Prefontaine Classic preview, schedule, broadcast info

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The Prefontaine Classic will provide an early look at World Track and Field Championships contenders, live on NBC, NBCSN and NBC Sports Live Extra on Saturday.

The annual Diamond League meet in Eugene, Ore., will carry extra significance this year, given it will be contested on the 40-year anniversary of the death of its namesake, 1972 Olympic 5000m runner Steve Prefontaine.

Competition starts Friday night, with Olympic and World champion Brittney Reese in the long jump, Olympic bronze medalist Reese Hoffa in the shot put, Bernard Lagat and Galen Rupp in the 5000m and Olympic and World champion Mo Farah in the 10,000m. USATF.TV will have live coverage.

On Saturday, Olympic champions Allyson FelixJustin GatlinSanya Richards-Ross and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce headline the fields.

NBCSN will have live coverage Saturday from 3:30-4:30 p.m. ET, followed by NBC from 4:30-6. Live Extra will stream the entire broadcast window. The full schedule and entry lists can be found here.

Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

Friday
11:03 p.m. — Men’s discus
11:06 — Women’s long jump
11:28 — Men’s shot put
12 a.m. (Saturday) — Men’s 5000m
12:20 — Men’s 10,000m

Saturday
3:21 p.m. — Women’s triple jump
3:26 — Men’s pole vault
3:41 — Women’s 400m
3:49 — Men’s 800m
3:56 — Men’s high jump
4:03 — Men’s 400m hurdles
4:11 — Men’s 3000m steeplechase
4:30 — Women’s javelin
4:33 — Women’s 100m
4:42 — Men’s 100m
4:49 — Men’s 400m
4:55 — Women’s 800m
5:05 — Men’s 110m hurdles
5:12 — Women’s 5000m
5:32 — Men’s 200m
5:40 — Women’s 1500m
5:49 — Men’s Bowerman Mile

Here are five track events to watch Saturday:

Women’s 400m (3:41 p.m. ET)

Olympic 200m champion Allyson Felix will race a 400m at a Diamond League meet for the first time in more than one year. Felix said she will enter one of the 200m or 400m at the World Championships in August, and her performance at the Prefontaine Classic could go into determining her event at Worlds in Beijing.

On Saturday, Felix will oppose Olympic 400m champion Sanya Richards-Ross, who owns the fastest time in the world this year. Felix is capable of beating Richards-Ross when at their best, as she did at the 2011 World Championships. The Pre Classic field is lacking the world’s other elite 400m runner, American Francena McCorory.

Women’s 100m (4:33 p.m. ET)

The field includes the fastest women from 2015 (Elaine Thompson, Jamaica), 2014 (Tori Bowie, U.S.), 2013 and 2012 (Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica) and 2011 (Carmelita Jeter, U.S.).

The opportunity is ripe for Thompson, 22, to stake her claim as the favorite to be crowned world’s fastest woman at the World Championships in three months. She’s already won 100m races in Kingston in March, April and May, but training partner and Olympic and World champion Fraser-Pryce was not in any of those races.

Thompson’s clocked 10.92 this year, but it was Bowie who starred in 2014 with a top time of 10.80. The Mississippi native missed the end of last season after a late August hamstring injury and ran 11.07 in Shanghai on May 17.

Men’s 200m (5:32 p.m. ET)

Usain Bolt ran 20.13 on a wet track in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Tuesday. Bolt is not in Eugene, but rival Justin Gatlin is in this 200m field. Gatlin ran mostly 100m races since his return from a four-year doping ban in 2010, but last year he clocked 19.68 and 19.71 in the 200m, the fastest times in the world since Bolt won the 2013 World Championship in 19.66. Gatlin hasn’t run a wind-legal 200m yet this season. He did clock a wind-aided 20.10 on April 11.

Gatlin’s competition Saturday will come from the three fastest Jamaicans aside from Bolt this year — Julian ForteNickel Ashmeade and Rasheed Dwyer — Panama’s 2009 World silver medalist Alonso Edward and U.S. 2013 World bronze medalist Curtis Mitchell.

Women’s 1500m (5:40 p.m. ET)

The day’s final women’s race includes reigning Diamond League champion Jenny Simpson, the world’s fastest woman from 2014, Ethiopian-born Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, plus talented Americans Shannon Rowbury, the 18-year-old Alexa Efraimson and steeplechaser Emma Coburn.

It’s early, but Simpson and Rowbury are threats to break a 44-year U.S. gold-medal drought in Olympic track events longer than 400m next summer in Rio de Janeiro.

Men’s Bowerman Mile (5:49 p.m. ET)

The traditional finale of the meet could be a U.S.-Kenya battle. The Kenyan contingent includes two-time reigning World champion Asbel Kiprop and Silas Kiplagat, the fastest 1500m runner in the last decade. Americans Matthew Centrowitz, the 2013 World silver medalist, and Leo Manzano, the 2012 Olympic silver medalist, will look to dethrone them.

Mary Cain leaves Oregon, returns home to New York