2023 Prefontaine Classic

Faith Kipyegon, Shericka Jackson Headline Women's Diamond League Final

Faith Kipyegon, Shericka Jackson Headline Women's Diamond League Final

Thirteen world champions will look to keep their momentum going in the final Diamond League draw of the year, the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene.

Sep 14, 2023 by Maxx Bradley
Faith Kipyegon, Shericka Jackson Headline Women's Diamond League Final

Thirteen Diamond League meetings have taken place all over the globe, from Stockholm to Doha, over the last five months. 

As the outdoor season progressed, athletes gradually collected points to secure their place in the top eight in the standings, securing their ticket to Eugene.

For the first time since the Diamond League’s inception in 2010, there has never been a final hosted on U.S. soil, until this weekend when the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene welcomes over a dozen world champions to conclude the outdoor season in Oregon. 

In the 16 women’s disciplines at the Prefontaine Classic, all but one will include its respective world champion. 

The only event where the 2023 gold medalist won’t be competing in is the 5,000m, and that’s simply because world record holder, Faith Kipyegonis already racing the 1,500m on Saturday.

There are plenty of key storylines that will be encompassing the two-day “winner-takes-all” championship weekend. In fact, winners of their Diamond League finals will earn $30,000 in payouts. 

Moraa v. Hodgkinson v. Mu

For the first time in a long time, the Olympic and 2022 World champion Athing Mu was not the first athlete to cross the finish line in an international final. 

Instead, it was 23-year-old Mary Moraa of Kenya who capped off what had been a tremendous summer build-up with her first world championship in August. Great Britain's Keely Hodgkinson earned silver for the third year in a row, while the defending champ Mu took bronze. 

To everyone's surprise, all three medalists from Budapest will clash one final time this season at the Diamond League final, with Mu being wild carded into the final after entry lists were released Tuesday evening. Neither of the three have raced since they last squared off, but each of the young superstars have pleaded their case as to why they could each stop the clock in Eugene. 

Moraa held both off in Budapest, while Hodgkinson has consistently been right there with the other two over the last two years. For Mu, no one has run faster than her since she broke the American record in 2021, and with vengeance in her mind -- and the crowd on her side -- she could finally end her season on her terms.

Richardson & Jackson Back Again

Sha'Carri Richardson, the U.S. and World 100 meter champion, and Jamaica's Shericka Jackson stole the show in their primary events in Budapest, and now they get one last chance to race the clock, this time on Richardson's home turf. 

In each of the pair's most recent trips to Eugene, both left with what they came for. For Richardson, she earned a U.S. title in the 100m in June and booked her spot in the 200m field. Jackson, on the other hand, won her first 200m world title when she ran 21.45 last year, which at the time was the second-fastest time in world history. 

Richardson is only competing in the 100m this time around. We would imagine it that she would love nothing more than to keep the momentum going. But both Jackson and two-time defending Olympic gold medalist Elaine Thompson-Herah aren't going down without a fight. 

In the 200m, Jackson will double back from the 100m the day before. She might have her eyes set on the long standing world record of 21.34, which was set by Florence Griffith-Joyner in 1988. Jackson has repeatedly been asked about the record in recent years. She knows that's the mark to beat, and won't say anything else about it. 

She nearly nabbed it in Budapest, running the second fastest time of all-time in 21.41. She'll already have Marie-Josée Ta Lou, the African record holder pushing her, and with a favorable tailwind, Jackson may have what she needs to make history. 

Kipyegon vs The Clock

Three world records and a world title have made this a summer to remember for Kenyan superstar Faith Kipyegon. The Prefontaine Classic is another opportunity for more history. After completing the 1,500m/5,000m double in Budapest, Kipyegon is back for more, this time with a possible fifth Diamond League crown on the line. The last time Kipyegon made her way to Eugene, she walked away with a world title. In fact, she's raced so well in TrackTown USA that she hasn't taken a loss there since 2015. On Saturday, she'll have plenty of fast company, including Ethiopia's Diribe Welteji, who won silver last month. The rest of the field is made up of 10 other women who have all ran sub-four this season. 

Moon & Kennedy Pole Vault Finale

In the World Championships, Australian Nina Kennedy and American Katie Moon both walked away with a world title after agreeing to call it even. That came after a laboring competition that saw each athlete seeing attempts in the double-digits, with Kennedy jumping 12 times and Moon jumping 11. For anyone questioning the decision, Moon simply pointed to her attempts -- and the danger that arises on fatigued legs for pole vaulters. 

The pair met again just over a week later at the Weltklasse Diamond League meeting in the Zurich. Kennedy came out on top in the gold medal rematch, clearing 4.91 meters to win. 

In Eugene, the pair of champions will go head-to-head for the third time in the last month. Both Moon and Kennedy are clearly in great form heading into the season finale. They will be challenged by American record-holder Sandi Morris, who finished seventh in Budapest and third in Zurich behind them. 

US Women Back On Home Turf

After upsetting the field in her first-ever world championships less than a month ago, world champion Laulauga Tausaga-Collins would like to let the good times roll and build on her momentum from Budapest. 

However, she'll have to hold off current world-leader Valarie Allman, who bested Tausaga-Collins by over two meters at Hayward at the U.S. Championships back in July. On the one hand, the reigning world champion can still bask in her lifetime best throw of 69.49m, a mark that earned her a world title. All of that momentum is in Tausaga-Collins' favor. But Allman will be back in a familiar setting and recently threw 70.47m earlier this month; it's still the only mark over 70 meters this year. 

Croatia's Sandra Perković (67.71m) and Dutch star Jorinde Van Klinken (67.20m) are also amongst the field, and both own lifetime bests over 70 meters, and will each certainly be a factor come Sunday. 

Other Budapest gold medalists who are looking to win the Diamond League crown include:

  • (JPN) Haruka Kitaguchi -- Javelin
  • (BRN) Winfred Mutile Yavi -- 3000m Steeplechase
  • (VEN) Yulimar Rojas -- Triple Jump
  • (USA) Chase Ealey -- Shot Put
  • (UKR) Yaroslava Mahuchikh -- High Jump
  • (NED) Femke Bol -- 400mH
  • (DOM) Marileidy Paulino -- 400m
  • (SRB) Ivana Vuleta -- Long Jump
  • (JAM) Danielle Willilams -- 100mH