Olympic 1500-Meter Medalists
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adidas Oregon Track Classic
Reigning Olympic 1500-meter champion Noah Ngeny and bronze medalist Bernard Lagat head to the 2003 adidas Oregon Track Classic with their sights set on sending a message to the world of elite middle distance running.
Kenya's Ngeny claimed a tremendous upset victory over Morocco's Hicham El Gerrouj in the 1500 meter final at the Sydney Games in 2000, while Lagat, also from Kenya, emerged as a genuine championship contender with his breakthrough Olympic run.
Ngeny and Lagat head up one of the deepest 1500-meter fields ever assembled in the U.S., and the roster of international stars should ensure a winning time in the low 3:30s.
"When someone asks 'what is your mile time' and you say 3:50, then people know that's fast," said Lagat, a Washington State graduate and former NCAA champion. "In America, it is not as common to run the 1500, but to run a 3:50 mile is what it will be like to run 3:32 in the 1500 meters at Portland. Look for the excitement to come after 600 meters. And if we get 800 meters in 1:53 or even 1:52, that's when the excitement really gets in there, and everyone will know we're running a good time."
Other beneficiaries of the expected quick tempo in Portland will include Sydney fifth-place finisher Kevin Sullivan of Canada and other perennial world rankers including Laban Rotich (Olympic fourth-place finisher in 1996), David Kiptoo (sixth in the Olympic 800 in 1996) and rising U.S. contenders such as 2000 Olympian Michael Stember and Jason Lunn.
The quality field at the Classic offers up a rare opportunity to see the most-elite of the most-elite among world-class milers gathered in a single race.
"We were talking about the Portland meet, and with all the great athletes coming, we were saying that this is like a Golden League event," said Lagat, referring to the series of six elite invitational competitions that contribute to the biggest prize money purse in the Grand Prix of international track & field. "That kind of field is how it always is in Europe."
Lagat added that the adidas Oregon Track Classic provides Ngeny with the opportunity to set the tone for his 2003 campaign after maintaining a relatively low profile in 2002.
"Noah is very hungry right now," said Lagat. "Everybody has been saying 'Where's Noah? Where's Noah? Where's Noah?' He won the Olympics, but we have not heard a lot about him since then. He's hungry for a big, big race, so watch what he does."
adidas + otc = elite
What is the best way to get up close and personal with the deepest competitive fields and the best track & field athletes in the world? You can go to Paris for the biennial World Championships in August, 2003. You can go to Athens for the Olympic Games in 2004.
Or, you can come to Portland on May 17 (1-4pm), when the adidas Oregon Track Classic (www.oregontrackclassic.com) hosts the most powerful roster of elite international track & field athletes to gather this side of the Atlantic in 2003.
The fan- and athlete-friendly environment at the track & field facility at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham, Ore. creates an intimate scene, with spectators circling the shot put ring, then stepping over to the track to see Olympic-quality fields in such events as the men's 800, men's 1500 and women's 100-meter hurdles.
With substantial support from adidas (www.adidas.com) and other sponsors, the Classic offers a total purse of $126,000 to track & field athletes.
Online ticket information is available at oregontrackclassic.com.
international grand prix gold
The adidas Oregon Track Classic is one of three U.S. meets to earn Grand Prix designation from the IAAF (International Amateur Athletics Federation), along with the Prefontaine Classic (May 24th at Eugene, Ore.) and the U.S. Open (June 7 at Palo Alto, Cal.). Similar to the international Grand Prix of automobile racing, the IAAF Global Athletics ranking system enables athletes to score points at meets all over the world, with extra bonuses provided through successful participation in recognized elite meets such as the Classic.
High scorers earn substantial cash prizes, and the overall Grand Prix winner claims a cash bonus after September's series finale at Monaco. The Grand Prix also features six Golden League meets (Oslo, Paris, Rome, Berlin, Zurich and Brussels), and any athlete who wins the same event at each of the six meets earns a proportional share of a $1 million purse.
The Classic is also a major stop on USA Track & Field's Golden Spike Tour, which affiliates the top Invitational meets in the United States and ensures multiple opportunities for American track & field athletes and fans to come together for elite competition in the United States.
on the air
The adidas Oregon Track Classic puts Portland on the world stage, as the meet will be carried live in the United States on ESPN on May 17, and will also be seen around the world with the cooperation of international broadcast affiliates.
last year at the classic
The 2002 adidas Oregon Track Classic got off to a rousing start as hundreds of fans ringed the shot put facility for one of the top throwing competitions of the season, capped by Adam Nelson's explosive win with a throw of 22.51 meters (73-10.25). He came out on top of a vigorous three-way tussle with Olympic and World Championship medalist John Godina and Kevin Toth, each of whom also broke the 70-foot barrier with their throws.
Over on the track, Team USA's David Krummenacker launched a breakthrough season in the middle distances with a 2:15.97 triumph in the 1000-meter run over Kenya's Japheth Kimutai and William Chirchir, while world record holder Brahim Boulami of Morocco posted the fastest 3000-meter steeplechase time ever seen in the United States. He claimed an 8:04.51 victory over Stephen Cherono of Kenya and Tim Broe of the United States.
Other top marks included Mary Sauer's clearance of 4.62 meters (15-1.75) in the pole vault, a sub-10 performance by Coby Miller in the 100 at 9.98, a narrow win in the mile by Kenya's David Lelei over Oregon native Bryan Berryhill (3:55.49 to 3:55.60), and a closely contested 5K race between Ethiopia's Tirunesh Dibaba (15:13.78), Eugene's Marla Runyan (15:13.96) and fellow American Cheri Kenah (15:14.69).
serving the community
The adidas Oregon Track Classic provides numerous opportunities to serve the local community and promote track & field in the Portland area. In addition to funding substantial enhancements to the facility and equipment at Mt. Hood Community College's stadium, the Classic sets the stage for the Stars & Stripes Track Fair (www.starsandstripestrack.com), which brings U.S. Olympic track & field athletes together with local youth during the morning of the competition. Numerous local business also provide funding and enable local youth groups to attend the meet.
may 17, 2003
online ticket info
apr 16 men's 800
krummenacker on top
apr 23 men's shot put
the titanic trio
apr 30 women's 100
may 7 men's 1500
may 14 men's 100
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