Blanka Vlašić, Tyson Gay, Jeremy Wariner and Jessica Ennis – a quartet of superstars ranked #1 in the world last year – are the first headliners set for the adidas Grand Prix on June 11, organizers announced today.
In its seventh year as one of the premier track-and-field events in the world, the adidas Grand Prix, at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, is the sixth stop on the international Samsung Diamond League circuit. Tickets are now available at the event website, www.adidasgrandprix.com, or by calling 1-877-TIX-TRAC.
Making her long-awaited U.S. debut will be Vlašić, the 2010 IAAF Female Athlete of the Year. A four-time World Champion and 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the high jump, the 27-year-old from Croatia is one of the most exciting, emotive and dominant athletes in the sport. Between June 24, 2007 and Aug. 23, 2008, Vlašić posted a 34-meet winning streak and last year won 18 of 20 meets, including all seven of her Diamond League competitions and the European Championships. Her personal best of 2.08 meters/6 feet, 9.75 inches, set in 2009, is only one centimeter off the 24-year-old world record.
Gay, 28, returns to New York as the American record-holder (9.69 seconds) and second-fastest man in history at 100 meters. The 2007 triple World Champion at 100 meters, 200 meters and 4×100-meter relay and the 2009 World Championship silver medalist, he was named the IAAF Male Athlete of the Year in 2007. Last year, Gay finished the season undefeated at 100 meters, a streak that included a victory over world record-holder Usain Bolt in their only head-to-head match-up, on July 29 at the DN Galan meet in Stockholm.
Wariner, a three-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time World Champion in the 400 meters and the 4×400-meter relay, ran three of the four fastest times in the world last year at 400 meters. Five times ranked #1 in the world, the 27-year-old has a personal best of 43.45, making him the third-fastest man in history. Last Friday, he opened his 2011 campaign with a 200-meter victory at the TCU Invitational in 20.71, his fastest 200-meter opener since 2006.
Like Vlašić, both Gay and Wariner were 2010 Diamond League Champions, a title awarded at the end of the 14-meet Samsung Diamond League season to the top point scorers in each discipline.
Ennis, from Great Britain, is the reigning World and European Champion in the heptathlon. Her personal best has soared by 354 points since 2007, to 6823, and the 25-year-old heads toward the 2012 Olympics in her home country as one of its brightest stars and biggest gold-medal hopes.
All four athletes were ranked #1 in the world for 2010 by Track & Field News magazine: Gay at 100 meters, Wariner at 400 meters, Ennis in the heptathlon and Vlašić in the high jump.
In addition to dozens of Olympic stars from around the world, fans at the adidas Grand Prix will be treated to races featuring the top high school athletes in the country in the Jim Ryun High School Dream Mile and the fastest young sprinters in the Tri-State area as they compete for the right to be called New York’s Fastest Kid.
All of the latest news, photos and additional information can be found at the adidas Grand Prix pages on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, media accreditation is now available at www.adidasGrandPrix.com, under Media. The application deadline is Wednesday, June 1. Note the new, earlier start time this year: the adidas Grand Prix, part of the Visa Championship Series, will begin at 1 p.m. on June 11.