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Prefontaine Classic Preview: Liu Xiang vs. David Oliver

Red ShannonFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2011

Several sources are now reporting the imminent re-match of one of the most exciting rivalries in track and field—and no, we're not talking Usain Bolt vs.Tyson Gay.

That particular head-to-head may not materialize until the 100m or 200m finals in Deagu at the World Championships in August.

We are talking East vs. West, China vs. USA, Liu Xiang vs. David Oliver in the 110m hurdles in this Saturday's Prefontaine Classic/Diamond League meet at Eugene, Oregon's Hayward Field.

Two weeks ago in Shanghai, Liu handed Oliver his first defeat in 18 straight meets. And considering Oliver's total dominance in 2010, that was quite a feat.

Liu is on the comeback trail following his heartbreaking injury in the early rounds of the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. He has been experimenting with a new seven-step approach to the first hurdle and it produced a world-leading 13.07 in Shanghai.

Oliver, the American record-holder (12.89), will be motivated to redeem himself on the same track, in the same meet in which he clocked a scorching 12.90 last year.

The official 110m hurdles start list has been released, and the field will be loaded, in true Prefontaine Classic tradition. Former University of Oregon decathlete Ashton Eaton will be one of the featured runners.

(Update - June 4, 2011: Oliver led from the start and won in a world's best 12.94. Liu was right behind in 13.0 and seemed very pleased with his time. Eaton finished fifth with a new PR of 13.35).

The Pre meet is recognized as the premier one-day international track meet on American soil and every event will be stocked with Olympic-caliber athletes.

Go to the Prefontaine Classic site to see the latest entry lists.

NBC will have live coverage beginning at 11:30 am Pacific time on Saturday, June 4.

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