Olympic medalists headline 2009 adidas Track Classic


Vicky Oddi
Communications Coordinator
USA Track & Field

INDIANAPOLIS - Olympic medalists including LaShawn Merritt, Allyson Felix, Lauryn Williams and Sanya Richards are just a few of the big names slated to compete Saturday at the 2009 adidas Track Classic at the Home Depot Center on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills, in Carson, Calif.

The third stop of USA Track & Field's 2009 Visa Championship Series, the adidas Track Classic will be televised live on ESPN2 from 8:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Six of the top eight fastest women in America will face off in the women's 100 meters. Led by 2004 Olympic silver and two-time World Outdoor medalist Lauryn Williams, the field also includes Marshevet Hooker, #6 world-ranked by Track & Field News; Olympic 100m and 200m finalist Muna Lee; 2003 World Outdoor champion Torri Edwards; 2007 World Outdoor bronze medalist Carmelita Jeter; and 2008 NCAA Indoor 200m champion Bianca Knight.

In the men's 100m, two-time Olympian Darvis Patton and collegiate record holder Travis Padgett will challenge 2008 Olympic silver medalist Richard Thompson of Trinidad and Tobago. Also in the field is Leroy Dixon, who anchored Team USA's gold medal-winning 4x100m relay at the 2007 World Outdoor Championships.

2008 Olympic 400m gold medalist LaShawn Merritt, the current world leader over 200 and 400m, will step down in distance this weekend to race the 200m, where he will face two-time Olympic medalist Shawn Crawford, two-time World Outdoor medalist Wallace Spearmon and quadruple NCAA champion Xavier Carter.

Two-time Olympic silver medalist Allyson Felix is the class of the field in the women's 200m, having been ranked in the top two in the world in her specialty for the past five years. 2008 Olympic 400m bronze medalist Sanya Richards, ranked #6 in the world over 200m by Track & Field News, will look to thwart Felix. Also entered are 2004 Olympian LaShaunte'a Moore and 2006 NCAA Indoor and Outdoor champion Shalonda Solomon.

The men's 400m hurdles features the trio of American's who swept the medal stand at the 2008 Olympic Games: two-time Olympic gold medalist Angelo Taylor ('00 , '08), silver medalist and defending world champion Kerron Clement and bronze medalist Bershawn Jackson. 2004 Olympic gold medalist Felix Sanchez of the Dominican Republic and 2005 World Outdoor silver medalist James Carter also are entered.

2008 Olympic silver medalist and American Indoor and Outdoor record-holder Jenn Stuczynski leads the field in the women's pole vault. 2000 Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Outdoor champion Stacy Dragila and 2008 Olympic finalist April Steiner-Bennett are also entered.

Two-time Olympic 400m medalist and two-time World Outdoor champion Jeremy Wariner leads the field in the men's 400m, that includes 2008 Olympic bronze medalist David Neville and 2005 World Outdoor silver medalist Andrew Rock.

Two-time Olympic medalist and double World champion Bernard Lagat is entered in the men's 1,500m where he will be challenged by two Olympic teammates, 2008 NCAA Outdoor champion Leo Manzano and 2007 NCAA champion Lopez Lomong. Chris Lukezic, who has the second-fastest time by an American so far this year, will also compete. Watch for 2008 Olympian and last year's adidas Track Classic champion Erin Donohue in the women's 1,500m in a race that includes 2008 USATF Youth Athlete of the Year and Olympic Trials finalist Jordan Hasay.

In the women's 800m, four-time USA Outdoor champion and three-time Olympian Hazel Clark will face Jamaica's Kenia Sinclair, who led the Jamaican SMR to a World best at the Penn Relays with her 1:57.43 split.

American record-holder and Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan headlines the women's 5,000m in a field where her top rivals will be Ethiopian sisters Ejegayehu and Genzebe Dibaba. Ejegayehu is the 2004 Olympic silver medalist at 10,000m and 2005 World Championships bronze medalist at both 5000m and 10,000m, while younger sister Genzebe is a two-time World Junior Cross Country champion and last weekend won the Ethiopian senior 5,000m national title at only 18 years old.

Reigning Olympic gold medalist Dawn Harper will take on two-time World Outdoor champion Michelle Perry in the women's 100m hurdles. Two-time USA Outdoor champion Ginnie Powell and 2008 World Indoor silver medalist Candice Davis will also be in the mix.

Other athletes to watch for include two-time Olympic silver medalist Terrence Trammell in the men's 110m hurdles, 2008 Olympic 4x400m gold medalist Natasha Hastings, who recently ran her entire leg of the 4x400 at the Penn Relays with only one shoe, in the women's 400m, and 2008 Olympian Ian Dobson in the men's 5,000m. 2008 Olympic Trials champion and Olympic Games finalist Anna Willard will run the women's 3,000m steeplechase.

Fresh off his world-leading leap of 8.51m/27-11 in Guadeloupe May 2, Dwight Phillips will compete in the men's long jump. 2008 Olympian Erica McClain and two-time Olympic Trials runner-up Shakeema Welsch are entered in the women's long jump, and three-time USA Outdoor champion Ian Waltz will compete in the men's discus.

Produced by Global Athletics & Marketing, Inc., the adidas Track Classic is the third stop on USA Track & Field's Visa Championship Series. Tickets, from $40 (finish line) down to $10, are now available by calling Ticketmaster at 213-480-3232 or visiting www.Ticketmaster.com. For group sales, call 1-877-AEG-TICKETS. USATF welcomes you to pay with your Visa. Visit the event website at www.adidasTrackClassic.com for updates and more information.

For more information on the adidas Track Classic and the 2009 Visa Championship Series, visit www.visachampionshipseries.com.