American record holder Christian Taylor’s road to a second Olympic gold medal in the triple jump faces a major test at the Prefontaine Classic, which features a unique clash of five gold medalists and a reunion with three college alumni.
The Pre Classic’s triple jump runway will see four former University of Florida jumpers fuel an intense rivalry – all have been world ranked No. 3 or better by Track & Field News in the last two years. It will also be the first meeting on U.S. soil of the four triple jumpers who own the nine longest efforts at Hayward Field, home of the upcoming U.S. Olympic Trials.
Christian Taylor, 25, is at the top of all but one major triple jump list. His best of 59-9 (18.21) earned a second World Championships gold medal in Beijing last summer and was just 3¼ inches from Jonathan Edwards’ 20-year-old world record of 60-¼ (18.29). Taylor finished the season with his fourth T&FN No. 1 world ranking and fourth IAAF Diamond League trophy – all in the last five years.
Omar Craddock, 24, led a 1-2-3 finish of Florida triple jumpers in last year’s U.S. championships at Hayward Field with a lifetime best of 57-6¼ (17.53). It was his third U.S. triple jump title, the most by a Florida jumper. He was in line for a bronze medal at last year’s World Championships until the final round, settling for 4th. Craddock finished the season ranked No. 3 in the world by T&FN.
Will Claye, 24, owns the Hayward Field record with his 57-11¼ (17.66) victory at the 2014 Pre Classic. He already can claim the most Olympic medals of anyone in the field with his triple jump silver and long jump bronze from London in 2012. Claye has the most wind-legal 57-foot jumps at Hayward Field (6) and has not finished lower than second (long jump or triple jump) on this runway since 2013.
Marquis Dendy, 23, is set for his Pre Classic debut, but he already has had incredible success on this runway – winning all of his five outdoor NCAA or U.S. titles at Hayward Field, including his wind-legal best of 57-5 (17.50). He was ranked No. 2 in the world in the long jump by T&FN last year and won The Bowerman Award as the nation’s top collegiate male athlete. His 2016 campaign already includes a long jump gold medal at the World Indoor Championships with the year’s longest jump.
France’s Teddy Tamgho, 26, is the indoor World Record holder and won the 2013 World Championships gold medal at 59-2¼ (18.04), making him one of history’s five members of the 59-foot club. Twice ranked No. 1 in the world by T&FN (2010 & ’13), he also won gold at the 2010 World Indoor Championships.
Benjamin Compaore, 28, is also from France and preceded Tamgho as World Junior gold medalist in 2006 (Tamgho won in 2008). Compaore is the reigning European champion and his best of 57-4¼ (17.48) to win the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup is his country’s best since Tamgho’s 2013 effort.
China’s Bin Dong, 27, is the newly-crowned World Indoor champion and has a best of 57-1½ (17.41). His gold-medal jump of 56-10¼ (17.33) at Portland is the best by a Chinese jumper outside of his homeland.
Alexis Copello, 30, of Cuba is set to make his U.S. debut. He earned bronze at the 2009 World Championships and has ranked as high as No. 2 in the world by T&FN (2010).
Men’s Triple Jump Personal Best
Christian Taylor (USA) 59-9 (18.21)
Teddy Tamgho (France) 59-2¼ (18.04)
Will Claye (USA) 58-3 (17.75)
Alexis Copello (Cuba) 58-¼ (17.68)
Omar Craddock (USA) 57-6¼ (17.53)
Marquis Dendy (USA) 57-5 (17.50)
Benjamin Compaore (France) 57-4¼ (17.48)
Bin Dong (China) 57-1½ (17.41)
Fans can follow the event lineups on eugene.diamondleague.com. The direct link to current start/entry lists is posted HERE and will include updates to all announced fields. Additional news, photos, and videos may be found on PreClassic.com, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Tickets for the 42nd annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 27-28 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now at www.GoDucks.com as well as from 1-800-WEBFOOT.
The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has rated No. 1 or No. 2 in the world in each of the last five years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the Diamond League. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and by NBC and NBC Sports Network.
Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is the most inspirational distance runner in American history. He set a national high school 2-mile record (8:41.5) while at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon, that is the fastest ever in a National Federation-sanctioned race. While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-Mile/5000-meter championships (4), 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 21. 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 that year and has been held every year since.