NEW YORK – Five men with World Championship or Olympic experience will step to the start line of the men’s 50-meter dash at the U.S. Open Track & Field event January 28 at Madison Square Garden.
Jamaica’s Asafa Powell, Americans Justin Gatlin and Trell Kimmons, Trinidad’s Richard Thompson and Antigua’s Daniel Bailey have all committed to the men’s 50m of the U.S. Open to create an extremely deep and international field.
Previously announced stars committed to the U.S. Open include David Oliver, Bernard Lagat, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Jesse Williams, Christian Cantwell, Adam Nelson, Jason Richardson, Dawn Harper, Kellie Wells, Tiffany Ofili Porter, Ryan Whiting and Jenn Suhr.
The inaugural edition of the U.S. Open is the first event of USATF’s Visa Championships Series and will be held in the newly renovated Garden. The first major professional meet in the United States to kick-off the 2012 Olympic year, it will be broadcast on Sunday, January 29, from 7-9 p.m. on ESPN2.
Powell v. Gatlin
The former 100m world record holder in the 100m, Powell will make his first indoor appearance since 2004 at the U.S. Open. The Jamaican legend has run more sub-10-second 100m dashes than anyone in history. He held the world 100m record of 9.77 seconds from 2005 until teammate Usain Bolt bettered the mark in New York in 2008.
It sets up a matchup between Powell, 29 years old, and Gatlin, 28. The rivalry between the two was a key storyline heading into the 2004 Olympic Games and subsequent World Championships. Gatlin won the Olympic gold medal in the 100m in 2004 and gold medals in both the 100m and 200m at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships.
Thompson, 26, brings young blood to the event as the silver medalist in the 100m at the 2008 Olympic Games finishing behind only Bolt in Beijing. He was also a member of the silver medal 4x100m relay team in 2008.
Kimmons, 26, was a member of Team USA in the 100m and 4x100m at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships and is the 2010 USA Outdoor runner-up in the 100, while Bailey, 25, won a bronze medal in the 60m at the World Indoor Championships in 2010.
In an event that is contested relatively rarely, Canada’s Donovan Bailey currently holds the world record of 5.56, set in 1996. The American record of 5.56 was set in 1999 by Maurice Greene.
Tickets on sale
The U.S. Open will be broadcast Sunday, January 29, from 7-9 p.m. on ESPN2. Tickets are available at the MSG Box Office, Ticketmaster charge at 866-858-0008, all Ticketmaster outlets, and THEGARDEN.com/USOPEN. Annual MSG Track & Field subscribers can contact 212-465-6073. USATF proudly accepts only Visa.
Visit the official U.S. Open website at http://usopen.usatf.org/default.aspx. For information on the Visa Championship Series, including the U.S. Open and TV information, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com.