Eugene, Oregon – Get ready to fly. Olympic pole vault gold medalist Renaud Lavillenie is ready to take the Prefontaine Classic to new heights.
Lavillenie, the 2012 Olympic gold medalist, will make his first-ever trip to Hayward Field to compete in the 39th annual Prefontaine Classic on June 1st. Joining him will be silver medalist Bjorn Otto and bronze medalist Raphael Holzdeppe, giving the Eugene Samsung Diamond League meet a clean sweep of the London medal winners.
Lavillenie is the dominant vaulter on the planet. He owns a best of 19-9.5 (6.03) and has been ranked No. 1 in the world the last three years by Track & Field News, a streak last recorded by the legendary world record holder Sergey Bubka, who did it seven times (1991-97). At only 26 years of age, Lavillenie expects his best years are still to come, and vault experts consider him the best bet to join Bubka as the only men to clear 20-feet in the event.
Otto is another member of the 6-meter club (19-8.25 / 6.01). At 35 years old, the German is the oldest vaulter in the Pre field. Countryman Raphael Holzdeppe, just 23, was a 2008 Olympian at age 19 and has a best of 19-4.75 (5.91). For Lavillienie, Otto, and Holzdeppe, this will be their first visit to historic Hayward Field.
The only Pre Classic entrant familiar with the Eugene facility is American record holder Brad Walker, a 2-time Olympian. Three of Walker’s most memorable jumps came at Hayward Field, including his victories at the 2012 U.S Olympic Trials and 2009 U.S. national championships. But Walker still relishes his clearance of 19-9.75 (6.04) at the 2008 Pre Classic, the American record that still stands. It also still stands as the Pre Classic and Hayward Field records, as well as the highest that anyone has ever vaulted in the U.S.
Three additional world-ranked Olympians are confirmed for the Pre Classic field – Malte Mohr of Germany, Steve Lewis of Great Britain, and Konstantinos Filippidis of Greece Mohr was ranked No. 3 in the world by Track & Field News for 2012, while Lewis was ranked No. 4, and Filippidis No. 6. In the All-Athletics.com rankings, which include 2013 marks, the Pre Classic field boasts the Nos. 1-2-3-4-5-6-7 ranked athletes in the world.
Men’s Pole Vault
Renaud Lavillenie (France)
Bjorn Otto (Germany)
Raphael Holzdeppe (Germany)
Malte Mohr (Germany)
Steve Lewis (Great Britain)
Konstantinos Filippidis (Greece)
Brad Walker (USA)