London 2012: 5 Sizzling Showings at Prefontaine Classic Suggest Great Olympics
The Prefontaine Classic served as a preview for London this weekend, and it gave track fans tons to look forward to.
Many of the world's best athletes came to Eugene, Oreg. to test themselves in preparation for the Olympics this summer, and fans were not disappointed. Great performances were seen on both the men's and women's sides.
If the Prefontaine is any indication of the competition in London, we will be in for a good show.
Here are five athletes from the Prefontaine who will shine in the 2012 Olympics.
Abubaker Kaki (Men's 800m)
Abubaker Kaki of Sudan ran a 1:43.71 in the 800m this weekend, winning the race over some stiff competition.
Kaki competed in Beijing in 2008, but was unable to make it out of the semi-final heats. Stil, Kaki has shown promise and has won at other major meets, including the 2008 World Junior Championships and the 2010 World Indoor Championships.
At the Prefontaine, Kaki edged out Ethiopian Mohamed Aman by 0.03 seconds to take first in the event. American Nick Symmonds ran his best time this year with a 1:44.32, which is also the fastest time by an American this year.
The 800m was an exciting race at the Prefontaine, and world leader David Ridusha of Kenya wasn't even on the track. It will be a race to watch come London.
Liu Xiang (Men's 110m Hurdles)
With the aid of wind in Oregon, Liu Xiang tied the world record in the 110m Hurdles this weekend.
Liu won the gold in this event in 2004 in Athens, but withdrew due to injury in Beijing. The injury caused him to miss the World Championships the next year, but Liu seems to be back and better than ever.
The Chinese hurdler had an impressive 0.131 reaction time in the race and defeated 2011 world champion Jason Richardson of the U.S. by .09 seconds.
The defending Olympic and World Champions will duel it out in London in what will be an exciting race.
Sanya Richards-Ross (Women's 400m)
Sanya Richards-Ross posted a world best 49.39 this weekend at the Prefontaine in a competitive women's 400m.
Richards-Ross won bronze in the event in 2008, but took the gold at both the 2009 World Championship and the 2012 Indoor World Championships.
The American beat the previous world leader, Jamaican Noviene Williams-Mills, who finished third.
Out of the eight runners in Eugene, seven set new season bests at the Prefontaine, a sign that the field is improving. As the runners improve, so will the competition for Richards-Ross, making for an exciting and interesting race for fans in London.
Lashawn Merritt (Men's 400m)
Lashawn Merritt couldn't beat his season best time in Eugene, but he still managed to win the 400m.
The American is looking to defend his gold medal in London and will have some difficulty against the world's best.
Merritt has dominated this event since 2008, but has seen some competition recently from 19-year-old Kirani James of Grenada. James won the World Championship in 2011 in the 400m and is only improving.
Unfortunately for the fans, James was disqualified from the race in the Prefontaine due to a false start. With time left before London, James should be able to fix any issues to give his best race in the Olympics.
Merritt will need to improve on his time from Eugene if he wants to beat the young James. The matchup between the veteran and the youngster will be fun to watch in London.
Mo Farah (Men's 5000m)
Mo Farah defeated the best time this year after recording a 12:56.98 in the Prefontaine Classic.
Farah was disappointing in Beijing when he failed to reach the 5000m final, but he has since been impressive. In 2011 Farah took home the gold in the World Championships.
In Eugene, the British runner set a meet record while capturing the world's best time from Kenyan Vincent Kiprop Chepkok by more than two seconds.
Farah will be fun to watch in London as the hometown crowd will surely motivate the distance runner.
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