South African Sunette Viljoen who is also in the field.  Viljoen owns the U.S. all-comers best of 227-6 (69.35) and earned bronze in the 2011 World Championships.

            Martina Ratej of the Slovak Republic earned the No. 2 world ranking last year by T&FN.  She will be joined by fellow Olympic finalist Madara Palameika of Latvia.
            Track & Field News world rankings since 2007:   '07—Spotakova No. 1, Obergfoll No. 2. '08—Spotakova No. 1, Abakumova No. 2, Obergfoll No. 3.  '09—Spotakova No. 1, Abakumova No. 3, Obergfoll No. 4. '10—Spotakova No. 1, Obergfoll No. 2, Abakumova No. 3, Stahl No. 4, Viljoen No. 5.  '11—Obergfoll No. 1, Abakumova No. 2, Spotakova No. 3, Viljoen No. 4.  '12—Spotakova No. 1, Viljoen No. 2, Obergfoll No. 3, Abakumova No. 4, Stahl No. 5.  '13—Obergfoll No. 1, Abakumova No. 2.  '14—Spotakova No. 1,  Ratej No. 2.


Women’s JavelinPersonal Best
Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic)237-2(72.28)
Mariya Abakumova (Russia)236-2(71.99)
Christina Obergfoll (Germany)230-4(70.20)
Sunette Viljoen (South Africa)227-6(69.35)
Linda Stahl (Germany)220-10(67.32)
Martina Ratej (Slovak Republic)220-4(67.16)
Madara Palameika (Latvia)217-0(66.15)

            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.