Fastest Woman Alive, Elaine Thompson-Herah and Jasmine Camacho-Quinn lead a cast of Twelve Olympic Gold Medalists declared for the Puerto Rico Athletics Classic on the 12th of May.
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The Puerto Rico Athletics Classic has joined the Puma American Track League and looks to be the highest caliber global meet of the 2022 season to date. On the 12th of May, dozens of World and Olympic medalists will be competing at an expected sold-out crowd at Francisco Montaner Stadium.
The main draw of the meet will, of course, be Puerto Rico’s own, Jasmine Camacho-Quinn. The Olympic Champion and current World leader will not have an easy race on her hands. She will face the current 2nd fastest in the World in the American prodigy Tonea Marshall, who ran 12.36 seconds last month in a wind-aided race. Also challenging Camacho-Quinn will be former World Champion Danielle Williams of Jamaica, currently the 7th fastest in the World, as well as Jasmine’s own training partner and current World 5th fastest, Tia Jones. More talent rounds out the field with American Indoor Record Holder Sharika Nelvis and World Indoor Silver Medalist Christina Clemons.
Camacho-Quinn, who suffered her first loss last week when she crashed out at the first hurdle at Drake Relays, is looking forward to getting redemption competing on home soil. “I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity to race in front of my people,” said Camacho-Quinn. “Victor Lopez and the American Track League have put together an Olympic caliber field right here in Puerto Rico, and I can’t wait to put on a show for the home crowd.”
The legendary Elaine Thompson-Herah, considered the greatest sprinter of all time with 5 Olympic titles and still only 29 years old, will be leading the field in the 100m. Her double gold in Tokyo blew the World away with times thought to be unattainable. Thompson-Herah World Leading times in 2021 of 10.54 for 100m and 21.53 for 200m were the fastest times run since Florence Griffith-Joyner 34 years ago. The challenge for Elaine will come from a deep field of sprinters. Most notably, the current World leader and 2021 NCAA double champion, Cambrea Sturgis. Sturgis is coming off a personal best 10.87 run last month in North Carolina.
The men’s sprint hurdle race is also expected to be a star-studded event with the pair of Jamaican Olympic gold medalists battling in a very strong field. Tokyo Gold Medalist, Hansle Parchment looks to maintain his title over his compatriot, Omar McLeod, the 2016 Olympic Champ. The top American challenge will come from the most recent sub-13 runner, Devon Allen. Allen, who was just off the podium in Tokyo, ran 12.99 to cap the season in 2021 after having won the Diamond League title. Allen recently signed to play receiver in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles, but he delays his entry to the NFL training camp to focus first on the track season.
Another event boasting the last two Olympic Gold Medalists will be the Women’s Pole Vault featuring Tokyo champion Katie Nageotte. Nageotte’s challenge will come from the 2016 Gold Medalist, Katerina Stefanidi. Despite the last two Olympic Gold medalists being present, perhaps the true favorite for the event is recently crowned World Indoor Champion Sandi Morris. Morris, who also has an Olympic Silver from 2016 as well as two Silvers at the last two World Outdoor Championships, has the highest personal best in the field with 5.00m. Something only three women in history have ever achieved.
Other stars that will be on display in Ponce will be the double Olympic Champion and World Record Holder Ryan Crouser in the Shot Put. Crouser has been virtually unbeatable since 2019, with his only defeat coming at this year’s World Indoor Championships. In 2021 he broke the World Record both indoors and outdoors and looks to possibly repeat that feat in Ponce.
Double Olympic Champ and 4-time World Champion Christian Taylor will be making his return to the triple jump after 2021 Achilles surgery. Taylor will be challenged by his compatriot and long time competitor Will Claye, himself a 3-time Olympic medalist.
World and Olympic Champion over 400m Steven Gardiner will be dropping down to the 300m and chasing the World Record held by the legendary Michael Johnson.
Caribbean legend Kirani James of Grenada, a triple Olympic medalist in the 400m, will be contesting his primary event, where he expects to be challenged by another Olympic Gold Medalist, Emmanuel Korir. Korir, the 800m gold medalist from Tokyo, has strong credentials in the 400m as well, with an impressive personal best of 44.21.
On the women’s side in the 400m, another Olympic Champion toes the line. Athing Mu, the 800m Olympic Champion, will step down to the 400m to work on her speed. Mu boasts a personal best of 49.57 for 400m and is the NCAA record holder in the event. This will be her first-ever 400m in a professional race.
The fastest event of the night, the men’s 100m, will have more than 10 men that have run under the 10-second barrier, led by 2021’s fastest man, Trayvon Bromell. Bromell’s 9.76 that he ran in 2021 in the final race of the season showed what potential he has to be the best of the best in the World.
Bromell started off the season just as fast this year, running a slightly wind-aided 9.75 just last week in Jacksonville. The biggest challenges to Bromell will come from training partner Marvin Bracy who holds the Puma American Track League record with his 9.85 run in Memphis last year. Also on hand is multiple Olympic medalist and former World Champion Yohan Blake from Jamaica.
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