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Gold and Records Everywhere in High Hurdles at Pre

April 7, 2014
For Immediate Release


Gold and Records Everywhere in High Hurdles at Pre


            Eugene, Oregon – Every lane is set to be shining with medalists for the 110-meter hurdles at the Prefontaine Classic.  The best-ever are confirmed, including the world’s greatest all-around athlete.


             Such a lineup is only fitting for the meet named in honor of America’s most inspirational runner, Steve Prefontaine.  The landmark 40th Pre Classic will be held May 30-31 at historic Hayward Field and proudly announces its fourth field to include the best talent on the planet as part of the IAAF Diamond League world-wide series of elite invitational meets. 


             The two fastest hurdlers in the field have raced each other more than 50 times, and neither is ready to concede anything to the other.


            David Oliver is the reigning world champion and the only multiple Diamond Trophy winner in the event’s history (winning last year as well as in the inaugural 2010 season).  Oliver knows Oregon country, having won the Pre Classic twice. In the first of those wins, in 2010, he equaled the American Record with the still-standing Hayward Field Record of 12.90.  He was the meet’s first sub-13 hurdler and remains the only one to accomplish that feat twice.

            Aries Merritt is the world record holder at 12.80 seconds and defending Olympic champion.  His time made him the first American Olympic gold medalist since 1996 and the first American to own the world record since 1989.  His climb to the best ever included a victory at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials held at Hayward Field.


            No one in the field has more world records (4) or major gold medals (4) than the best athlete in the world, Ashton Eaton.  He is a fan favorite who will be at home in Eugene, where he set the decathlon world record of 9,039 points in 2012.  Eaton has run as fast as 13.35 (plus a wind-aided 13.34) in this event, and we’re sure none of the others have cleared 17 feet (5.18) in the pole vault or 27 feet (8.23) in the long jump.  Do not bet on him being last!--even in a field this loaded.


            How loaded?  Just follow the gold.  Jason Richardson is another in the field with a sub-13 best at 12.98.  He won the 2011 World Championships and was the London Olympic silver medalist. Reigning national champion Ryan Wilson was the closest to Oliver last year, cementing his best season ever with a silver medal at the World Championships in Moscow.  Omoghan Osaghae is the current U.S. Indoor champion and newly-minted World Indoor champion.


            The two youngest entrants come from Europe with track-rich backgrounds.  Sergey Shubenkov, 23, is already Russia’s fastest ever at 13.09 and won the bronze in last summer's World Championships.  His mother, Natalya Shubenkova, was a heptathlete from the former Soviet Union during the days of Jackie Joyner-Kersee and her best of 6,859 points in 1984 rates her as history’s 11th best ever.


            France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, 22, was the 2010 World Junior champion.  He was silver medalist at the recent World Indoor championships.  His country produced the Pre Classic’s first winner in this event in 1975 with Guy Drut.  A year later Drut won Olympic gold in Montreal.


Men’s 110m Hurdles

Personal Best

Aries Merritt (USA)



David Oliver (USA)



Jason Richardson (USA)



Ryan Wilson (USA)



Sergey Shubenkov (Russia)



Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (France)



Omoghan Osaghae (USA)



Ashton Eaton (USA)




            Fans can follow the event lineups as all announced fields are posted at PreClassic.com.  The direct link to current start/entry lists is HERE and will include updates to all announced fields.


            Tickets for the 40th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 30-31 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now from 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 Saturday, May 31.

            The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. Last year’s Pre Classic was scored highest in the world by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the Diamond League.

            Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is the most inspirational distance runner in American history. He set a national high school 2-mile record (8:41.5) while at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon, that is the fastest ever in a National Federation-sanctioned race. While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-Mile/5000-meter championships (4), and never lost a collegiate track 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 that year and has been held every year since.

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