Pre Classic features gold medalists galore in world champs preview; TV, stream schedule

Elaine Thompson-Herah
1 Comment

Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, will be the home of track and field this season, starting with this weekend’s Prefontaine Classic, the world’s top annual track and field meet.

The Diamond League competition airs live on NBC Sports on Saturday — CNBC from 4-4:30 p.m. ET, NBC from 4:30-6 and all of it streaming on, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

This year’s fields include 15 individual Olympic gold medalists, all of whom are bidding to return to Hayward later this summer for the USATF Outdoor Championships in June and/or the first world championships to be held in the U.S. in July.

Events start Friday on USATF.TV including U.S. Championships in the men’s and women’s 10,000m, where world championships spots are at stake. Those are followed by world-record attempts in the women’s two mile and 5000m and men’s 5000m.

Among the headliners: Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah, who swept the 100m and 200m golds at the last two Olympics and at last year’s Pre Classic ran the second-fastest 100m in history, five hundredths off Florence Griffith-Joyner‘s world record.

Thompson-Herah could take another crack at the record against a 100m field including Sha’Carri Richardson, who won the U.S. Olympic Trials, then was disqualified for testing positive for marijuana and missed the Tokyo Games.

World records are also under threat in the men’s pole vault (Swede Mondo Duplantis) and shot put (American Ryan Crouser). Winners of several events, including the women’s 100m hurdles and 3000m steeplechase, will likely become favorites for the world championships.

Here are the Pre Classic entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

10 p.m. — Men’s Pole Vault
10:05 — Women’s High Jump
10:30 — Women’s 10,000m (U.S. Championships)
11:15 — Men’s 10,000m (U.S. Championships)
11:46 — Women’s Discus
11:55 — Women’s 2 Mile
12:12 a.m. — Women’s 5000m
12:35 — Men’s 5000m

3:29 p.m. — Men’s 1500m
3:33 — Women’s Long Jump
3:41 — Women’s Para 100m T63
3:49 — Men’s Para 400m T62
4:04 — Men’s 400m Hurdles
4:10 — Men’s 5000m
4:33 — Women’s 100m
4:43 — Women’s 100m Hurdles
4:49 — Women’s 1500m
5 — Men’s 400m
5:04 — Men’s Shot Put
5:06 — Women’s 800m
5:14 — Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
5:33 — Women’s 200m
5:39 — Men’s Mile
5:52 — Men’s 100m

Here are eight events to watch (statistics via and World Athletics):

Men’s Pole Vault — Friday, 10 p.m. ET
Every time Mondo Duplantis competes, the world record is under threat. He broke the overall record four times since the start of 2020 (all indoors) and also broke Sergey Bubka‘s outdoor record in 2020. At Pre, Duplantis could be pushed by fellow Olympic medalists Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie and American Chris Nilsen.

Men’s 10,000m — Friday, 11:15 p.m. ET
Top three qualify for July’s world championships if they have the standard of 27:28. The top five from last year’s U.S. Olympic Trials are entered, led by Olympians Grant Fisher (fifth in Tokyo), Woody Kincaid (15th) and Joe Klecker (16th). The field also includes two-time Olympian Lopez Lomong and fellow veteran Ben True, a two-time world championships runner who also finished fourth, fifth and sixth in Olympic Trials races.

Women’s 100m — Saturday, 4:33 p.m. ET
Thompson-Herah has run 10.89, 10.93 and 10.94 this season, so challenging Flo-Jo’s world record of 10.49 might be a bit too much to ask this early in the campaign. The better chance may be at worlds in July. She will still be a favorite here given primary rival, countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, is racing the 200m instead. Richardson is ranked 57th in the world over the last nine months with a best time of 11.14. She raced last Saturday for the first time since September. Her work is cut out against Thompson-Herah, plus Brit Dina Asher-Smith and Jamaican Shericka Jackson.

Women’s 100m Hurdles — Saturday, 4:43 p.m. ET
Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico. World champions Nia Ali (in her first Diamond League since her 2019 World title and 2021 childbirth) and Danielle Williams of Jamaica. World-record holder Keni Harrison. Camacho-Quinn, undefeated in 2021 aside from one DQ, has a DNF and a runner-up in her last two races.

Men’s Shot Put — Saturday, 5:04 p.m. ET
All three Olympic medalists, led by American Ryan Crouser, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder. Crouser broke the world record in Eugene last year at the Olympic Trials. At March’s world indoor championships, he was defeated for the first time since 2019. The man who bettered him, Brazilian Darlan Romani, was in the Pre field but withdrew.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase — Saturday, 5:14 p.m. ET
Three of the five fastest women in history. Plus Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai, who lowered her national record by 6.89 seconds for a stunning Olympic title. American Emma Coburn, the 2017 World champion, races her first steeple since the Olympic final, where she fell over a barrier while out of contention on the final lap, crossed the finish line 14th and was later disqualified for stepping off the track amid the stumble. Courtney Frerichs, the Olympic silver medalist who lowered her American record at Pre last year, races her first steeple since last summer, too.

Men’s Mile — Saturday, 5:39 p.m. ET
Field has the reigning Olympic champion (Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway) and the reigning world champion (Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya). But the world’s fastest man this year is Kenyan Abel Kipsang, who was fourth at the Olympics and won the first two Diamond League 1500m races this season. Matthew Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic champion, was originally in the field to make his 2022 debut but withdrew with a knee injury. Centrowitz hopes to return soon, his agent said Tuesday.

Men’s 100m — Saturday, 5:52 p.m. ET
Field took a hit with surprise Olympic gold medalist Marcell Jacobs‘ injury withdrawal. Still includes Christian Coleman in his biggest race since winning the 2019 World title, after which he missed the Olympics due to a ban for missing drug tests. Trayvon Bromell, the world’s fastest man last year, replaced Jacobs in the field. Plus Erriyon Knighton, the 18-year-old 200m phenom who could become the first high schooler to break 10 seconds.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Chloe Kim, Elana Meyers Taylor among Olympians to join presidential sports council

Elana Meyers Taylor, President Joe Biden

Chloe Kim and Elana Meyers Taylor are among the Olympic and Paralympic medalists set to join the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, & Nutrition.

President Joe Biden intends to appoint the snowboarder Kim, bobsledder Meyers Taylor, retired Olympic medalists Chaunté Lowe (track and field) and Tamika Catchings (basketball) and Paralympic medalist Melissa Stockwell (triathlon) to the council, among other athletes and people in the health and fitness fields, it was announced Friday.

Stephen and Ayesha Curry are also on the list.

The council “aims to promote healthy, accessible eating and physical activity for all Americans, regardless of background or ability.”

Last year, Biden appointed basketball gold medalist Elena Delle Donne a co-chair of the council.

Kim, the two-time reigning Olympic halfpipe champion, sat out this past season but is expected to return to competition for a third Olympic run in 2026.

Meyers Taylor, the most decorated U.S. Olympic bobsledder in history with medals in all five of her Olympic events, sat out this past season due to pregnancy. She took her first bobsled run in 13 months this past week in Lake Placid, New York.

There is a long history of Olympians and Paralympians serving on the council, which was created in 1956.

In 2017, Barack Obama appointed medalists including gymnast Gabby Douglas, soccer player Carli Lloyd and fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.

Others to previously be on the council include sprinter Allyson Felix, figure skater Michelle Kwan and swimmer and triathlete Brad Snyder.

Members serve for two years and can be reappointed.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!

Kaori Sakamoto wins figure skating worlds; top American places fourth


Kaori Sakamoto overcame a late error in her free skate to become the first Japanese figure skater to win back-to-back world titles and the oldest women’s world champion since 2014.

Sakamoto, 22, totaled 224.61 points on home ice in Saitama to prevail by 3.67 over Lee Hae-In of South Korea in the closest women’s finish at worlds since 2011.

Belgium’s Loena Hendrickx took bronze, edging 16-year-old American Isabeau Levito for a medal by 2.77 points.

Sakamoto is the oldest women’s singles world champion since Mao Asada (2014), who is now the only Japanese skater with more world titles than Sakamoto.

She appeared en route to an easier victory until singling a planned triple flip late in her free skate, which put the gold in doubt. She can be thankful for pulling off the second jump of that planned combination — a triple toe loop — and her 5.62-point lead from Wednesday’s short program.

“I feel so pathetic and thought, what was all that hard work I put into my training?” Sakamoto said of her mistake, according to the International Skating Union (ISU). “But I was able to refocus and do my best till the end.

“Because I have this feeling of regret at the biggest event of the season, I want to make sure I don’t have this feeling next season. So I want to practice even harder, and I want to make sure to do clean, perfect performances at every competition.”

Lee, who had the top free skate, became the second South Korean to win a world medal in any discipline after six-time medalist Yuna Kim.

Hendrickx followed her silver from last year, when she became the first Belgian women’s singles skater to win a world medal.

FIGURE SKATING WORLDS: Results | Broadcast Schedule

Levito, last year’s world junior champion, had a chance to become the youngest senior world medalist since 2014.

After a solid short program, she fell on her opening triple Lutz in the free skate and left points on the table by performing two jump combinations rather than three. The Lutz was planned to be the first half of a combination with a triple loop.

“I am severely disappointed because I’ve been nailing my Lutz-loop for a really long time, and this is the first time I’ve messed it up in a while, and of course it had to be when it actually counted,” Levito said, according to the ISU. “But I’m pretty happy with myself for just trying to move past it and focusing on making the most out of the rest of the program.”

Levito entered worlds ranked fourth in the field by best score this season. She matched the best finish for a U.S. woman in her senior global championships debut (Olympics and worlds) since Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan took silver and bronze at the 1991 Worlds. Sasha Cohen, to whom Levito is often compared, also placed fourth in her Olympic and world debuts in 2002.

“I feel very proud for myself and grateful for my coaching team for helping me get this far so far in my skating career, and I’m just very proud to be where I am,” Levito said on USA Network.

American Amber Glenn was 12th in her world debut. Two-time U.S. champion Bradie Tennell was 15th. They had been 10th and eighth, respectively, in the short program.

The U.S. qualified two women’s spots for next year’s worlds rather than the maximum three because the top two Americans’ results added up to more than 13 (Levito’s fourth plus Glenn’s 12th equaled 16). The U.S. was in position to qualify three spots after the short program.

Glenn said after the short program that she had a very difficult two weeks before worlds, including “out-of-nowhere accidents and coincidences that could have prevented me from being here,” and boot problems that affected her triple Axel. She attempted a triple Axel in the free skate, spinning out of an under-rotated, two-footed landing.

Tennell, who went 19 months between competitions due to foot and ankle injuries in 2021 and 2022, had several jumping errors in the free skate.

“This season has been like one thing after another,” said the 25-year-old Tennell, who plans to compete through the 2026 Winter Games. “I’m really excited to get back and work on some stuff for the new season.”

Earlier, Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates topped the rhythm dance, starting their bid for a first world title in their 12th season together and after three prior world silver or bronze medals.

“We skated as best we possibly could today,” Bates said, according to the ISU, after they tallied the world’s top score this season.

Meryl Davis and Charlie White are the lone U.S. ice dancers to win a world title, doing so in 2011 and 2013.

Worlds continue Friday night (U.S. time) with the free dance, followed Saturday morning with the men’s free skate, live on Peacock and USA Network.

OlympicTalk is on Apple News. Favorite us!