Eugene, Oregon – The men’s 110-meter hurdle field gives the Prefontaine Classic all the ingredients needed for another thrilling race as the heat is turning up in preparation for the Rio Olympics.
The world record holder, reigning Olympic gold medalist, and five of the six IAAF Diamond League winners are included, and a newcomer adds a dash of excitement sure to spice things up.
Omar McLeod, 22, of Jamaica is the hottest men’s hurdler on the planet. He won his first gold medal at the World Indoor Championships in March, then opened up his outdoor campaign with a 9.99 100-meter win – the first known race of his career at the distance, making him history’s only man under both the 10-second and 13-second barriers.
The former Arkansas star has won all of his three starts this outdoor season – Drake Relays and the Diamond League meets at Doha and Shanghai, the latter just a tick from his 12.97 PR.
The amazing Aries Merritt, 30, is returning from a kidney transplant surgery just days after winning a bronze medal at last year’s World Championships in Beijing. In 2012, he ended a 16-year U.S. Olympic gold medal drought by winning the London Olympics, and a month later became the first American since Roger Kingdom in 1989 to claim the world record, clocking 12.80 to win the IAAF Diamond League title.
France’s Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, 24, has won the last two Pre Classic titles in this event. He was the toast of the world in 2014, winning the Diamond League title at age 22. Martinot-Lagarde’s 12.95 in 2014 made France just the second nation with more than one sub-13 high hurdler. Martinot-Lagarde finished just out of the medals in last year’s Beijing World Championships.
American David Oliver, 34, is a three-time winner of the Diamond League – 2010, 2013, and 2015. He was ranked No. 2 in the world last year by T&FN, his 11th straight year in the top 10. Oliver is a two-time Pre Classic winner, and his 2010 victory in 12.90 is still the meet record.
Hansle Parchment, 25, is the Jamaican record holder and the first from his nation to run sub-13. He was second to Martinot-Lagarde in 2014 after posting a stunning 2013 Pre Classic victory. He was 22 when he earned the Olympic bronze medal in 2012, the first Olympic medal for Jamaica in this event.
American Jarret Eaton, 26, is in the midst of his best year ever. A former NCAA Indoor champion while at Syracuse, Eaton won his first U.S. title indoors in Portland in March, then missed a medal by 0.02 seconds at the World Indoor Championships, also in Portland. Last week he lowered his PR to 13.25, scoring victory at the Golden Spikes meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Jeff Porter, 30, runnerup to Eaton in the Ostrava race, has proven to be one of the most consistent American hurdlers, ranking in the U.S. top 10 by Track & Field News the past 5 years. A 2012 Olympian, Porter hopes to catch lightning in a bottle once again for Rio.
Johnathan Cabral, 23, is well known in Eugene, runner-up for Oregon in the NCAA last year in a wind-aided 13.22. He ran a legal best 13.37 in the semis at at the World Championships in Beijing last summer, nearly making the final. This year he improved to 13.35 with a win at the Mt. SAC Relays in April.
|Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles||Personal Best|
|Aries Merritt (USA)||12.80|
|David Oliver (USA)||12.89|
|Hansle Parchment (Jamaica)||12.94|
|Pascal Martinot-Lagarde (France)||12.95|
|Omar McLeod (Jamaica)||12.97|
|Jeff Porter (USA)||13.08|
|Jarret Eaton (USA)||13.25|
|Johnathan Cabral (Canada)||13.35|