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Pre Classic features gold medalists galore in world champs preview; TV, stream schedule

Elaine Thompson-Herah

EUGENE, OREGON - AUGUST 21: Elaine Thompson-Herah of Jamaica celebrates winning the 100m race during the Wanda Diamond League Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field on August 21, 2021 in Eugene, Oregon. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

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Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, will be the home of track and field this season, starting with this weekend’s Prefontaine Classic, the world’s top annual track and field meet.

The Diamond League competition airs live on NBC Sports on Saturday -- CNBC from 4-4:30 p.m. ET, NBC from 4:30-6 and all of it streaming on, the NBC Sports app and Peacock.

This year’s fields include 15 individual Olympic gold medalists, all of whom are bidding to return to Hayward later this summer for the USATF Outdoor Championships in June and/or the first world championships to be held in the U.S. in July.

Events start Friday on USATF.TV including U.S. Championships in the men’s and women’s 10,000m, where world championships spots are at stake. Those are followed by world-record attempts in the women’s two mile and 5000m and men’s 5000m.

Among the headliners: Jamaican Elaine Thompson-Herah, who swept the 100m and 200m golds at the last two Olympics and at last year’s Pre Classic ran the second-fastest 100m in history, five hundredths off Florence Griffith-Joyner‘s world record.

Thompson-Herah could take another crack at the record against a 100m field including Sha’Carri Richardson, who won the U.S. Olympic Trials, then was disqualified for testing positive for marijuana and missed the Tokyo Games.

World records are also under threat in the men’s pole vault (Swede Mondo Duplantis) and shot put (American Ryan Crouser). Winners of several events, including the women’s 100m hurdles and 3000m steeplechase, will likely become favorites for the world championships.

Here are the Pre Classic entry lists. Here’s the schedule of events (all times Eastern):

10 p.m. -- Men’s Pole Vault
10:05 -- Women’s High Jump
10:30 -- Women’s 10,000m (U.S. Championships)
11:15 -- Men’s 10,000m (U.S. Championships)
11:46 -- Women’s Discus
11:55 -- Women’s 2 Mile
12:12 a.m. -- Women’s 5000m
12:35 -- Men’s 5000m

3:29 p.m. -- Men’s 1500m
3:33 -- Women’s Long Jump
3:41 -- Women’s Para 100m T63
3:49 -- Men’s Para 400m T62
4:04 -- Men’s 400m Hurdles
4:10 -- Men’s 5000m
4:33 -- Women’s 100m
4:43 -- Women’s 100m Hurdles
4:49 -- Women’s 1500m
5 -- Men’s 400m
5:04 -- Men’s Shot Put
5:06 -- Women’s 800m
5:14 -- Women’s 3000m Steeplechase
5:33 -- Women’s 200m
5:39 -- Men’s Mile
5:52 -- Men’s 100m

Here are eight events to watch (statistics via and World Athletics):

Men’s Pole Vault -- Friday, 10 p.m. ET
Every time Mondo Duplantis competes, the world record is under threat. He broke the overall record four times since the start of 2020 (all indoors) and also broke Sergey Bubka‘s outdoor record in 2020. At Pre, Duplantis could be pushed by fellow Olympic medalists Frenchman Renaud Lavillenie and American Chris Nilsen.

Men’s 10,000m -- Friday, 11:15 p.m. ET
Top three qualify for July’s world championships if they have the standard of 27:28. The top five from last year’s U.S. Olympic Trials are entered, led by Olympians Grant Fisher (fifth in Tokyo), Woody Kincaid (15th) and Joe Klecker (16th). The field also includes two-time Olympian Lopez Lomong and fellow veteran Ben True, a two-time world championships runner who also finished fourth, fifth and sixth in Olympic Trials races.

Women’s 100m -- Saturday, 4:33 p.m. ET
Thompson-Herah has run 10.89, 10.93 and 10.94 this season, so challenging Flo-Jo’s world record of 10.49 might be a bit too much to ask this early in the campaign. The better chance may be at worlds in July. She will still be a favorite here given primary rival, countrywoman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, is racing the 200m instead. Richardson is ranked 57th in the world over the last nine months with a best time of 11.14. She raced last Saturday for the first time since September. Her work is cut out against Thompson-Herah, plus Brit Dina Asher-Smith and Jamaican Shericka Jackson.

Women’s 100m Hurdles -- Saturday, 4:43 p.m. ET
Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn of Puerto Rico. World champions Nia Ali (in her first Diamond League since her 2019 World title and 2021 childbirth) and Danielle Williams of Jamaica. World-record holder Keni Harrison. Camacho-Quinn, undefeated in 2021 aside from one DQ, has a DNF and a runner-up in her last two races.

Men’s Shot Put -- Saturday, 5:04 p.m. ET
All three Olympic medalists, led by American Ryan Crouser, the two-time Olympic gold medalist and world-record holder. Crouser broke the world record in Eugene last year at the Olympic Trials. At March’s world indoor championships, he was defeated for the first time since 2019. The man who bettered him, Brazilian Darlan Romani, was in the Pre field but withdrew.

Women’s 3000m Steeplechase -- Saturday, 5:14 p.m. ET
Three of the five fastest women in history. Plus Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai, who lowered her national record by 6.89 seconds for a stunning Olympic title. American Emma Coburn, the 2017 World champion, races her first steeple since the Olympic final, where she fell over a barrier while out of contention on the final lap, crossed the finish line 14th and was later disqualified for stepping off the track amid the stumble. Courtney Frerichs, the Olympic silver medalist who lowered her American record at Pre last year, races her first steeple since last summer, too.

Men’s Mile -- Saturday, 5:39 p.m. ET
Field has the reigning Olympic champion (Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway) and the reigning world champion (Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya). But the world’s fastest man this year is Kenyan Abel Kipsang, who was fourth at the Olympics and won the first two Diamond League 1500m races this season. Matthew Centrowitz, the 2016 Olympic champion, was originally in the field to make his 2022 debut but withdrew with a knee injury. Centrowitz hopes to return soon, his agent said Tuesday.

Men’s 100m -- Saturday, 5:52 p.m. ET
Field took a hit with surprise Olympic gold medalist Marcell Jacobs’ injury withdrawal. Still includes Christian Coleman in his biggest race since winning the 2019 World title, after which he missed the Olympics due to a ban for missing drug tests. Trayvon Bromell, the world’s fastest man last year, replaced Jacobs in the field. Plus Erriyon Knighton, the 18-year-old 200m phenom who could become the first high schooler to break 10 seconds.

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