Posted by: Joe English | June 5, 2009

Track and Field — Olympians return to Eugene for Prefontaine Classic

running-advice-bugEUGENE, OR — Bernard Lagat, Sanya Richards, Stephanie Brown Trafton, LaShawn Merritt and Nick Symmonds will lead many of the world’s top athletes Sunday at the 2009 Nike Prefontaine Classic at historic Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene.

The fifth event of the 2009 USA Track & Field Outdoor Visa Championship Series, the Nike Prefontaine Classic will be televised live Sunday on NBC from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Double 2007 World Champion Lagat leads 3,000m field
American 1,500m record holder Bernard Lagat, who became the first man ever to win both the 1,500m and 5,000m at the same World Championships two years ago in Osaka, Japan, will lead a strong field in the men’s 3,000 meters. Lagat, who won the 2-mile at the Nike Prefontaine Classic last year, will be challenged by fellow American and 2008 Olympic 5,000m finalist Matt Tegenkamp, who finished fourth at the 2007 World Championships in Osaka. Favorites include 2008 Olympic 5,000m silver medalist Eluid Kipchoge and Moses Masai, who ended the 2008 season ranked #5 in the world at 5,000m. Both are from Kenya.

Symmonds, Smith & Robinson face world’s best in Nike men’s 800 meters
In one of the most unforgettable moments ever on the fabled Hayward Field track, local favorite Nick Symmonds won the 800m men’s final at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team for the first time in his career. Symmonds was joined on the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team by fellow Eugene-based Oregon Track Club member Christian Smith, who dove across the finish line just ahead of 2004 Olympian Khadevis Robinson for the third and final spot on the Team USA 800m roster for Beijing. Smith’s time of 1:45.47 bettered the Olympic A qualifying standard, which officially punched his ticket to Beijing.

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