Prefontaine Classic Women’s 400/Men’s 400 -

Published by ross
May 23rd 2011, 9:55pm | 3723 views
pre classic

May 23, 2011
For Immediate Release
Eugene, Oregon 

Prefontaine Classic Women’s 400/Men’s 400

Samsung Diamond League-Eugene




            A three-time World Championships gold medalist at 200 meters continues her step up to the 400, favored even though the race contains not only the reigning World Champion but also 6 of the top 7 competitors in the world at 400 meters. Sound intriguing? That’s the attraction at the 37th annual Prefontaine Classic, the 4th stop on the elite Samsung Diamond League circuit.

            Twenty-five year old Allyson Felix will bring her Track & Field News No. 1 ranking at 400 meters to Hayward Field on Saturday, June 4th to face Berlin 400 gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross, and a heavyweight field that features the Nos. 2, 3, 4, and 5 ranked athletes from 2010.

            Felix, who won gold at 200 in the ’05, ’07, and ’09 World Championships and silver in the ’04 and ’08 Olympic Games, took advantage of the absence of Richards-Ross last season to rank No. 1 not only at her signature 200-meter distance, but at the 400 as well. Richards-Ross suffered a flare-up last year of Behcet’s disease, an inflammation of the blood vessels, and shut down her 2010 season. But who will count out an athlete ranked first at the 400 five straight years (2005-2009) by Track & Field News?

            Not the other competitors in the race, that’s certain.  World No. 2 Amantle Montsho of Botswana was the 2010 Commonwealth Champion and won a pair of Samsung Diamond League races, No. 3 Debbie Dunn of the U.S. is the current World Indoor Champion at 400, No. 4 Tatyana Firova of Russia was the silver medalist at the World Indoors, and No. 5 Shericka Williams of Jamaica was the silver medalist at both the Berlin World Championships and the Beijing Olympic Games. And if that’s not enough, add in World No. 7 Kseniya Ustalova of Russia and 2011 USATF indoor champion Natasha Hastings. As evidence of the quality in this race, every woman in the field has a personal best under 50-seconds!


Allyson Felix
Sanya Richards-Ross
Amantle Montsho (Botswana)
Debbie Dunn
Tatyana Firova (Russia)
Shericka Williams (Jamaica)
Kseniya Ustalova (Russia)
Natasha Hastings





            Despite the presence of 3 other athletes ranked in the top 10 in the world by Track & Field News, it is hard to see how any of them can be considered a threat to American Jeremy Wariner, gold medalist in the Athens and Bejing Olympic Games and 2007 Osaka World Championships. Wariner was ranked No. 1 in the world last year, his 5th time at the top of rankings.

            That’s not to say he will be the focus of all eyes on June 4th in the 400 meters, however. South African Oscar Pistorius—the “Blade Runner”—will get his first opportunity of 2011 to race against the best in the world, this time at the Eugene Samsung Diamond League meet.

            The 24-year-old Pistorius has already had an unprecedented career in track & field.  Born without fibulas, his lower legs were amputated when he was 11 months old.  After successes in Paralympic world events in ’05 and ’06, Oscar set his sights on qualifying for the 2007 World Championships. However, his carbon-fiber prosthetics proved controversial and in March 2007, the IAAF ruled that his blades gave him an unfair advantage. That decision was overturned by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and he is eligible to compete on the world stage.  Pistorius recorded a lifetime best of 45.61 in March, and the Prefontaine Classic will be his next race.

            As Pistorius tries to launch his career, supervet Angelo Taylor just keeps on going. The Olympic gold medalist in the 400 hurdles in Sydney and Athens, the 32-year-old Taylor also has won a bronze in the flat 400 at the 2007 World Championships, and ranked No. 4 in the world last year at that distance in addition to ranking No. 5 in the 400 hurdles.  Great Britain’s Michael Bingham finished 4th in the Beijing Olympic final, and ranked No. 6 in the world in 2010.  Reigning European Champion Kevin Borlee of Belgium, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist David Neville, and former 400-hurdle World Champion Bershawn Jackson round out the favorites. Including relays, entrants in the Pre Classic 400 meters have won an astonishing sixteen gold medals in Olympic and World Championships competition!


Jeremy Wariner
Oscar Pistorius (South Africa)
Angelo Taylor
Michael Bingham (Great Britain)
Kevin Borlée (Belgium)
David Neville
Bershawn Jackson
Joshua Scott 


Full preliminary entry list

Get Tickets

Tickets for the Prefontaine Classic are on sale from, 1-800-WEBFOOT, or at the UO Athletic Department ticket office. 

Post to:
Post as: 
Switch to Full Version