Eugene, Oregon – The four fastest women sprinters from last year are ready to unleash down a fast track in the Prefontaine Classic 100 meters.
Four gold medalists and three IAAF Diamond League winners bring a collective 18 gold medals and nine Diamond League titles to the Hayward Field track that last year produced four of the world’s top nine performances. The field containing four sub-10.80 sprinters can possibly challenge the only time three have run as fast in the same race since the 2013 Pre Classic, with a wind just above the allowable.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, 29, is on the verge of unseen history. The reigning Olympic and World champion in the women’s 100 meters already owns the most gold medals ever in the women’s 100 meters with five. In the Olympics, the Jamaican record holder can already match Gail Devers and Wyomia Tyus as the only with a pair of 100-meter golds and she is aiming to be the first with three in Rio.
Fraser-Pryce has the most wind-legal sub-10.80 times this century with 12, accumulated in a record five different years, all winning efforts. She won her fourth Diamond League title last year – her record third in this event. Her No. 1 world ranking by Track & Field News last year was also her fourth – the most this century and equal to Jamaican legend Merlene Ottey.
Blessing Okagbare, 27, is the only 100 sprinter to have ranked among the world’s top 10 by T&FN in each of the last five years. The Nigerian is African record holder at 10.79 and owns World Championships medals in the long jump (silver) and 200 (bronze), but seeks her first in the only event she has made every major final since 2011. Her only Olympic medal is a bronze in the long jump dating back to 2008. She ran her fastest-ever time, a wind-aided 10.75, at the 2013 Pre Classic.
Murielle Ahoure, 28, of Cote d’Ivoire was the 2013 World Championships silver medalist in both the 100 and 200. She is a two-time silver medalist in the 60 meters at the World Indoor Championships (2012 & 2014). Ahoure has ranked among the world’s top 10 in each of the last four years and last year was an eyelash behind Fraser-Pryce in the Pre Classic as both ran 10.81, a lifetime best for Ahoure.
Carmelita Jeter, 36, of the U.S. is the world’s second-fastest ever at 10.64. She was ranked No. 1 in the world three straight years (2009-11), the only to do so this century. Jeter is the 2011 World Championships gold medalist and also won silver at the 2012 London Olympics.
She anchored the USA world-record 4×100 team that won gold at the 2012 Olympics. Jeter won first two IAAF Diamond League titles in 2010 and 2011, adding another in the 200 in 2011.
American Tianna Bartoletta, 30, is a world-class sprinter coming off the best season of her career, winning her second World Championships gold medal in the long jump with a lifetime best 23-5½ (7.15). Her explosive power was also notable in the 2012 London Olympics, where she led off the world-record setting U.S. 4×100 team and finished 4th in the 100 in 10.85, still her PR.
Bartoletta is set to attempt a rare double she first completed last year, when she won the Pre Classic long jump (she owns the last two Diamond League titles) and came back the next day against a world-class 100 field.
English Gardner, 24, knows Hayward Field as her former home track, where she won her second NCAA title for Oregon in 2013, when she was also U.S. champion. Last year she won the International 100 at the Pre Classic in a PR 10.84 and a month later finished as runner-up in the U.S. championships, when she clocked a new PR 10.79 in the semifinals. She was a member of the last two U.S. silver-medal winning 4×100 teams, including the leadoff leg last year.
Barbara Pierre, 29, is the reigning gold medalist in the 60 meters from the World Indoor Championships in Portland, a week after winning her second U.S. title. Twice ranked in the world’s top 10 by T&FN, Pierre earned her second and third Pan-American Games medals last year. She has a best of 10.85 and won six NCAA Division II titles while at St. Augustine’s.
Simone Facey, 31, of Jamaica is a former NCAA 200 champ running her fastest 100s since she ran 10.95 at high altitude to win the 2008 Big 12 title for Texas A&M. At 11.00, she is this year’s fourth fastest. Facey led off the Jamaican gold medal-winning 4×100 team at the 2009 World Championships, handing off to Fraser-Pryce.