Allyson Felix wins the 400m from Sanya Richards-Ross at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Eugene (© Kirby Lee)
Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards-Ross are among USA’s most decorated athletes and their road to more Olympic gold begins at the Prefontaine Classic when they contest the 400m at the IAAF Diamond League meeting on 28 May.
Seven of the women in the field have at least one major gold medal and seven have run sub-50.
Felix will this year be aiming for a rare 200m-400m Olympic double, but she is no stranger to Olympic history. In 2012 she became the first woman since 1988 to win three gold medals in one Games after winning the 200m and both relays.
Before winning the world title last year in a PB of 49.26, she won the 400m in Eugene with Richards-Ross finishing second.
Richards-Ross holds the North American 400m record and is the only US woman with two outdoor senior global titles in this event. The 30-year-old, who recently announced that 2016 would be her final season, has run faster than 50 seconds on 49 occasions, more than any other woman in history, and has won the 400m on five occasions at the Prefontaine Classic.
Shaunae Miller is this year’s early world leader at 49.69. The time was just 0.02 off her personal best, set when taking the silver medal at last year’s World Championships. The 22-year-old won the world junior title in 2010 and the world youth title in 2011.
USA’s 2014 world indoor champion Francena McCorory won the 400m Diamond Race last year. The 27-year-old is also the Olympic champion in the 4x400m.
Three-time national champion Natasha Hastings has represented the US at the past five World Championships. Like Miller, Hastings is a former winner of the world youth and world junior titles.
Commonwealth champion Stephenie Ann McPherson was part of Jamaica’s triumphant 4x400m team at last year’s World Championships and has finished in the top five at three global championships.
Quanera Hayes is one of USA’s most exciting sprint prospects. The 22-year-old won the US indoor 400m title with a PB of 51.09 last month and then went on to take bronze at the IAAF World Indoor Championships Portland 2016. More recently, she set PBs at all sprint distances within the space of a week, clocking 49.91 at her specialist distance.
Ashley Spencer shared the podium with Hayes at both the US Indoor Championships and the World Indoor Championships, taking the silver medal each time. The 2012 world junior champion set her 400m PB of 50.28 at Hayward Field in 2013 and recently improved her 400m hurdles best to 54.70.
Organisers for the IAAF
2016 IAAF Diamond League calendar
6 May – Doha, QAT
14 May – Shanghai, CHN
22 May – Rabat, MAR
28 May – Eugene, USA
2 Jun – Rome, ITA
5 Jun – Birmingham, GBR
9 Jun – Oslo, NOR
16 Jun – Stockholm, SWE
15 Jul – Monaco, MON
22-23 Jul – London, GBR
25 Aug – Lausanne, SUI
27 Aug – Paris, FRA
1 Sep – Zurich, SUI
9 Sep – Brussels, BEL