Standout jumps/throws athletes add luster to AT&T USA Outdoor Championships

06-15-2006

Contact:
Tom Surber
Media Information Manager
USA Track & Field
317-713-4690

INDIANAPOLIS - An exciting group of young and talented U.S. athletes in the jumps and throwing events will look to add to their list of accomplishments next week at the 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Indianapolis.

The Championships are the final stop of USATF's 2006 Visa Championships Series, and take place June 21-25 at the IU Michael A. Carroll Track & Soccer Stadium on the campus of IUPUI in downtown Indianapolis. It is the selection meet for the IAAF World Cup of Athletics, which will take place later that summer. The 2006 USA Outdoor Junior Championships take place concurrently with the Outdoor Championships, as the selection meet for the 2006 World Junior Championships in Beijing, China.

The 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships will be televised live on ESPN2 from 6-8 p.m. on Saturday, June 24, and from 5-7 p.m. on Sunday, June 25. All times are Eastern.

Phillips headlines men's jumpers

No American is more dominant in jumping events than Dwight Phillips, whohas taken over as the world's preeminent long jumper. A two-time world outdoor champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist, Phillips made history when he was named the #1 ranked long jumper in the world for the third straight season by Track & Field News at the end of the 2005 season. Phillips joined such luminaries as Carl Lewis, Ralph Boston, George Brown, Arnie Robinson and Ivan Pedroso as the only men ever to earn that distinction.

Phillips only lost twice last year and on both occasions it was to Miguel Pate, who ended the season ranked #2 in the world. The #2 performer behind Carl Lewis on the all-time indoor list, Pate is having another strong season and is looking to defend his U.S. Outdoor title won last year in Carson, Calif.

Walter Davis commanded the world's attention with his surprising victory in the men's triple jump at the 2005 World Outdoor Championships in Helsinki. The reigning U.S. Indoor and Outdoor champion, Davis proved that his performance in Helsinki was no fluke with his win at the 2006 World Indoor Championships in Moscow, Russia.

The vertical jumps have seen new faces emerge. In the pole vault, world outdoor silver medalist and world indoor champion Brad Walker is the world's #1 ranked vaulter, who won the U.S. Outdoor title in addition to the World Athletics Final last year. Walker began this year impressively with wins at the USA Indoor Championships in Boston, and at the World Indoor Championships in Moscow. Although Olympic gold and silver medalists Tim Mack and Toby Stevenson were hampered by injuries last year, look for them to challenge for the national title.

The men's high jump has been an unpredictable event the last two years. Matt Hemingway won Olympic silver and enters next week's competition as the defending champion. Veteran Jamie Nieto was fourth in Athens and can never be counted out, but keep an eye on up and comer Jesse Williams, who was last year's U.S. Outdoor runner-up and won his second consecutive NCAA Outdoor title last week with his clearance of 2.32 meters/7 feet 7.25 inches, which equals the top clearance in the world this year.

On the women's side, Tianna Madison shocked everyone when the then 19-year-old won the 2005 world outdoor title in the long jump and ended the season ranked #2 in the world by Track & Field News. Like Walter Davis, she returned during the indoor season to prove her consistency by taking the silver medal at 2006 World Indoors.

Chaunte Howard also emerged at world outdoors with her silver-medal winning high jump performance and should be the favorite. Look for reigning U.S. champion and three-time Olympian Amy Acuff to challenge for the title. The triple jump features American record holder Tiombe Hurd, and 2005 USA Indoor champion Jenn Stuczynski, who owns the second highest indoor clearance by an American in history (4.68 meters/15 feet 4.25inches), will enter the pole vault competition as the favorite.

Throws

The men's shot put features a trio of stars who are well known on the world stage. The lineup includes world champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist Adam Nelson; 2004 world indoor champion, defending U.S. outdoor champ and 2006 world-leading Christian Cantwell; and 2006 World Indoor gold medalist Reese Hoffa. Cantwell enters as the favorite, boasting the three top throws in the world this outdoor season, including a monster toss of 22.45 meters/73 feet 8 inches, last week in England.

Ian Waltz and Jarrod Rome have been a potent 1-2 punch in the men's discus in recent years, with each ending the 2005 season ranked in the top ten in the world, marking the first time since 1999 that a pair of Americans have achieved that distinction. Defending champion and American record holder Breaux Greer, recovering from surgery, will look for his record seventh consecutive win in the javelin as he continues on the road to his customary status as one of the world's elite throwers.

James Parker is the defending champion in the men's hammer throw, where he'll face a strong challenge from last year's runner-up Jake Freeman and 2005 third-place finisher A.G. Kruger.

The women's throws are developing rapidly for American women and no one has been hotter this season than Kim Kreiner, who looks like a top-10 javelin thrower in the world this year, having broken the American record numerous times in 2006. Erin Gilreath is among the world's finest in the women's hammer, and she broke the American record at this meet last year. Becky Breisch won the national discus title on the last throw of the competition in 2005, and she'll need more heroics like that to beat the likes of two-time champion Aretha Thurmond.

For more information on the 2006 AT&T USA Outdoor Championships and USATF's Visa Championship Series, visit www.usatf.org.