Pre Classic
May 22, 2012
For Immediate Release

Pre Classic Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles:  CAN IT GET ANY BETTER THAN THIS?  YES IT CAN!

              Eugene, Oregon – What is the best event at this year’s Pre Classic?  Even that is stirring up competition.  The latest field to be finalized includes the five fastest men’s 110-meter hurdlers in the world, the last two Olympic gold medalists and all three medalists from last year’s World Championships.

              The 38th Prefontaine Classic, a major stop on the road to the 2012 London Olympics, and part of the elite Samsung Diamond League of international meets, will be held June 1-2 at Hayward Field.

              The illustrious group of hurdlers coming to Eugene is the strongest field ever assembled in the United States.  Headlining the group are the last two Olympic gold medalists, Cuba’s Dayron Robles (2008) and China’s Liu Xiang (2004).  They are also the two fastest hurdlers in history - Robles is the current world record holder with a time of 12.87 and Liu is a 2-time world record setter with a best of 12.88.  Robles’s appearance will be his first-ever in the U.S.

            But there are more headliners.  The Pre Classic field also includes the reigning World Championships gold medalist, American Jason Richardson, who defeated both Robles and Liu last August in Daegu to earn the gold.  But Richardson wasn’t the first to cross the finish line, which should add even more intrigue to this Olympic build-up rematch.  Robles finished ahead of Richardson in Daegu last August, but was disqualified for interference with Liu. Talk about sub-plots!

              And who can forget the fastest in the world last year?  The USA’s David Oliver achieved 2011’s fastest time of 12.94 in winning a thrilling Pre Classic race over Liu (13.00).  Oliver, the American record holder at 12.89 (3rd fastest ever in the world behind only Robles and Liu), has many other fond memories of the Pre Classic and Hayward Field.  He won the Olympic Trials in 2008 in Eugene and also equaled a then-American record 12.90 at the 2010 Pre Classic.

              Yet there is another World Championships medalist in the field.  Daegu bronze medalist and 2-time Olympian Andrew Turner of Great Britain returns to Eugene and completes a rare reunion of all three medalists from last year’s World Chamionships.  The 31-year-old Turner ran his PR 13.22 last year.  Ranked ahead of him by Track & Field News magazine is American Aries Merritt, No. 5 in the world last year, but ripping it up in 2012 as he has won the World Indoor Championships 60-meter hurdles gold medal over Liu this year in Istanbul and recently lowered his PR to 13.03.

              Also in the field are 2011 World Championships decathlon silver medalist Ashton Eaton, a 2-time NCAA decathlon champion at the University of Oregon and a world-class athlete in this event (PR 13.35 in last year’s Pre), and  Dongpeng Shi, a two-time World Championships finalist with a lifetime best of 13.19.
Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles
Dayron Robles (Cuba)
Liu Xiang (China)
Jason Richardson (USA)
David Oliver (USA)
Aries Merritt (USA)
Andrew Turner (Great Britain)
Ashton Eaton (USA)
Dongpeng Shi (China)
              With the addition of the men’s 110-meter hurdles, 62 athletes in this year’s Pre Classic have won 84 Olympic or World Championships gold medals.  Meet organizers expect the greatest collection of talent ever for an invitational on this continent, as the 63 athletes account for 193 medals (85 gold, 59 silver, 49 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.
Copyright © 2012 Prefontaine Classic, All rights reserved.