For Immediate Release
Pre Classic Women’s Throws: 4 GOLD MEDALISTS, 3 WORLD RECORD SETTERS
Gold should be the color of choice for the women’s throwers confirmed to compete at this year’s Prefontaine Classic, a major stop on the road to the 2012 London Olympics. Four of the contestants have won Olympic or World Championships gold medals among their collection of honors in the hammer and discus throws. The 38th annual Pre Classic will be held June 1-2 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. The Friday portion of this year’s edition has been named Hollister Night at Hayward, in tribute to the late Geoff Hollister. Admission is free on Friday, thanks to long-time sponsor NIKE, in tribute to Hollister, one of the original executives at the company. Both of the women’s throwing events are included in the free portion of this year’s Pre Classic. The women’s hammer throw brings together a glittering collection highlighted by three World Championships gold medalists and five of the top six ranked throwers in the world last year, according to Track & Field News. The group also includes the last three year’s No. 1 throwers in the world, and four in the last six years. Three of the throwers have set world records, including the current holder, Betty Heidler of Germany. Heidler set her mark of 260-7 (79.42) last May and later in August earned her second consecutive World Championships silver. She won the gold medal in 2007, but more recently she has been ranked No. 1 in the world by T&FN in 2010 and 2011. Two other world record setters are in the field, including Tatyana Lysenko of Russia. Lysenko won the gold in the World Championships last year in defeating Heidler. The third world record setter is Anita Wlodarczyk of Poland, the 2009 World Championships gold medalist and owner of the world record that Heidler broke. The stellar fields gets even better with two more of last year’s top six, Wenxiu Zhang of China and Kathrin Klaas of Germany. Zhang, ranked No. 3 in the world last year, has taken an early world lead by increasing her PR to a world-leading 248-5 (75.72). She was bronze medalist at the 2008 Olympics as well as the 2007 and 2011 World Championships. Klaas, ranked No. 5 last year, was ranked No. 4 in the world in both 2009 and 2010. The hammer field doesn’t end there. Add to that group a pair of Americans and a Canadian: Jessica Cosby, Amber Campbell, and Sultana Frizell. Cosby is a four-time U.S. champ and No. 10 in the world last year, and Campbell and Frizell are 2008 Olympians. Cosby earlier this year increased her PR to 241-10 (73.71), just six inches short of the American record. Campbell is the third-longest thrower in American history at 238-2 (72.59). Frizell, of Canada, earlier this year increased her PR to 246-2 (75.04). Women's Hammer Throw Betty Heidler (Germany) Tatyana Lysenko (Russia) Wenxiu Zhang (China) Kathrin Klaas (Germany) Anita Wlodarczyk (Poland) Amber Cambell (USA) Jessica Cosby (USA) Sultana Frizell (Canada) The women’s discus throw is one of 16 elite events in the meet designated as part of the worldwide Samsung Diamond League. The field features reigning Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Brown-Trafton of the U.S. She is the only American to ever be ranked No. 1 in the world in the women’s discus by T&FN (2008). Brown-Trafton will have plenty of competition. The field includes a select group of the world’s best, including Aretha Thurmond of the U.S., Zaneta Glanc of Poland, and Sandra Perkovic of Croatia. Thurmond, a four-time U.S. champion, is a three-time Olympian who was ranked No. 7 in the world last year by T&FN. Glanc, who has finished fourth in the last two World Championships, was ranked No. 4 in the world last year, as she was in 2009. Perkovic was ranked No. 2 in the world in 2010 and had the second-longest throw in the world last year (222-11). Two more Olympians join the fray in Kateryna Karsak of Ukraine and former two-time World Junior gold medalist Xuejun Ma of China. Also included are two more with World Championships experience: American Gia Lewis-Smallwood and Darya Pishchalnikova of Russia. With the addition of the women’s throwing events to the previously announced women’s 10K and men’s 5K, 12 athletes in this year’s Prefontaine Classic have won a total of 32 Olympic or World Championships medals (19 gold, 5 silver, 8 bronze). Women's Discus Throw Stephanie Brown-Trafton (USA) Aretha Thurmond (USA) Zaneta Glanc (Poland) Kateryna Karsak (Ukraine) Darya Pishchalnikova (Russia) Gia Lewis-Smallwood (USA) Sandra Perkovic (Croatia) Xuejun Ma (China) 5K Update A late addition to the recently announced men’s 5K is Augustine Choge of Kenya. He was the silver medalist at the World Indoor Championships earlier this year in Istanbul in the 3000 meters, an event in which he still owns the World Junior Record (7:28.78 in 2005). Choge was a finalist in the 2008 Olympics and 2009 World Championships in the 1500 and has incredible range (PRs or 3:29.47 in the 1500 and 12:53.66 in the 5000). Tickets for Saturday’s 38th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held June 2nd 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 track 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.