A dream men’s pole vault tops the first field announced for the 2019 Prefontaine Classic, which also brings the IAAF Diamond League to California for the first time.
It is not a dream. Every active member of the 6-meter (19-8¼) club is prepared to vault, including the world record holder, the last two Olympic gold medalists, and every Diamond League winner ever and every No. 1 world ranker by Track & Field News since 2010.
American Sam Kendricks, 26, is the reigning world champion, winning the first major vault gold for the U.S. since 2007. In 2018 he repeated as the world’s No. 1 in the T&FN world rankings, the first American vaulter to be back-to-back No. 1 since Bob Seagren in 1968-69. In ’17 he won the Diamond League title, ending a 7-year streak by Renaud Lavillenie.
Kendricks earned Olympic bronze in Rio – the first Olympic vault medal by an American since 2004. It also made him the youngest American Olympic medalist since Jan Johnson’s bronze in 1972 at age 21. He has won every U.S. championship he’s entered and is the two-time defending Prefontaine Classic champ.
The highest vault in the world last year came from Mondo Duplantis as an 18-year-old who won the European Championships at 19-10¼ (6.05). That clearance also equaled the highest outdoor vault since the turn of century, which came at the 2015 Pre Classic. As a 17-year-old, Mondo became the youngest-ever male vault finalist at the London World Championships, competing for mom Helena’s Sweden.
Now 19, Mondo has torn into the collegiate records as a freshman at LSU, raising the collegiate standard to 19-5 (5.92) en route to winning the 2019 NCAA Indoor title. Mondo’s dad, Greg, won the 1992 Pre Classic.
Renaud Lavillenie, 32, won last year’s World Indoor Championships, the most recent of his achievements as one of the event’s best ever. The 4-time Pre Classic champ is the world record holder (20-2½/6.16) and owner of the best outdoor vault in America, 19-10¼/6.05, set at the 2015 Pre Classic.
Known on social networks as Air Lavillenie, his appearances in the U.S. are always special. At last year’s Texas Relays he topped a field that saw three over 19-5 (5.92) for the only time on U.S. soil besides the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Timur Morgunov, 22, is the newest member of the 6-meter club, joining minutes after Mondo at last year’s European Championships in Berlin. While Mondo climbed a bar higher that day, Morgunov showed he had more in the tank, winning the Diamond League Trophy a month later. This will be his first competition in the U.S.
Brazil’s Thiago Braz, 25, won the 2016 Olympic gold, becoming the first from his country to claim Olympic track gold since 1984, when Joaquim Cruz won the 800 in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Poland’s Piotr Lisek, 26, was ranked No. 2 in the world in 2017 by T&FN and earned the 2017 World Championships silver medalist after a bronze in in 2015. He won the February indoor gathering in France at Clermont-Ferrand, a vault favorite hosted by Lavillenie.
Shawn Barber is Canada’s only member of the 6-meter club. He won the 2015 World Championships in Beijing as a 20-year-old. Born in Texas, Barber won three NCAA titles while at the University of Akron.
|Men’s Pole Vault||Personal Best|
|Renaud Lavillenie (France)||20-2½||(6.16)|
|Mondo Duplantis (Sweden)||19-10¼||(6.05)|
|Thiago Braz (Brazil)||19-9¼||(6.03)|
|Shawn Barber (Canada)||19-8¼||(6.00)|
|Sam Kendricks (USA)||19-8¼||(6.00)|
|Piotr Lisek (Poland)||19-8¼||(6.00)|
|Timur Morgunov (ANA)||19-8¼||(6.00)|
Tickets for the 45th annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held June 30 at Cobb Track & Angell Field in Stanford, Calif., are available now by clicking here or at gostanford.com/tickets.
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 eight years. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Pre Classic will be shown live to an international audience by NBC.
Stanford University has a proud track & field tradition that dates back to 1893. In addition to its 922 All-America honors, 64 Olympians, and four NCAA team titles, Stanford has played host to important meets throughout its history, including the 1941 NCAA Championships, 1932 and 1960 U.S. Olympic Trials, and the epic 1962 USA-USSR dual that has been described as “the greatest track meet of all time.” After the facility was renovated in 1996, Cobb Track & Angell Field has been the site of the 2002 and ’03 U.S. Championships and is annually home to the Payton Jordan Invitational, the nation’s premier distance running carnival.
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.