Big tests for Tyson Gay, Morgan Uceny at Crystal Palace
LONDON -- Many of the world's top track and field are in town for the Aviva London Grand Prix. The meeting will be the final tune-up for many of them prior to coming back to London for the Olympic Games in three weeks. The manner in which they compete will give pundits much to scrutinize, debate and speculate out. Below are a few headlines for this weekend's meet.
Gay looks to continue winning ways
Tyson Gay pulled off a come-from-behind victory against American rival Justin Gatlin in Paris. With Asafa Powell a late scratch due to injury, Gay will face a slighter weaker field that includes U.S. Olympic teammate Ryan Bailey, always formidable Jamaicans Michael Frater and Nesta Carter and British Trials champion (and notorious f-bomb dropper) Dwain Chambers.
American 1500 meter women test themselves
Morgan Uceny, Shannon Rowbury and Jenny Simpson, all three of the U.S. 1500 meter Olympians, will be in the field to take on a strong metric mile field. Their chief competitors are likely to be Brits Lisa Dobriskey (4:02 in Paris) and Hannah England (not raced since getting injured in Hengelo) as well as the always formidable Maryam Jamal. The race likely won't produce the 3:56 time that we saw in Paris but word is the rabbit has been asked to run 4:00 pace. A fit Uceny is the favorite with a sub-four minute clocking in her capabilities.
U.S. high hurdlers face off against world #1 Liu Xiang
The men's 110 meter hurdles was one of the most impressive events of the U.S. Trials as Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson both shattered the 13 second barrier for the first time and established themselves as favorites for Olympic medals. On Friday they will face off against the favorite for Olympic gold, China's Liu Xiang. Liu hasn't raced since his wind-aided 12.87 mark at the Prefontaine Classic but he's traditionally needed few races prior to his race efforts.
World's best women's 100 meter sprinters
Three of the Olympic gold medal favorites will get in the blocks at Crystal Palace. Carmelita Jeter had a few up-and-down races prior to the Olympic Trials but brought her 'A' game to Eugene, winning the 100 meters and finishing second in the 200 meters. U.S. Trials runner-up Tianna Madison always gets a great start and is always dangerous as a result. Beijing Olympic champ Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce started her 2012 campaign slowly but has been on fire of late. She won the New York Diamond League race against a top notch field that included Jeter and Madison and went on to win both the 100 and 200 meters at the Jamaican Trials.
Old school vs. new school in men's mile
The historic Emsley Carr mile will see the older generation of milers attempt to maintain their superiority against a younger group hungry to unseat them. World silver medalist Silas Kiplagat emerged one the scene in the summer of 2010 and is now a contender for Olympic gold. He leads a group of young Kenyans that include Caleb Ndiku and Bethwell Birgen. The Aussie contingent of Ryan Gregson and Jeff Riseley shouldn't be counted out either.
Bernard Lagat's best miling days might be past him but he's still got good leg turnover that makes him dangerous when it comes to the four-lap distance. Lagat beat a field of 1500 meter specialists back at the New York Diamond League in a time of 3:34. Nick Willis, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist, is by no means content with his achievement of four years ago. He's as fit as ever and looking to find himself a spot higher on the Olympic podium.
Then there's Leo Manzano, the defending Crystal Palace champion. He has been a pro since 2008 but he's still too young to be considered old school. Regardless, the Olympic Trials champ is coming off a 1:46 800 meter win in France and has never finished lower than third place in any race in Britain. That bodes well not only for Saturday's race but also for another meet that takes place in London in a few weeks.
Men's 5000 Meters
The men's 5000 will feature the Olympic favorite at home, Mo Farah. Check out our full men's 5k preview here.