Yohan Blake on his way to victory at the 2012 IAAF Diamond League meeting in New York (© Victah Sailer)
A pair of Olympic gold medallists and two world champions are the first headliners to be announced for the adidas Grand Prix on 14 June, one of two US legs of the IAAF Diamond League.
Now in its 10th year, the adidas Grand Prix has hosted two world records and 15 national records in its first nine years, and its fans have had the privilege of witnessing almost a dozen performances that were the fastest ever recorded on US soil.
Yohan Blake, the 2011 world 100m champion from Jamaica, returns to Icahn Stadium after missing much of the 2013 season with an injury. Blake, a winner here at 100m in 2012, later that year earned silver medals in both the 100m and 200m at the London Olympics as well as gold in the 4x100m.
The 24-year-old, who is also known as ‘The Beast’, is tied as the second-fastest man in history at 100m with 9.69, ranked only behind training partner Usain Bolt.
“After not being able to run in New York City last year, I can't wait to get into my blocks,” said Blake. “The opportunity to compete against international athletes in front of New York’s Caribbean community just gets my adrenaline pumping.”
Making his US debut will be Bohdan Bondarenko of Ukraine, the reigning world champion in the high jump. Bondarenko, 24, twice last season jumped 2.41m, the highest outdoor clearance in the world since 1994, and has already taken several attempts at the world record of 2.45m.
The 2013 IAAF Diamond Race winner, Bondarenko won 14 of his 15 competitions last year and was named the men’s European Athlete of the Year.
Olympic champion Jenn Suhr has dominated US women’s pole vaulting for almost a decade. Last year, Suhr broke the world indoor record when she jumped 5.02m. At 32, she owns 14 national titles and the 13 highest jumps in US history.
Suhr returns to the adidas Grand Prix for the seventh time with an American record, set in 2007, among her five victories here.
Rounding out the star-studded international quartet is Sally Pearson of Australia, the Olympic 100m hurdles champion. The 27-year-old is also the 2011 world champion and 2012 world indoor champion, and in 2011 was honoured as the IAAF Female Athlete of the Year.
Organisers for the IAAF
2014 IAAF Diamond League
Doha, QAT – 9 May
Shanghai, CHN – 18 May
Eugene, USA – 31 May
Rome, ITA – 5 Jun
Oslo, NOR – 11 Jun
New York, USA – 14 Jun
Lausanne, SUI – 3 Jul
Paris, FRA – 5 Jul
Glasgow, GBR – 11-12 Jul
Monaco, MON – 18 Jul
Stockholm, SWE – 21 Aug
Birmingham, GBR – 24 Aug
Zurich, SUI – 28 Aug
Brussels, BEL – 5 Sep