Pre Classic
May 23, 2012
For Immediate Release


              Eugene, Oregon – Brittney Reese is 25, Christian Taylor is 21.  Both Americans have World Championships gold medals.  Both want the Olympic brand, and both will use the Hayward Field magic to help propel them to that goal at the 38th annual Prefontaine Classic.

              Taylor will compete in the men’s triple jump and Reese in the women’s long jump at the Pre Classic, a major stop on the road to the 2012 London Olympics and part of the elite Samsung Diamond League of international meets.  This year’s Pre event will be held over two days, June 1-2 at Hayward Field.

              While Reese will compete on Saturday, Taylor will compete on Friday, an event free to the public thanks to the generosity of long-time sponsor Nike which is honoring pioneering executive Geoff Hollister with “Hollister Night at Hayward".

              Reese is clearly the brightest among a stunning gathering of stars in the women’s long jump field as she has been ranked No. 1 in the world each of the last three years by Track & Field News magazine.  During that span she has won every gold medal available, including the 2009 and 2011 World Championships as well as the 2010 and 2012 World Indoor Championships.

              Her most recent gold medal, in Istanbul, came as Reese was trailing on her last attempt.  She responded with the longest indoor jump in the world since 1989, an American record 23-8.75 (7.23) that generated a text message from the previous record holder, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who typed: “Hello, Miss American Record Holder.”

              Reese is fondly familiar with Hayward Field, having set PRs to win three previous titles: the 2008 Olympic Trials and the 2009 and 2011 USATF national championships, the latter in 23-7.25 (7.19), still her best outdoors.  Later this summer, she aims to improve on her Olympic best of fifth place in the 2008 Beijing Olympics  – the last time Reese has not won an international gold medal.

              Competition will gather from Asia, Europe, South America, and even the U.S.  Two other world-ranked Americans, Janay DeLoach and Funmi Jimoh, have been confirmed.  DeLoach, ranked No. 5 in the world last year by T&FN, was the competitor who spurred Reese’s indoor American record at Istanbul, as she had just taken the lead in the last round.  So close to gold, DeLoach settled for silver that day.  Her best is 22-11.25 (6.99), set indoors last year, while her outdoor best is 22-10.5 (6.97), recorded at Hayward Field at last year’s USATF championships, where she finished second.  Jimoh was another American at the World Championships last summer.  Also a 2008 Olympian, she was ranked No. 8 in the world last year by T&FN.  Jimoh’s best is 22-10 (6.96).

              Leading a group of European entrants is Latvia’s Ineta Radevica, the bronze medalist from last year’s World Championship; her best is 22-8.5 (6.92).  Shara Proctor of Great Britain was the bronze medalist at this year’s World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, where she set her best of 22-7.25 (6.89).  Eloyse Lesueur of France is the final European in the meet with a best of 22-8 (6.91).

              From South America is Maurren Higa Maggi of Brazil, the 2008 Olympic gold medalist.  Now 35, she is the most experienced athlete in the field and has a best of 23-10 (7.26).  From Asia is the youngest in the field, 19-year-old Minjia Lu of China.  Lu won the 2009 World Youth under-18 gold medal at age 16.  Her best is 22-1.5 (6.74).
Women’s Long Jump
Brittney Reese (USA)
Janay DeLoach (USA)
Maurren Higa Maggi (Brazil)
Shara Proctor (Great Britain)
Funmi Jimoh (USA)
Eloyse Lesueur (France)
Ineta Radevica (Latvia)
Minjia Lu (China)
              Christian Taylor headlines yet another star-studded field in this year’s Pre Classic.  The men’s triple jump brings together the reigning World Championships outdoor and indoor gold medalists in the event, part of an intense, yet friendly, rivalry.  Taylor, with the outdoor gold and a best of 58-11.25 (17.96), is quite familiar with the indoor champ, his former University of Florida teammate, 20-year-old Will Claye.  The bronze medalist last year in Daegu at the World Championships outdoors, Claye defeated Taylor in Istanbul to win a gold of his own.  Claye’s best in the event is 58-1 (17.70).

              Just as they will be in London if they make the U.S. team, Taylor and Claye will be presented with world-class competition in Eugene.  Alexis Copello of Cuba was ranked No. 4 in the world last year by T&FN after being No. 2 in 2010.  He won the bronze medal at the 2009 World Championships and has a best of 58-0.25 (17.68), set last year.

              The field will also include Leevan Sands of the Bahamas, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist and ranked among the top 10 in nine of the last 10 years by T&FN.  His best is 57-8.5 (17.59).  Two-time Olympian Yanxi Li of China is also entered with a best of 57-8.5 (17.59).  Brazilian Johnathan Silva, just 20, has earned interest around the world after jumping 57-0.75 (17.39) earlier this year.

              A pair of Cubans adds more intrigue to the competition.  David Girat, 27, is a two-time Olympian who finished fourth in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  His best is 57-9.75 (17.62).  Osviel Hernandez, who will turn 23 on May 31, is a former World Junior silver medalist with a best of 57-4.75 (17.49).
Men’s Triple Jump
Christian Taylor (USA)
Alexis Copello (Cuba)
Will Claye (USA)
Leevan Sands (Bahamas)
David Girat (Cuba)
Yanxi Li (China)
Johnathan Silva (Brazil)
Osviel Hernandez (Cuba)
              With the addition of the women’s long jump and men’s triple jump, 74 athletes in this year’s Pre Classic have won 96 Olympic or World Championships gold medals.  Meet organizers expect the greatest collection of talent ever for the meet, perhaps ever for an invitational on this continent, as the 74 athletes account for 217 medals (96 gold, 64 silver, 57 bronze).  And more events are still to be announced.
            Tickets for the 38th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held June 1-2 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are on sale 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 on NBC from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, June 2.

            The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track and field meet in America and is part of the elite Samsung Diamond League of 14 meets held worldwide annually.  Last year’s Pre Classic results ranked highest among all of the 14 meets, according to All-Athletics.com, the official data Partnerof the Samsung Diamond League.

            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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