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

Elaine Thompson-Herah
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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 NBCSports.com/live, 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):

Friday
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

Saturday
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 Tilastopaja.org 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.

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Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

2024 Tour de France Nice
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The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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