World Champion Yohan Blake of Jamaica, ranked No. 1 in the world at 100 meters, headlines a scintillating lineup of Caribbean superstars expected at the 2012 adidas Grand Prix on June 9 in a preview of the action later this summer in London.
In its eighth year as one of the premier track-and-field events in the world, the adidas Grand Prix, at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, will feature dozens of Olympic medalists and World Champions. It will again be the sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit, and is part of the Visa Championship Series.
Last summer in Daegu, South Korea, Blake, 22, became the youngest 100-meter gold medalist at the World Championships since it began in 1983. “I would like to be a legend,” he said before capping off his historic week by running the third leg and handing off to his training partner, Bolt, on the 4×100-meter relay team that broke its own World Record. This is not the first time Blake has competed at the adidas Grand Prix. The youngster made his debut here way back in 2007 when he anchored his St. Jago team to victory in the boys’ 4×400-meter high school relay, and competed over 100 meters in 2009 and 2010.
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Sherone Simpson and Kelly-Ann Baptiste will face off against reigning World Champion Carmelia Jeter in the 100-meter dash.
Baptiste, from Trinidad and Tobago, is the 2011 World Championships bronze medalist at 100 meters, and the 25-year-old’s personal best of 10.84 is a national record. Fraser-Pryce, also 25, is the reigning Olympic gold medalist and 2009 World Champion at both 100 meters and the 4×100-meter relay. Finishing fourth, just 1/100ths of a second behind Baptiste in Daegu, South Korea, for bronze last summer, Fraser-Pryce nonetheless ran the first leg on the Jamaican 4×100-meter team that set a national record on the way to winning a silver medal. Simpson is the 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 100 meters and 2004 Olympic gold medalist in the 4×100-meter relay.
Jermaine Gonzales, 2011 World Championships bronze medalist in the 4×400-meter relay, will face previously announced World and Olympic champion Jeremy Wariner, who is on the comeback trail from a torn toe ligament that kept him out of the World Championships last summer. Also returning to the adidas Grand Prix will be four-time Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius, who is seeking to become the first double amputee to compete in track and field in the Olympic Games. He will be racing in New York in pursuit of a qualifying time of 45.30 seconds to be names to the South African Olympic team.
Coming off wins at the Jamaica International Invitational are veteran Novlene Williams-Mills in the 400 meters and young star Hansle Parchment in the 110-meter hurdles. Williams-Mills, 30, the 2007 World Championships bronze medalist who owns a half dozen 4×400-meter relay medals from the Olympics and World Championships, ran a world-leading 49.99 to defeat American Sanya Richards-Ross, who is also scheduled to compete at the adidas Grand Prix.
Parchment, just 21 years old, notched a personal-best 13.19 in winning the 110-meter hurdles at the Jamaica International Invitational. The 2011 World University Games gold medalist, who was fifth in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, joins a deep and exciting field at the adidas Grand Prix that includes World Record-holder and reigning Olympic gold medalist Dayron Robles of Cuba, reigning World Champion Jason Richardson, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist David Oliver, and Aries Merritt, the World Indoor Champion at the 60-meter hurdles who ran a personal-best and world-leading 13.03 in winning a meet in Fayetteville, AR, after posting a wind-aided 12.99 in his heat.
In the adidas Boys’ Dream 100, rising Jamaican star Jazeel Murphy, the two-time Under-20 Carifta Games gold medalist at 100 meters, will take on some of the top American high school sprinters in this premier, invitational race that is the culmination of the adidas Golden Stripes series. A student-athlete at Bridgeport High School in St. Catherine, Jamaica, Murphy has a personal best of 10.27.
Jamaican teams who have been extended an invitation to compete in the high school relays include: St. Elizabeth Tech High School and Munro College in the Boys’ 4×400, and Vere Tech High School and Edwin Allen High in the Girls’ 4×100.
The adidas Grand Prix will begin at 1 p.m. at Icahn Stadium on June 9. All of the latest news, photos and additional information on the event can be found at adidasgrandprix.com, the event’s pages on Facebook at facebook.com/adidasGrandPrix and on Twitter at twitter.com/adidasGrandPrix. When tweeting, use #agpny.