NEW YORK -- With less than two weeks remaining before the start of the Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field, athletes had a chance to fine tune their events Saturday at the adidas Grand Prix on Randall's Island in New York. And Americans Tyson Gay, Sanya Richards-Ross, Jesse Williams and Bernard Lagat looked ready to travel to Eugene after their performances at Icahn Stadium.
Gay made an impressive return to the track in the 100-meters after a near year-long absence, Richards-Ross ran a personal best to grab the world lead in the 200m, Williams established a meet record in the high jump and Lagat proved he still has a finishing kick in winning the 1,500m.
The adidas Grand Prix was the third stop for the Visa Championship Series and the sixth stop for the Samsung Diamond League. Complete results can be found here.
In his first competition since June of 2011, Gay pulled away from the field to win the “B” race of the men’s 100m in 10.00 seconds. The American record holder ran into a 1.5 meters-per-second headwind as he continues his return following hip surgery. Gay finished well ahead of second-place finisher Kemar Bailey-Cole of Jamaica, who ran 10.30. Jamaica’s Yohan Blake (9.90), Trinidad and Tobago’s Keston Bledman (9.93) and American Michael Rodgers (9.99) each ran faster in the men’s 100m National Race, but did so with the help of a 0.7 tailwind.
Richards-Ross grabbed her second world-leading time in as many weeks in cruising to the win in a time of 22.09. Richards-Ross ran her fastest time since 2009 in the 400m last week of 49.39 at the Prefontaine Classic. The American record holder in the 400m pulled away from Bianca Knight, who placed second in a season best time of 22.46. Miki Barber placed third in 22.96.
Williams was one of four high jumpers to better the existing meet record before eventually winning the competition with a jump of 2.36m/7-8.75. The mark is the second best jump in the world this year. Williams, the reigning World Outdoor champion and 2011 Jesse Owens Award winner, bested Great Britain’s Robbie Grabarz, who jumped the same height as Williams to place second. Trevor Barry of the Bahamas placed third and American Jamie Nieto placed fourth each at 2.31m/7-7. Nieto achieved the Olympic “A” standard for the first time this year.
Lagat moved to the front with 80 meters and held on for the win in the men’s 1,500m in a time of 3:34.63. It was an improvement for Lagat, who finished 14th in the Bowerman Mile one week ago at the Prefontaine Classic. American David Torrence placed third in a time of 3:35.48.
T’erea Brown established a season best time and set a meet record in winning the women’s 400m hurdles (54.85). Americans Queen Harrison and Nicole Leach were third and fourth, respectively, in times of 55.32 and 55.37.
Reigning World Outdoor champion Jason Richardson survived a trio of false start calls to win the men’s 110m hurdles in a time of 13.18. American Jeff Porter placed second in a personal best time of 13.26. American record holder David Oliver finished fourth in 13.37. 2012 World Indoor champion Aries Merritt was disqualified from the race after being called for two false starts (the second being run under protest).
In one of the deeper fields of the day, Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce won the women’s 100m in a time of 10.92. American Tianna Madison turned in a personal best time of 10.97 to place second while reigning World Outdoor champion Carmelita Jeter was third in 11.05 and three-time World Outdoor 200m gold medalist Allyson Felix was fourth in 11.07.
The Samsung Diamond League will next be in action in Paris July 6 and the Visa Championship Series will conclude with the Olympic Trials, which are scheduled for June 21-July 1 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
adidas Grand Prix - Athlete Quotes
Tyson Gay – men’s 100m
“I want to thank God that I finished the race healthy. It feels good to be back out here. I think my agent tricked me saying he was putting me in a low key heat. But then I get out here and see all of the cameras. I was pretty nervous. I would like to get one more race in before the (Olympic) Trials. I have time to get better. I wanted to push through the finish. If I can’t get in a race I will probably try to mimic a race in practice. I’m satisfied with the time. I had no pain and I felt good. It has been tough taking steps to get healthy. My fitness level is getting better. I have a couple of weeks to sharpen before the Trials. My confidence is okay. Jon Drummond told me if you can run 10-flat that will be okay. It was great running here. I have good memories.”
Bernard Lagat - men's 1,500m
"Coming into the last lap I felt good. These last two races have told me I'm ready. Now I am going to concentrate on one race. When I race (June) 28th I will be ready. This told me I was strong and my speed is back. I'm confident. I want it so bad. I don't want to come into the Olympics being third at the Trials. I want to come in after a win. It was able to come together for me over the last 80 meters."
Sanya Richards-Ross - women's 200m
"I feel great. I have been training real hard. I'm glad my races have been coming together. Any time my 200 is fast my 400 becomes easier. I am in the best shape of my life. I am very pleased with the time. When my 200 is fast the more comfortable the first 200 of my 400 is. I want to make the Olympic team - first in the 400m and if I can do it in the 200m that would be icing on the cake. I ran 49.39 last week in Eugene and that gave me a lot of confidence. Today I ran the curve really well and I felt like I was turning over."
Jesse Williams - men's high jump
"I felt good. This was a season best. I'm happy with where I am at. I felt tired and I started to think I should be saving some of this for the Trials. The weather was great. We are all in great shape. Jamie Nieto hasn't jumped in a long time and came here and did really well. This is huge for my confidence. I will go into Trials and hope for a season best. I just want to be in the top three at the Trials. My goal this year is to win the Olympic gold medal. My coach has me in great shape and my main focus has been to be in the best shape by the Games."
Jason Richardson - men's 110m hurdles
"I'm not concerned about everybody else. I haven't been changing my formula at all. I have one more race to run before the Trials. As a whole I am having the time of my life. The depth for American hurdlers is no different than it has been. We have a ton of pride in the red, white and blue. I am just honored to be a part of that legacy. Today told me that I could move objects with my mind. I feel very strong mentally."
Aries Merritt - men's 110m hurdles
"The starter said my penalty was movement. Running under protest is good if you didn't move. Clearly I didn't move. It's part of the sport. He said my foot was rattling in the block. You can't run under protest twice. I'm not worried about it. Unfortunately I didn't run here. I was ready to come out and run a season best. Now I will have to go and get ready for the Trials."
David Oliver - men's 110m hurdles
"It was tough. That may happen at the Trials. You are so in the zone when you are in there it's tough running halfway down the track and having to come back. If it's in the rules then an athlete should be able to run under protest. Aries is not a guy that is know for false starts. Now I need to go and get ready for the Trials."
T'erea Brown - women's 400m hurdles
"I just ran my own race. I was able to pump at the end and get the win. To be honest I didn't expect to win, but I am glad I did. It's a season best and it felt really good. This is my third sub-55 race this year. It's my first Diamond League win and I'm happy to get the flowers. I knew that if I was with everyone with 300m left I would do my best to come home. I'm strictly a 400m hurdler."
Jillian Camarena-Williams – women’s shot put
“It went okay today. I was looking for a little bit more. My training has been going well, but today I hoped for a little bit farther. My distance wasn’t great, but we have been training through these meets to get ready for Trials. We are close to where we want to be. I haven’t competed in a month so we are getting some sharpness back. I’m looking forward to the Trials, but also looking forward to London.”
Kara Patterson – women’s javelin
“It was definitely better than I threw in Rome. I’m definitely happy with the placing. I’m happy to be in the top three at a U.S. meet and I can’t take that lightly. I would rather be more consistent and I need to be in better positions. I’m in way better shape physically this year. My training has been really heavy lately.”
Queen Harrison - women's 400m hurdles
"I felt good. This is a season best and I can't complain about that. Right now I am racing myself into shape. What I have learned about track is that anyone that lines up against you is a competitor."
Jamie Nieto - men's high jump
"I just got the Olympic 'A' standard. I have been going after it forever. I'm very happy for today. I feel like my back is against the wall. I'm 35 years old. I have been taking more risks this year and it has been paying off. I have been more consistent. I have been consistently going after 2.31m and been so close. I'm so happy fo finally clear it."
Jenny Simpson - women's 800m
"Warming up I felt like maybe I had been doing too much. But I am trying to stay positive. I did kick it down the homestretch. I want to get back to running around 2:00 or 2:01. The way I look at it I ran a good final lap of the 1,500m twice."