Millrose Games: 5 Really Good Reasons to Tune In on Feb. 16

Red Shannon@@rojosportsFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2013

Millrose Games: 5 Really Good Reasons to Tune In on Feb. 16

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    The 106th Millrose Games, in New York City, are here again.

    Any sporting event prefixed with 106 years of history should rightfully be billed as "must see." But if that in itself is not enough to grab your attention, there's more.

    The Armory's track is arguably the fastest indoor surface in the world.

    Over 40 Olympians sprinkled among the competitors.

    Live coverage on ESPN3 at 7 p.m. Eastern, with a replay on ESPN Sunday, Feb. 17, 7-9 p.m. ET.

    And just in case you still haven't decided to watch, check out five more really good reasons to tune in this Saturday, Feb. 16.

1. The Men's Wanamaker Mile

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    The mile run in particular has enjoyed the spotlight in the 2013 indoor season. And this year's famed Wanamaker Mile promises to deliver yet another memorable race.

    How can it not happen, considering no less than five Olympians will populate its field?

    Matthew Centrowitz, 1500-meter bronze medalist at the 2011 World Championships, is just now coming into his own on the global scene. He will be gunning for a new personal best.

    Fellow Olympians Donn Cabral, Ryan Gregson, Ciaran O'Lionaird and Lopez Lamong will give the race an international feel.

    And hungry youngsters Robby Andrews and Lawi Lalang will ensure a brisk pace.

    This is always the premier event at Millrose, and the Wanamaker alone is worth...well, the price of your monthly cable bill.

2. The Women's Wanamaker Mile

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    This field is filled with world-class talent.

    In addition to the top two, six of the top-20 indoor milers in the world are entered.

    But make no mistake, 16-year-old high school phenom Mary Cain is the one who makes this race so tantalizing. She'll be looking to break her freshly-minted national high school record of 4:32.78.

    However, she was not placed in the Wanamaker Mile simply as a novelty. She is No. 7 on that top-20 list.

    Olympian Sheila Reid and Sarah Brown—No. 1 and No. 2 in the world—will be favored, but any one of the following (including Cain) could challenge: Olympians Emma Coburn (crossing over from steeplechase) and Hilary Stellingwerff, or collegians Jordan Hasay and Emily Infeld.

    If ever a race was loaded, this is it.

3. Men's 60-Meter Hurdles

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    The 60-meter hurdles is a bittersweet experience.

    Sweet because the speed, precision and execution is a thing of beauty.

    Bitter because the speed, precision and execution brings it to an end all too quickly.

    Nevertheless, two Olympic silver medalists and a handful of rivals will do their best to sweeten your day in less than eight seconds.

    World champion and Olympic silver medalist Jason Richardson headlines the event, with double-world champion and Olympic silver medalist (in the decathlon) Trey Hardee making a surprise appearance.

    Jeff Porter and Jamaican Andrew Riley should coax Richardson to an impressive finish.

    In the wake of Aries Merritt's unbelievable outdoor world record (12.80), every other elite hurdler is pushing to stay relevant in 2013.

    Expect something special.

4. Women's Pole Vault

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    Bragging rights are at stake here.

    Less than a week ago, Holly Bleasdale of Great Britain nudged past American record holder and Olympic champion Jenn Suhr's world-leading height by a silly centimeter (4.77m).

    So with that motivation, and knowing that vault queen Yelena Isinbayeva (Russia) is in seclusion somewhere in outer Siberia, Suhr no doubt wants to make a statement.

    But there are other vaulters, also in the world's top 20, who are eager to climb closer to the top. These include Americans Kylie Hutson and Mary Saxer, as well as Ekaterini Stefanidi of Greece.

    And for good measure, Millrose brought in the ageless sentimental favorite, Olympian Becky Holliday—who can still vault with the best of them, by the way.

    Expect a new world leader after Saturday night.

5. Men's 600-Meter Dash

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    The 600 meters is an uncommon distance to run. Halfway between the 400 and 800, logic tells us it would favor the 800 runner over the 400 runner.

    Using that logic, it seems safe to say the race will boil down to the two great American rivals and 800 specialists, Nick Symmonds and Duane Solomon, both sub-1:43 runners at 800 meters. Solomon, fresh off his new American record in the 600 (1:15.70), will not easily relinquish "his" event.

    But with five of the six entrants being experienced Olympians, a safe bet could be as elusive as a Sahara snowstorm.

    Kevin Borlee, Julius Mutekanga, Jarrin Solomon and Michael Rutt round out the field.

    This three-lapper should prove to be a fast-paced thriller.

    Are you ready?

    Click here to see the complete Millrose Games entry lists.

    Rojofact: At the 1962 Millrose Games, U.S. Marine John Uelses, using the newly-developed fiberglass pole, became the first pole vaulter to clear 16 feet (4.88 meters). The world record is now just over 20 feet.