Gatlin, Phillips, Webb to compete at Nike Prefontaine Classic
World and Olympic champions Justin Gatlin and Dwight Phillips, along with reigning USA Outdoor 1,500m champion and national high school mile record holder Alan Webb will compete May 28 at the Nike Prefontaine Classic at venerable Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.
The third event of USA Track & Field's Outdoor Visa Championship Series, the Nike Prefontaine Classic will be televised live on ESPN2 from 5-7 p.m., Eastern Time.
In 2004, Gatlin won the gold medal in the 100 meters and bronze medal in the 200m at the Olympic Games in Athens. He followed that with an amazing season in 2005, highlighted by winning the 100m and 200m gold medals at the World Outdoor Championships in Helsinki, Finland. Gatlin's victories made him only the second man ever to win both 100m and 200m at the same World Outdoor Championships and his winning margin of .17 seconds in the 100 was the biggest in World Championships history. Gatlin also won both sprints at the 2005 USA Outdoor Championships in becoming the first man to win U.S. 100 and 200-meter titles in the same year since Kirk Baptiste in 1985.
The defending Pre Classic champion at 100 meters, Gatlin says, "Pre has always produced fast times and great races. I'm looking forward to running fast like I did there last year (9.84w)...and for years to come."The 100 will not be an exhibition race, however, not with Jamaica's Dwight Thomas and Michael Frater in the race. Thomas was ranked #4 in the world by Track & Field News in 2005, and Frater took the silver in the 100m at the World Championships behind Gatlin. Also look for 2006 World Indoor Championships 60m gold medalist Leonard Scott to challenge Gatlin for top honors.
Considered worldwide as the dominant force in the men's long jump, Dwight Phillips followed his gold medal winning performance at the Olympic Games in Athens by winning World Outdoor Championships gold in 2005, where he landed in the sand at 8.60m/28-2.75 on his first attempt to successfully defend his 2003 world title won in Paris. His performance not only equaled his career best, it also was the best jump in the world in 2005.
Phillips will be challenged by Miguel Pate, ranked #2 in the world by Track & Field News last year, reigning Olympic silver medalist John Moffitt and Brian Johnson, who is currently world-ranked #9 by T&FN.Another powerhouse field will toe the line for the Bowerman Mile headlined this year by Pre Classic favorite Alan Webb, who showed his strength in the men's 10,000 meters at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational on Sunday. Webb crossed the line in 27 minutes, 34.72 seconds in the fastest-ever debut by an American at that distance. For his efforts he was named USATF's Athlete of the Week.
Webb will be challenged by American 1,500m record holder Bernard Lagat, who was ranked #2 in the world last year by Track & Field News. Lagat is the Olympic silver medalist from the Athens Games. Defending Bowerman Mile champion Alex Kipchirchir of Kenya, ranked #5 in the world, is also in the field. In March of this year, Kipchirchir won the Commonwealth Games 800m gold medal.
For more information on the 2006 Prefontaine Classic and the Visa Championship Series, visit: www.usatf.org.Sanchez coming home to NYC for Reebok Grand Prix
Felix Sanchez, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Champion in the 400-meter hurdles, will compete in the Reebok Grand Prix on June 3. Also added to the lineup, which is expected to include dozens of Olympic and World Championship medalists, is the reigning 5,000-meter Olympic gold medalist, Meseret Defar.
The fourth event of USATF's Outdoor Visa Championship Series, the Reebok Grand Prix will be broadcast live on ESPN2 from 6-8 p.m., Eastern Time.
Sanchez, who competes for the Dominican Republic, was born in New York City and honored with a parade there after he won gold in Athens. Since 2001, the 28-year-old posted a win streak in the 400m hurdles of 43 consecutive races between July 2001 and September 2004. In between, he won two World Championship gold medals (2001, 2003), a Pan American Games gold medal (2003) and his Olympic title. He is one of the most popular athletes in the Dominican Republic, and is the nation's first Olympic gold medalist.
In addition to her Olympic triumph, Defar is a two-time World Indoor Champion at 3,000 meters and the 2005 World Championships silver medalist at 5,000 meters. Just last month, the 22-year-old Ethiopian shattered the 5,000m world record on the roads when she won the Carlsbad 5,000 in 14:46. Last year, she scored a double victory in the World Athletics Final, at 3,000 and 5,000 meters.
For more information on the Reebok Grand Prix and USATF's Visa Championship Series, visit: www.usatf.org.