It will be gold vs. gold when the world’s best take the starting blocks in the women’s 100 meters at the Prefontaine Classic.
Tori Bowie won the World Championships gold last year, but Rio gold medalist Elaine Thompson rebounded to win her second overall IAAF Diamond League Trophy. They have met three times in the 100, Thompson owning a career 2-1 edge.
It doesn’t end there – the titanic clash includes the world’s top 6, including the only two who doubled back to earn 200-meter medals in last year’s World Championships. The field includes five of the six 100 or 200 medalists from last year’s World Championships (the lone missing will be running in the star-studded 400).
World 100 champ Tori Bowie, 27, is the 200 queen at the Pre Classic, and the 3-time winner is itching for her first win in the 100 on the same track where she set her PR of 10.78 to make the Olympic team en route to a Rio silver medal. She anchored the last two gold-medal-winning U.S. 4×1 teams at London and Rio.
In the 200 Bowie won her first Pre Classic from lane 1 in 2014 with a PR 22.18, then again in 2016 with a better lane in a PR 21.99. Last year, she won the world’s fastest 200 in a Pre Classic record 21.77.
Jamaican Elaine Thompson, 25, is the only woman since Florence Griffith Joyner in 1988 to win Olympic gold in the 100 and 200 meters in the same year, claiming both in Rio. Last year she came up with a combination of illness and a bad Achilles at the worst time possible – London’s World Championships, finishing 5th in the 100 and not even starting the 200.
Thompson was last year’s fastest in the 100 at 10.71, just short of the Jamaican record 10.70 she shares with Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce. She is starting the year conservatively and on Saturday won the Jamaican International 100 in 11.06.
Europe’s best sprinter is Dafne Schippers, 25, of the Netherlands. She repeated in London as World Championships 200 gold medalist, again after earlier winning a 100 medal – silver in 2015, bronze last year in the shorter distance. She was the 2016 Diamond League winner in the 200.
Schippers is without a doubt the most versatile athlete in the field, owning a heptathlon PR of 6545 points and a 2013 World Championships bronze medal before giving up the event to concentrate solely on the sprints.
Marie-Josée Ta Lou, 29, is this year’s early 100 world leader at 10.85, a time that matched her silver-medal time from London last year, as well as in 2016 when her 4th just missed the Rio podium.
While Ta Lou doesn’t own the Cote d’Ivoire national 100 record, she does at 200. Again in the London Worlds, Ta Lou shaved off Rio bitterness, when her time was the same as the bronze medalist but far from the podium. She responded with silver in London and this year added another silver in the 60 at the World Indoors.
World Indoor 60 gold medalist Murielle Ahouré, 30, is also from Cote d’Ivoire and owns the national 100 record of 10.78. She won the gold in March after a pair of silvers. Ahouré finished 2nd or 3rd in the last three Pre Classic 100s and was a double silver medalist in the 2013 Moscow Worlds. The two-time Olympian is a former NCAA Indoor 200 champ at Miami (2009).
Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor, 29, of Nigeria is running her fastest ever, including a Texas Relays 100 win (10.72w) and an African record 22.04 in the 200 earlier in Texas. The eight-time NCAA champion from UTEP also has a pair of long jump silver medals – 2013 Worlds and 2008 Olympics.
Dina Asher-Smith, 22, will be returning to Hayward Field for the first time since winning World Junior 100 gold for Great Britain in 2014. She is now the outright British record holder in the 100 and 200, where she has made the World/Olympic finals every year since 2015.
American Javianne Oliver, 23, won the U.S. title indoors at 60 meters and was runner-up in the 2017 NCAA 60 for Kentucky. Earlier this spring, she rocketed to a wind-aided 100 time of 11.04 in the Tennessee Relays.
Women’s 100 Meters Personal Best
Elaine Thompson (Jamaica) 10.70
Tori Bowie (USA) 10.78
Murielle Ahoure Ahouré (Côte d’Ivoire) 10.78
Blessing Okagbare-Ighoteguonor (Nigeria) 10.79
Dafne Schippers (Netherlands) 10.81
Marie-Josée Ta Lou (Côte d’Ivoire) 10.85
Dina Asher-Smith (Great Britain) 10.99
Javianne Oliver (USA) 11.16
Fans can follow the event lineups as all announced fields are posted at PreClassic.com. The direct link to current start/entry lists is HERE and will include updates to all announced fields.
Tickets for the 44th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 25-26 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available at www.ticketmaster.com, as well as at 1-800-WEBFOOT and the Autzen Stadium ticket window. 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 seven 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 18 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.