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PRE CLASSIC STARTS BATTLE FOR GOLD IN 400 HURDLES

Published by PreClassic.com - The official Prefontaine Classic website
Apr 22 2013, 06:27 PM | 2055 views
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Pre Classic

April 22, 2013
For Immediate Release
 
 

PRE CLASSIC STARTS BATTLE FOR GOLD IN 400 HURDLES

 
            Eugene, Oregon – A  preview of the World Championships in August?  The women’s 400-meter hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic will provide just that, as the reigning Olympic and World Championships gold medalists meet the woman ranked No. 1 in the world.
            Three stars headline a power-packed field at the 39th Prefontaine Classic to be held at historic Hayward Field on June 1.  The Pre Classic is a member of the prestigious IAAF Diamond League, comprised of 14 elite meets around the globe.
            Russia’s Natalya Antyukh won the London Olympics by just 0.07 seconds over American Lashinda Demus, who brought home gold at the 2011 World Championships.  But it was Jamaican Kaliese Spencer who earned the Track & Field News No. 1 world ranking in 2012.  The trio is amazing in that each has broken the 53-second barrier, making the world record of 52.34 within reasonable reach as each prepares for the World Championships in Moscow this August.
            Spencer is the youngest headliner at 26.  She has won world-class races in her young career at London, Rome, and Zurich.  Still, she is in search of her first championships medal, having finished 4th at the 2012 Olympics as well as at the 2009 and 2011 World Championships.  Spencer has twice been runner-up at the Pre Classic (2011, 2010).
            American record holder Demus was ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN and owns three previous No. 1 world rankings (2011, 2010, and 2006).  Now 28, she has a glittering collection of major medals: gold from the 2011 World Championships in Daegu, along with silvers from the London Olympics and 2005 and 2009 World Championships. Demus is the Pre Classic and Hayward Field record holder at 53.03 from 2010.
            Antyukh, ranked No. 4 in the world last year by T&FN, is the oldest of the leading headliners at 31.  She is also the quickest, having transformed from the flat 400  (2004 Olympic bronze medalist with a PR of 49.85 from ‘04).  Antyukh was a hurdle star early in her career, but didn't run over the barriers for almost a decade before switching back in 2009, making the World Championships final.  She first dipped under 53 seconds in 2010, earned the bronze at the 2011 World Championships, then PRed at 52.70 to win gold at the London Olympics.  This will be Antyukh’s first appearance in Eugene.
            The Pre Classic's incredible display of talent seems to have no end.
            Three stellar internationalists are confirmed in Zuzana Hejnova, bronze medalist at the London Olympics and ranked No. 3 in the world by T&FN; Perri Shakes-Drayton, ranked No. 5 in the world by T&FN; and London finalist Denisa Rosolova, ranked No. 9 in world by T&FN.
            Perhaps more impressive to American fans are a pair of fast-rising talents, Georganne Moline and T’erea Brown.  Both are Olympians.  Moline, still a blossoming collegiate star at Arizona, was 5th in the London Olympics, while Brown - an NCAA champion while at Miami and an accomplished sub-13 talent in the 100-meter hurdles - finished sixth in London.  They were ranked No. 7 and 8 in the world last year by Track & Field News, giving this race the Nos. 1-2-3-4-5-7-8-9 athletes in the world, and all-three medalists from the London Olympics Games.
 
Women’s 400-Meter Hurdles Personal Best
Lashinda Demus (USA) 52.47  
Natalya Antyukh (Russia) 52.70  
Kaliese Spencer (Jamaica) 52.79  
Zuzana Hejnova (Czech Republic) 53.29  
Perri Shakes-Drayton (Great Britain) 53.77  
Georganne Moline (USA) 53.92  
T’erea Brown (USA) 54.21  
Denisa Rosolova (Czech Republic) 54.24  
 
            Tickets for the 39th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 31-June 1 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now from www.PreClassic.com and from 1-800-WEBFOOT.  Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and by NBC Sports from 1:30 till 3:00 p.m. PT on June 1st.
           The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track and field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually.  Last year’s Pre Classic presented the most 2012 Olympic gold medalists (20) of any invitational meet in the world.
            Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is perhaps the most inspirational distance runner in American history.  He set a national high school 2-Mile record while at Coos Bay High School that lasted nearly two decades.  While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-Mile/5000-meter championships (4) every time he competed, and never lost a collegiate race at any distance.  As a collegiate junior, he made the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and nearly won an Olympic medal, finishing 4th in the 5K at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at age 22.  After finishing college in 1973 and preparing for a return to the Olympics in 1976, he continued to improve, setting many American records.  His life ended tragically on May 30, 1975, the result of an auto accident, at age 24.  The Pre Classic began soon after and has been held every year since.


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