Eugene, Oregon – Renaud Lavillenie should have his own runway. The dominating pole vault world record holder and Olympic gold medalist is returning to the Prefontaine Classic.
The 41st Pre Classic, a member of the IAAF Diamond League of elite international track & field meets, will be held May 29-30 at the historic Hayward Field.
Renaud Lavillenie has a rendezvous with the Pre Classic on May 30th. But this one is no secret. He is the only 5-time Diamond Race winner in any event and reigns as the Men’s Athlete of the Year by Track & Field News. His fourth European Indoor title this month in Prague gives him twice as many as any other in the event.
His stature in the pole vault is legendary – he has been ranked No. 1 in the world every year since 2010 by T&FN, a streak of years exceeded only by former world record holders Sergey Bubka of Ukraine and American Bob Richards, the event’s only 2-time Olympic gold medalist.
Lavillenie, who has set Diamond League meet records in 11 of the circuit’s 14 meets, achieved the U.S. all-comers record – 19-6¼ (5.95) – in his first Pre Classic victory in 2013. If he’d like to scale over 6 meters (19-8¼), Hayward Field is welcome territory – it is the only American site with more than one such clearance.
Only an injury and countback on misses has kept Lavillenie from a major international gold since the London Olympics. Konstantinos Filippidis of Greece won gold when Lavillenie was sidelined with an injury at last year’s World Indoor Championships. Raphael Holzdeppe of Germany won the 2013 World Championships gold as Lavillenie also cleared the same height.
Sam Kendricks is the newly crowned U.S. indoor champion. He has twice won in Eugene, taking the NCAA crowns for Mississippi in 2013 and ’14. He also has a gold from the 2013 World University Games.
More world-class talent is part of the Pre Classic field, which consists of nothing but 19-footers:
- Piotr Lisek, 22, has equaled the best-ever from Poland. He has flown higher than former world record holder Wladyslaw Kozakiewicz (the last WR setter before Bubka or anyone from France).
- Aleksandr Gripich, 28, is fresh off his best at the European Indoor Championships, earning silver. His next best effort (also over 19 feet) was achieved winning the Russian title in February.
- Augusto Dutra, 24, is aiming for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. As a Brazilian, he can call it home. In 2013, he became the first from his country to make the T&FN world rankings in this event.
|Men’s Pole Vault||Personal Best|
|Renaud Lavillenie (France)||20-2½||(6.16)|
|Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany)||19-4¾||(5.91)|
|Piotr Lisek (Poland)||19-4¼||(5.90)|
|Sam Kendricks (USA)||19-2¾||(5.86)|
|Aleksandr Gripich (Russia)||19-2¼||(5.85)|
|Konstantinos Filippidis (Greece)||19-1½||(5.83)|
|Augusto Dutra (Brazil)||19-1||(5.82)|
Fans can follow the event lineups as all announced fields are posted at PreClassic.com. The direct link to current start/entry lists is HERE and will include updates to all announced fields.
Tickets for the 41st annual edition of the Prefontaine Classic, to be held May 29-30 at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., are available now from goducks.com and from 1-800-WEBFOOT. Sponsored by NIKE continuously since 1984, the Prefontaine Classic will be shown live to an international audience and by NBC Sports from 1:30 till 3:00 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 30.
The Prefontaine Classic is the longest-running outdoor invitational track & field meet in America and is part of the elite IAAF Diamond League of meets held worldwide annually. The Pre Classic’s results score has rated No. 1 or No. 2 in the world in each of the last four years by All-Athletics.com, the official data partner of the IAAF Diamond League.
Steve Prefontaine is a legend in the sport of track & field and is the most inspirational distance runner in American history. He set a national high school 2-mile record (8:41.5) while at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay, Oregon, that is the fastest ever in a National Federation-sanctioned race. While competing for the University of Oregon, he won national cross country championships (3) and outdoor track 3-Mile/5000-meter championships (4), and never lost a collegiate track race at any distance. As a collegiate junior, he made the 1972 U.S. Olympic Team and nearly won an Olympic medal, finishing 4th in the 5K at the 1972 Munich Olympics, at age 22. After finishing college in 1973 and preparing for a return to the Olympics in 1976, he continued to improve, setting many American records. His life ended tragically on May 30, 1975, the result of an auto accident, at age 24. The Pre Classic began that year and has been held every year since.