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Despite Conditions, Americans Shine at adidas Grand Prix

5/25/2013
 
NEW YORK - Prevailing through bouts of rain, wind, and unseasonably cold temperatures, the adidas Grand Prix featured a number of American Olympians finishing atop the podium at Icahn Stadium on Randall's Island. Tyson Gay, Ryan Whiting, Michael Tinsley, Jenn Suhr, and Janay Deloach Soukup were among the American winners at the third stop of the IAAF Diamond League, also serving as the third meeting of the 2013 USATF Championship Series.

Gay, the American record holder for 100m, was the class of the field in the discipline, winning both his semi-final and final with ease. In the final, Gay burst out of the blocks and immediately found himself a step ahead of the field. Meters before the finish, the 2007 world champion put it in cruise control, knowing he had the victory in his pocket. Though his time of 10.02 was slower than his season best of 9.86, Gay was encouraged with how his training has been going.

Olympic bronze medalist Deloach Soukup earned four more Diamond League points in the long jump, setting a new meet record of 6.53m/21-5.75. Taking the lead in the third round, Deloach Soukup fouled her fourth jump before unleashing her winning mark. The 27-year-old is now the IAAF Diamond League event leader with five total points, one ahead of reigning Olympic champion, American Brittney Reese. Reese did not advance to the finals today, placing eighth overall with a jump of 5.99m/19-8.

Americans swept the top four positions in the men's shot put, as Olympic finalist Ryan Whiting edged bronze medalist Reese Hoffa, 21.27m/69-9.50 to 20.69m/67-10.75. Cory Martin and Joe Kovacs rounded out the top four. Whiting's winning mark came in the fourth of six throws, when the Arizona State alum overtook Kovacs atop the leaderboard. Whiting, soon to be the father of a baby boy, said he is confident heading into the U.S. Championships next month. All four Americans finished ahead of reigning Olympic gold medalist Tomasz Majewski of Poland.

London Olympic gold medalist Jenn Suhr only needed one jump to take the win in the women's pole vault. With a fierce wind blowing, Suhr entered the competition at 4.63m/15-2.25 with only three other athletes remaining. Clearing 4.63m in her second attempt, Suhr was pleased with the victory and was happy to complete the meet without injury.

Johnny Dutch, Michael Tinsley and Puerto Rico's Javier Culson came down the homestretch neck-and-neck in the 400m hurdles, bringing the Icahn Stadium crowd to their feet. Striding over the final barrier, Tinsley overtook the Olympic bronze medalist Culson and went on to win in a time of 48.43, a new seasons best.

Olympic champion Christian Taylor placed second in the men's triple jump to France's Benjamin Compaoré. With a shorter approach, Taylor jumped 16.42m/53-10.50 in the fourth round, using a 0.6 meters-per-second tailwind to his advantage.

Americans also performed well in the distance events. Olympian Bridget Franek finished fourth in the 3000m steeplechase, achieving the IAAF World Championships "A" standard with her time of 9:35.42. California's Brenda Martinez moved up throughout the field with each lap of the women's 1500m, taking third in 4:06.25. In the longest event of the day, the men's 5000m, Ben True placed fourth, narrowly missing a personal best in 13:16.94.

Less than 24 hours after qualifying for the NCAA National Championships in Austin, Texas, Arizona's Brigetta Barrett cleared 1.91m/6-3.25 in the women's high jump, good enough for third. Croatia's Blanka Vlašic tied the meet record of 1.94m/6-4.25 for the win.

Croatia's Sandra Perkovic, the 2012 Olympic champion, set a meet record and world lead in the discus, throwing 68.48m/224-8 into a strong headwind. American Gia Lewis-Smallwood placed second, with her first throw traveling 61.86m/202-11.

A pair of Americans in Natasha Hastings and Francena McCorory rounded out the top three in the women's 400m behind Botswana's Amantle Montsho, who set a meet record of 49.91. Sanya Richards-Ross was a late scratch from the event.

More than 5,150 spectators braved the elements at the adidas Grand Prix.

The IAAF Diamond League and the USATF Outdoor Championship Series will next be in action at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday, June 1, in Eugene, Ore. Many athletes competing both in New York and Eugene will also take to the track and field in Des Moines, Iowa, for the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships from Wednesday, June 19 to Sunday, June 23.

For full results, visit www.diamondleague-newyork.com/

Athlete Quotes

Tyson Gay - 1st, Men's 100m
"I feel good. I really felt today, with the weather and everything, it was important for me to feel healthy and not push it too hard with the conditions, and I felt pretty good. I'm definitely pleased with the time. I felt comfortable...I definitely felt good considering there was a negative wind...I really thought it was important to get rounds in going into the trials [USA Outdoor Championships] so I know what it feels like to come back and win again."

Janay Deloach Soukup - 1st, Women's Long Jump
"This is outdoor track and field, this is what you prepare for. This is what you have to get used to and no matter what the weather -- wind, cold, rain -- you have to be able to jump no matter what. I put my big girl panties on and did what I could, jumped as far as I could. It was pretty tough out there...I'm really looking for consistency and I'm really looking to stay around the 6.70m marks...I feel pretty good about where I am. If the weather was warm, what would I jump? I feel pretty good about it."

Brittney Reese, Olympic gold medalist - 8th, Women's Long Jump
"It was just not a good day for me. I couldn't find the board, couldn't stay warm, but overall I'm not that upset. I had one short approach today, I didn't want to chance it with the conditions. Overall I had a great practice last week, I know I'm better than this. I'm just going to learn from it and get ready.

Leo Manzano, Olympic silver medalist - 8th, Men's 800m
"I felt a little tight out there today. I was trying to get a good start, kind of get in the mix, but everybody's good. I went out there, gave my best, and fell a little short today."

Jenn Suhr, Olympic gold medalist - 1st, Women's Pole Vault
"I think any time you can come out here with the wind and such a great field, you'll take it [the win]. You always want to jump higher, and put in a really stellar performance. But with the conditions, you take what you can. I'm not a 4.63m jumper. It's one of those things, they do impact it, it is a major factor. Any time you can come in here and experience it, get it under your belt and move on. Jumping in nice conditions is experience too, that's my next search...I'm feeling good and I'm glad I came out of here healthy."

Ryan Whiting, Olympic finalist - 1st, Men's Shot Put
"Overall I'm happy with it. I proved that I can throw in bad weather so if it's like this at USA's or Moscow I'll be fine...I'm in shape, I'm comfortable throwing in any conditions."

Michael Tinsley, Olympic silver medalist - 1st, Men's 400m Hurdles
"The conditions were tough today, especially the wind on the backstretch. I tried to finish as strong as possible and use the wind coming home. It was a little tough, you've got to keep moving. Coming down the homestretch I felt very comfortable."    

Reese Hoffa, Olympic bronze medalist - 2nd, Men's Shot Put
"It was tough. I kept feeling like I was battling the whole time. I'm coming off being sick for a week so I only got a week of training coming in. But the good thing is that I showed I have some heart, I just tried to get it done. It's a really tough meet. Everybody struggled today but I battled and I at least got a decent throw. It wasn't what I was looking for but I got one out there."

Christian Taylor, Olympic gold medalist - 2nd, Men's Triple Jump
"It was ok, working with the elements. Just another meet getting better. The mark is not what I wanted. It stinks to lose by three centimeters but you take your wins with your losses. The technique is coming together, that's the whole reason why I'm going from the short approach, just to work on technique. I'm healthy and had a good time; now I've got to get ready for Rome."

Contributed by Chris Lotsbom




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