New York, USA – Recently crowned World Indoor champion Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica and American sprinter Allyson Felix are among the 18 Olympic and World champions and four IAAF Diamond League Ambassadors added to the line-up of athletes slated to compete at the adidas Grand Prix on Saturday, 12 June. The adidas Grand Prix, held at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, will be the fifth stop on the inaugural 14-meet, international IAAF Diamond League circuit.
In addition to Allyson Felix in the women’s 200 metres, other IAAF Diamond League Ambassadors added to the field include Norway’s Andreas Thorkildsen and Finland’s Tero Pitkämäki in the men’s Javelin Throw and Valerie Vili of New Zealand in the women’s Shot Put.
The other two ambassadors already announced for the New York meeting are Jamaican sprint sensation Usain Bolt and Australian Pole Vault king Steve Hooker. A total of 32 Olympians from 16 different countries have been announced.
200m: Two-time Olympic champion vs three-time World champion
Campbell-Brown and Felix will meet at 200m for the first time on U.S. soil. The two have raced eight times at the distance with Felix holding the 6-2 advantage. However, both of Campbell-Brown’s victories came in Olympic finals.
“New York is one of those cities you just love to compete in; after all, it is the ‘world capital,’” Campbell-Brown said. “I especially love the world-renowned Jamaican track fans that are always in attendance.”
Campbell-Brown, 27, made headlines recently with her victory in the women’s 60m dash at the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Doha in early March. It was her first World Indoor title and her first major championship title since earning gold at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Campbell-Brown is a four-time Olympic medallist—including two individual golds in the 200m—and a seven-time World Championship medallist.
Felix, 24, of Santa Clarita, Calif., won Olympic gold in 2008 in the 4x400m and is a two-time Olympic 200m silver medallist. She is the reigning three-time World champion at 200m. One of 14 official IAAF Diamond League ambassadors, Felix will open her Diamond League season in Doha on 14 May.
Also lining up for the women’s 200m are Americans Carmelita Jeter and Marshevet Myers (née Hooker). Jeter, 30, of Gardena, Calif., is known for her prowess at 100m distance as the reigning two-time World outdoor bronze medallist and as the second-fastest woman ever over 100m (10.64 seconds). She last raced at 200m in May 2009. Myers, 25, of Grand Prairie, Texas, was a 2008 Olympic finalist at 200m.
Intriguing match-ups are expected for each event in this year’s edition of the adidas Grand Prix:
The men’s Javelin Throw will pit Thorkildsen vs. Pitkämäki – two-time Olympic champion and 2009 World champion vs. Olympic bronze medallist and 2007 World champion – as both compete for the first time in the United States. Thorkildsen, 28, has established himself as one of the most accomplished javelin throwers in history, while Pitkämäki, 27, has proved himself a worthy competitor. The two will first go head-to-head in Diamond League competition in Oslo on June 4.
Olympic silver medallist Richard Thompson, 24, of Trinidad and Tobago, will face off against Bolt, the reigning Olympic champion and World record holder, and his previously announced Caribbean training partners Yohan Blake (JAM) and Daniel Bailey (ANT) in the 100m, the marquee men’s event. Thompson, who competed for Louisiana State University, was the 2008 NCAA 100m champion.
In the men’s 1500m, Ethiopian middle distance star Deresse Mekonnen, 22, the reigning two-time World Indoor champion and 2009 World championship silver medallist, will once again compete against previously announced American distance star Bernard Lagat. The two raced over 1500m in Birmingham in February, and Mekonnen notched the eighth-fastest time in history (3:33.10), making him the fifth-fastest performer of all time.
Javier Culson, from Puerto Rico, will clash against American Olympic bronze medallist Bershawn Jackson in the men’s 400m Hurdles. Culson, 25, is on fire after running a world leading and national record time of 47.72 at the Ponce Grand Prix on May 8. Jackson, 27, of Champaign, Ill., owns the third-fastest time in the world this year (48.36). Both finished on the podium at the 2009 World Championships, with Culson claiming the silver medal and Jackson earning bronze. Jackson was the 2005 World champion in this event.
Brimin Kipruto and Paul Kipsiele Koech, both Kenyan Olympic medallists, will renew their rivalry in the 3000m Steeplechase. Kipruto, 24, won Olympic gold in 2008 and the World title in 2007. Koech, 28, was the 2004 Olympic bronze medallist and was ranked No. 1 in the world from 2007-08. He was the 2008 Reebok Grand Prix champion in this event, winning in 8:01.85, the fastest time ever on U.S. soil.
In the men’s Triple Jump, recent World Indoor champion Teddy Tamgho of France will compete against two-time U.S. Olympian Walter Davis. Tamgho, 20, set a new World Indoor record of 17.90m in winning his first World title in Doha in March. Davis, 30, of Baton Rouge, La., was the 2005 World champion and 2006 World Indoor champion in this event.
South Africa’s Mbulaeni Mulaudzi, 29, is the top entrant in the men’s 800m. He is the reigning 2009 World champion and 2004 Olympic silver medallist at 800m.
The women’s 1500m is stacked from top-to-bottom with all three medallists from the 2009 World Championships – reigning champion Maryam Yusuf Jamal of Bahrain, silver medallist Lisa Dobriskey of Great Britain and bronze medallist Shannon Rowbury of the United States – in addition to 2008 World Indoor champion Gelete Burka of Ethiopia and American Olympic finalist Anna Pierce (née Willard). Jamal, 25, set the Asian Indoor record in the Mile at Birmingham in February and had the fastest time in the world last year over 1500m (3:56.55). Dobriskey, 26, was the 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist at 1500m. Rowbury, 25, of San Francisco, finished seventh in the 1500m at the 2008 Olympic Games, the best finish ever by an American woman. Burka, 24, was the bronze medallist at the 2010 World Indoor Championships. Pierce, 26, of Mammoth Lakes, Calif., was the fastest American at 1500m in 2009 and was ranked No. 2 in the world at 800m.
The women’s 100m Hurdles is packed with talent, as 2008 Olympic champion Dawn Harper will line-up against Sweden’s Susanna Kallur and previously announced American Lolo Jones and Jamaican Delloreen Ennis-London. Harper, 26, of Los Angeles, Calif., won Olympic gold when Jones, the top-ranked American in 2008, tripped on the ninth hurdle in the Olympic final. Kallur, 29, was the 2006 European champion and is the current World record holder at 60m Hurdles indoors.
The women’s field events will be a championship affair, with Vili, the Olympic and World champion, headlining the Shot Put; and American Chelsea Johnson taking on previously announced Jenn Suhr (née Stuczynski) in the Pole Vault.
Vili, 25, has dominated the international scene from 2007-09 and is a two-time World outdoor champion. Johnson, 26, of Atascadero, Calif., was the 2009 World Championship silver medallist.
IAAF Diamond League