A packed women’s javelin field is the best in Prefontaine Classic history.
World record holder Barbora Spotakova is one of all three Rio Olympic medalists slated to compete among a list full of Olympians, including the six best in the world as rated by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the IAAF Diamond League. The seventh entrant is the reigning world champion, Katharina Molitor, and the eighth is reserved for the leading American.
Barbora Spotakova, 35, of the Czech Republic is considered the world’s best in many ways. The world record holder at 237-2 (72.28) since 2008, she owns the most Olympic medals in this event with three, led by golds in 2008 and 2012 before a bronze last summer in Rio. She has claimed four of the event’s seven IAAF Diamond League trophies. And her No. 1 world ranking last year by Track & Field News was her eighth, equal to the most with East Germany’s Ruth Fuchs, the only other two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Spotakova is no stranger to Eugene, competing in all but one Pre Classic featuring her event since winning in 2007. She only missed in 2013 due to a maternity break (son Janek) and the only season since 2005 when she did not win a major world medal.
A versatile athlete, Spotakova first made notice as a heptathlete with a 4thplace in the World Junior Championships in 2000 and an All-American award during her only season as a U.S. collegian (2002 at Minnesota). After that, the javelins began to sail and she made her first of four Olympics in 2004.
Also a four-time Olympian, Sunette Viljoen, 34, was silver medalist at Rio and the only thrower to make the T&FN world rankings in each of the last eight seasons – the last seven in the top 5. The South African star earned World Championships bronze medals in 2015 and 2011. Viljoen has been the African record holder since 2003 when she threw 202-0 (61.59) at age 20. Her PR of 227-6 (69.35) is the best-ever on U.S. soil, set at the 2012 New York Diamond League meet.
Sara Kolak, 21, was the surprise Olympic gold medalist in Rio. Eugene fans remember her from 2014 when she captured bronze at the World Junior Championships at Hayward Field. She missed the 2015 season but in 2016 won her second Croatian national title and a European bronze. But no one foresaw her massive improvement in Rio – a staggering best by almost 9 feet to 217-1 (66.18). Kolak has begun 2017 with her second best ever throw, 214-0 (65.23) in February.
Madara Palameika won last year’s Diamond League trophy and like Spotakova will be competing in her fifth Pre Classic. The 29-year-old Latvian is currently rated No. 1 by All-Athletics.com as she seeks her sixth World Championships team and first major medal in London this summer. She has owned the Latvian record since she was 22 in 2009, topped by her 217-1 (66.18) to win the Diamond League final last year in Brussels.
Tatsiana Khaladovich won the European Championships gold last summer in Amsterdam, was 5th in the tight Rio Olympics and ranked No. 2 in the world by T&FN. All-Athletics.com also has her at No. 2 in the world. The 25-year-old Belarusian’s best effort remains her victory in Amsterdam at 217-8 (66.34), but she has already twice achieved her second best of 216-2 (65.88) – the farthest in the world so far this year–in February.
Germany’s Katharina Molitor, 33, is the defending world champion, winning Beijing gold with her PR 222-1 (67.69) in 2015. She missed a chance at a third-straight Olympics in August and will be making her first Pre Classic appearance.
Kathryn Mitchell, 34, is a two-Olympic finalist who will be making her first Pre Classic appearance. The Australian’s Rio finish of 6th was the Olympic best for her country since Louise McPaul won silver in 1996.
The 8th position in this incredible field will go to the American throwing best this spring.
|Women’s Javelin||Personal Best|
|Barbora Spotakova (Czech Republic)||237-2||(72.28)|
|Sunette Viljoen (South Africa)||227-6||(69.35)|
|Katharina Molitor (Germany)||222-1||(67.69)|
|Tatsiana Khaladovich (Belarus)||217-8||(66.34)|
|Sara Kolak (Croatia)||217-1||(66.18)|
|Madara Palameika (Latvia)||217-1||(66.18)|
|Kathryn Mitchell (Australia)||216-10||(66.10)|
Tickets for the 43rd annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 26-27 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now at www.GoDucks.com as well as from 1-800-WEBFOOT. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience by NBC.
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 six years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the Diamond League.
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.