NEW YORK – 2011 Jesse Owens Award winner Jesse Williams will usher the men’s high jump back into Madison Square Garden, while Christian Cantwell leads some of the world’s best in the men’s shot put at the U.S. Open Track & Field on January 28 at Madison Square Garden, USA Track & Field announced Wednesday.
The two champion field-event athletes join previously announced Bernard Lagat, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Asafa Powell, David Oliver and Jenn Suhr at the inaugural edition of the U.S. Open.
The kick-off event of USATF’s Visa Championship Series, the U.S. Open will be the first track meet to be held in the newly renovated Garden, and will be the first major professional meet in the United States as the 2012 Olympic year gets under way. It will be broadcast from 7-9 p.m. on Sunday, January 29, on ESPN2.
Williams ready for more in 2012
Featured on the U.S. Open promotional displays in Times Square, Williams will personally appear in New York to display his 2011 form that made him the World Outdoor Championships gold medalist and the first American in 20 years to win a medal in the event. The last time Team USA won a medal in the World Championships was 1991, when Charles Austin and Hollis Conway took gold and silver, respectively.
One of the finest seasons by an American high jumper in decades, Williams in 2011 won both the USA Indoor and USA Outdoor titles, along with the Diamond League Championship. His personal best is currently third on the U.S. all-time list, and his jump of 2.37m/7-9.25 was the best in the world last year. His career has included a pair of USA Outdoor titles, one USA Indoor championship and winning the 2008 Olympic Trials.
Cantwell and Crew
Cantwell leads three of the four Americans who represented Team USA at the recent World Outdoor Championships in Daegu, South Korea. Cantwell will join Adam Nelson and Ryan Whiting in the circle at the Garden.
After years of success in the men’s shot put, the three Americans have combined to claim 14 USA Indoor, USA Outdoor and Olympic Trials championships along with three Olympic medals and five World Indoor and World Outdoor gold medals.
A three-time World Indoor gold medalist and the 2009 World Outdoor champion, Cantwell will begin his defense of his 2010 World Indoor title. Nelson brings two Olympic silver medals and a 2005 World Outdoor Championship to the Garden, while Whiting is the 2011 U.S. Indoor champion and recorded the farthest indoor throw in the world last year with his mark of 21.35m/70-0.5.
Tickets on sale
U.S. Open tickets start as low as $15 and 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.
For information on the Visa Championship Series, including the U.S. Open and TV information, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com