The stars are out for the third Diamond League meet of the season — Allyson Felix, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Ashton Eaton and David Rudisha, among others.
The Prefontaine Classic is the most mouth-watering outdoor meet of 2014 so far, living up to its venue, revered Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore.
Competition starts Friday night, with Olympic and world champion Brittney Reese in the long jump, Mary Cain in the 800m and Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp in the 10,000m. USATF.TV will have live coverage.
NBCSN will have live coverage Saturday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. ET, followed by NBC from 4:30-6. NBC Sports Live Extra will be available for the entire 3:30-6 window (HERE from 3:30-4:30 and HERE from 4:30-6). The full schedule and entry lists can be found here.
Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):
10 p.m. — Women’s discus
10:03 — Women’s long jump
10:30 — Women’s 800m I
10:50 — Women’s 800m II
11:10 — Men’s shot put
12:17 a.m. (Saturday) — Men’s 10,000m
3:22 p.m. — Men’s triple jump
3:25 — Men’s pole vault
3:33 — Men’s mile
3:44 — Women’s two mile
3:59 — Women’s high jump
4:03 — Women’s 400m hurdles
4:11 — Women’s 3000m steeplechase
4:25 — Men’s 400m
4:34 — Men’s 100m
4:38 — Men’s javelin
4:42 — Women’s 400m
4:49 — Women’s 1500m
5:05 — Men’s 110m hurdles
5:13 — Women’s 200m
5:20 — Men’s 5000m
5:41 — Men’s 800m
5:49 — Bowerman Mile
Here are five track events to watch Saturday:
No Usain Bolt or Yohan Blake, but all seven men in the field have a personal best of 10.0 or better. The favorite is Justin Gatlin, who owns the fastest time of the year at 9.87. His top competition should be France’s Jimmy Vicaut, the second fastest man this year (9.95), and Jamaica’s Nesta Carter, who was second to Gatlin at a Diamond League meet in Shanghai on May 18.
Ethiopian-born Swede Abeba Aregawi has owned this event the last year, winning all six Diamond League races she entered in 2013, then the World Championship and then the World Indoor Championship.
American Jenny Simpson, the 2011 world champion and 2013 world silver medalist, will try to break Aregawi’s streak. As will Kenyan Hellen Obiri, who set a meet record in winning in Eugene last year (it wasn’t a Diamond Race event in 2013).
Men’s 110m hurdles
Olympic decathlon champion Ashton Eaton will try his hand against all six hurdles medalists from the 2012 Olympics and 2013 World Championships, including world-record holder Aries Merritt and world champion David Oliver.
Eaton has been running the 400m hurdles this season, dabbling outside the decathlon in a non-outdoor World Championships year. His personal best in the 110m hurdles, 13.35 from the 2011 Pre Classic, would have placed fourth in the London Games final.
Bill this as Allyson Felix vs. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Olympic champion vs. world champion. Remember, Felix collapsed to the track with a torn hamstring in this race at the World Championships on Aug. 16. Fraser-Pryce, in a neighboring lane, went on to win gold.
Fraser-Pryce has said she’s focusing on the 200m in 2014, while Felix is putting greater emphasis on the 400m. Both have pulled out of meets so far this year, reportedly due to injuries, giving hope to reigning U.S. champion Kimberlyn Duncan and world silver and bronze medalists Murielle Ahoure and Blessing Okagbare.
Olympic champion and world record holder David Rudisha will race for the first time in more than one year. The field is worthy of his return, including world champion Mohammed Aman of Ethiopia, Olympic silver medalist Nijel Amos of Botswana and American Duane Solomon, the fastest man in the world this year seeking to break the American 800m record.