Reigning Wanda Diamond League champion Michael Cherry will take on compatriot and 2019 winner Michael Norman in a clash of the champions in the men’s 400m at the third meeting of the season in Eugene on May 28th.
Cherry, who picked up wins in Brussels and Zurich on his way to a first career Diamond Trophy last season, secured a gold medal alongside Norman in the 4x400m relay at last year’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Yet the two Americans will go head to head on home soil at the Prefontaine Classic, with Norman looking this year to win back the Diamond Trophy he lost to Cherry in 2021.
Norman won the 400m at the Prefontaine Classic in Stanford on his way to the title in 2019 and will be hoping to recreate that performance at Hayward Field in May. Since becoming a professional in 2019, he has lowered his 400m personal best to 43.45, the fourth fastest time ever run, and has represented Team USA at the World Athletics Championships in Doha and the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
After winning the Olympic Trials last summer, he would go on to finish fifth in Olympic 400m finals and be a part of the gold-medal men’s 4x400m relay team. Heading into the Pre Classic this year, Norman might give Michael Johnson’s meet record of 43.92 a good scare.
Norman and Cherry will be joined by 400m specialist Kirani James. Originally from Gouyave, Grenada, James has medalled in every Olympic Games he has competed in. He won gold in London, silver in Rio, and bronze at last summer’s Toyko games. His lifetime best of 43.74 seconds is eleventh on the all-time list. James has also won the Pre Classic 400m three times in his career; 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Also competing are Americans Vernon Norwood, Wil London, and Bryce Deadmon, who have all been a part of a U.S. relay team at either the World Championships in Doha (London, Norwood) or the Olympics in Tokyo (Norwood, Deadmon). Jereem Richards, the World Indoor Championship gold medalist from Belgrade, rounds out the field.
There is an equally scintillating line-up in the men’s 400m hurdles, with Olympic silver and bronze medallists Rai Benjamin and Alison Dos Santos heading a field which includes six national record holders.
The line-up will also feature Tokyo Olympic finalists Kyron McMaster (4th), Abderrahman Samba (5th), Yasmani Copello (6th), Rasmus Magi (7th), and Alessandro Sibilio (8th). McMaster, Copello and Magi all broke their national records in the Olympic finals last year, with Samba, the Qatari national record holder, still running a season’s best in the race. Rounding out the lineup are Olympic semi-finalist Kenny Selmon and the World Indoor 400m bronze medallist Carl Bengtström.