Olympic Dreams on the Line: Prefontaine Classic’s Jaw-Dropping Showdowns Await

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– Prefontaine Classic: Elite track event in Eugene, Oregon.

– Selection event for Athletics Kenya 10,000m Olympic teams.

– Notable athletes include Beatrice Chebet, Daniel Simiu Ebenyo.

– Absence of Athing Mu due to hamstring injury.

– Olympic qualifying standards: Women’s 10,000m (30:40), Men’s 10,000m (27:00).

The Diamond League circuit will finally arrive stateside for the 2024 Prefontaine Classic this weekend. On Saturday, May 25, the best track and field athletes from around the world will descend on Eugene, Oregon, for a must-see competition that could set the stage for many Olympic matchups this summer.

Between the highly anticipated season opener of Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen, a 10,000-meter world record attempt from Gudaf Tsegay, and the return of world champion Sha’Carri Richardson to her signature event, the Prefontaine Classic will bring nonstop action to Hayward Field. 

The meet, however, will not feature 800-meter star Athing Mu, who scratched with a hamstring injury.

Here’s everything you need to know about this year’s meet.

The Prefontaine Classic will host the selection events for this year’s Athletics Kenya 10,000m teams, the meet announced today.

The women’s 10,000m will now compete at 10:50 a.m. Pacific time with the addition of Kenya’s top talent in the distance vying to make the team for this year’s Paris Olympic Games. The women’s field is expected to include 2023 world outdoor bronze medalist Beatrice Chebet, who is currently ranked No. 2 globally in the 5,000m and is a two-time world cross country champion; Emmaculate Achol, who placed fourth at the 2024 world cross country championships; and Grace Loibach Nawowuna, who is currently ranked eighth in the world over 10,000m and has a personal best of 29:47.42 over the distance. The Olympic qualifying standard for the women’s 10,000m is 30:40.

The men’s 10,000m will be added to the meet’s program at 12:05 p.m. Pacific time. Those expected to make the field include Daniel Simiu Ebenyo, the 2023 world outdoor silver medalist currently ranked No. 1 in the world over 10,000m; Samwel Chebolei, who has a personal best of 27:10.06 in the event; and Benson Kiplangat, the 2021 world U20 champion and 2024 world cross country bronze medalist. The Olympic qualifying standard for the men’s 10,000m is 27:00.

“We are thrilled that Athletics Kenya has once again chosen The Prefontaine Classic to host the selection event for their 10,000m Olympic team,” said Pre Classic co-Meeting Director Jody Smith. “Pre Classic is committed to bringing the world’s best athletes, and the world’s best athletics competitions, to Hayward Field. Hosting the selection event for such a prestigious team is fully aligned with that commitment.”

Here are the main Kenyan players to watch for:

  • Beatrice Chebet: Chebet has not run a 10,000 on the track since 2020, but she is the clear favorite here after running 14:05 last summer and winning her second straight World XC title in March.
  • Agnes Ngetich: Was 6th at Worlds last year and ran a world record of 28:46 on the roads in January, but was beaten by four Kenyans at World XC in March.
  • Lilian Rengeruk: Has never run a 10,000 on the track but has made three Kenyan teams in the 5,000 and took silver at World XC this year.
  • Margaret Kipkemboi: 2022 Worlds bronze medalist was also the bronze medalist at World XC in March.
  • Emmaculate Anyango: Ran 28:57 on the roads in January but has been trending down since then. 4th at World XC (but 4th Kenyan) and beaten convincingly by Rengeruk in Bengaluru 10K on April 28.
  • Grace Nawowuna: Ran 29:47 on the track last year and was 9th at Worlds, but just got smoked in the Doha 5,000 on May 10.

Speaking of stars, 2024 Prefontaine is full of them. Sha’Carri Richardson. Grant Holloway. Elle St. Pierre. Rai Benjamin. And those are just the big-name individuals. Could we interest you in Erriyon Knighton v Letsile Tebogo in the 200? How about Keely Hodgkinson v Mary Moraa in the 800? (Athing Mu was meant to be in there too but has scratched with hamstring soreness). The Bowerman Mile is so packed with stars and storylines (Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Josh Kerr, Jake Wightman, Yared Nuguse…) that we have pumped out a separate Olympic-sized preview for just that race.

Women’s 10,000 (1:50 p.m. ET): Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay Goes For Sub-29:00 In The Kenyan Olympic Trials

Initially this was billed as a world record attempt from Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, who set the 5,000 world record in her last appearance at Pre in September. Now it is doubling as the Kenyan Olympic trials for the 10,000 meters. Kenya has done this before  Prefontaine also hosted the Kenyan men’s trials in 2012 and it makes sense to hold a trials race at sea level. But the rollout process has not gone as smoothly as 12 years ago. Back in 2012, Pre announced it would host the Kenyan trials back on March 15. This time, it did not make the announcement until May 19 six days before the race.

Meet schedule (p.m. ET)

1:50—Women’s 10,000 meters (Kenya Olympic Trials)

3:05—Men’s 10,000 meters (Kenya Olympic Trials)

4:04—Men’s 400-meter hurdles

4:12—Men’s 100 meters

4:15—Women’s triple jump

4:18—Women’s 5,000 meters

4:41—Women’s 100-meter hurdles

4:50—Men’s 110-meter hurdles

4:57—Women’s 1500 meters

5:09—Women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase

5:12—Men’s shot put

5:27—Men’s 200 meters

5:34—Women’s 800 meters

5:42—Women’s 100 meters

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