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The standing joke inside Prefontaine Classic central is promoter Tom Jordan's annual proclamation that this year's field is the "best ever."

"But it's always true," Jordan says with a laugh.

Especially this year.

The 41st running of the nation's premier track and field invitational at Eugene's Hayward Field is split into two days -- Friday night's free short portion and Saturday's longer section. It features so many world record-holders and Olympic and World Championship gold medalists, Jordan hasn't counted them up.

"But it's certainly the most we've ever had," says Jordan, in his 31st year as the Pre Classic meet director.

It's thanks in no small part to title sponsor Nike, which brings in its athletes from throughout the world, making the Pre Classic annually the belle of the ball of the state's singular sporting events.

There are 14 international "Diamond League" meets worldwide, and only two -- the Pre Classic and New York's Adidas Grand Prix -- are in the United States. Last year, ranked the Pre Classic as the second-best meet in the world (behind Herculis Monaco) in terms of quality of competition.

"We've been ranked in the top three the last three years, and we may get to No. 1 this year," Jordan says. "We just keep trying harder to get the best (track and field) athletes in the world here. We have the reputation as the place to be early in the season to post great marks."

The 2015 World Championships are set for Beijing in late August.

"If you're interested in what's going to happen in Beijing," Jordan says, "the Pre will be a prism to look through to see who is going to win."

For a couple of reasons, the Pre Classic is better than the Olympic Games or World Championships.

One, each country is limited to three entrants in the Olympics or Worlds.

"We'll have 10 top Kenyans in the steeplechase, and seven of them won't be running at Beijing this year," Jordan says.

Two, the Olympics and Worlds have qualifying events, meaning the entrants must pace themselves. At the Pre Classic, it's all out for one event. And, in the distance races, rabbits ensure pace and provide better opportunities for record attempts.

The Friday night card features five elite events -- the discus, shot put, 5,000 and 10,000 on the men's side along with the women's long jump -- and it's free to the public.

The night will finish with the 5,000 and 10,000 races, and the fields are loaded.

Portland's Galen Rupp -- who set an American record in the 10,000 at the Pre Classic a year ago -- will toe the line for the 5K in a field that includes a half-dozen runners who have bettered 13 minutes.

Twenty minutes later, fellow Portlander Mo Farah -- the greatest distance runner of this era -- heads a group of seven runners who have run under 27 minutes. Farah hasn't lost a 5K or 10K race in nearly four years.

"He's been pretty much untouchable," Jordan says. "If there is anybody to challenge Mo, it'll be (Kenya's Paul Kipngetich) Tanui. He's run 27:08.21 already this season."

Saturday's card contains 18 elite men's and women's events, with 2014 world-best performers and World Championships and Olympic Games gold-medal hopefuls everywhere you turn. Eight participants in the final event -- the Bowerman Mile -- have been clocked under 3:50.

The events are packaged into a noon-to-3 p.m. window, most of which are carried on national and international television.

The weather both days is expected to be spectacular, with highs in the low 80s.

"I never remember seeing a forecast with zero percent chance of rain," Jordan says. "I just know there's going to be a tornado."

A near-sellout crowd of about 13,000 will be on hand Saturday, with standing-room only tickets available if the stands are filled. Tickets can be purchased at or 1-800-Webfoot.

"Don't not come to the Pre Classic Saturday because you think we're sold out," Jordan says. "You'll be able to get a ticket."

  • An event-by-event look at the top entrants:


    MEN'S 5,000

    Galen Rupp, U.S.

    No. 4 in world last year (No. 1 in 10,000). 2012 Olympic silver in 10,000, fourth in 5K

    Bernard Lagat, U.S.

    2007 World Championships gold, five-time Pre Classic champion, seven-time U.S. champion

    Yenew Alamirew, Ethiopia

    No. 2 in world last two years, 2013 Diamond Trophy winner, runner-up in last year's Pre Classic 5K. PR of 12:48.77

    Edwin Cheruiyot, Kenya

    Has run sub-13:00 in each of last six years, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, 2013 Pre Classic winner

    Isiah Kiplangat Koech, Kenya

    2013 World Championships bronze, fifth in 2012 Olympics at age 18, 2012 Diamond Trophy winner. Owns field's fastest time at 12:48.64

    MEN'S 10,000

    Mo Farah, Great Britain

    2012 Olympics 5,000 and 10,000 gold, 2011 World Championships 5,000 and 10,000 gold. Has not lost 10K race in four years

    Paul Kipngetich Tanui, Kenya

    Ranked No. 2 in world last year, 2013 World Championships bronze

    Josphat Kipkoech Bett, Kenya

    Ranked No. 3 in world last year


    Gerd Kanter, Estonia

    2007 World Championships gold and 2008 Olympic gold, Kanter has history's No. 3 throw at 240-9. Ranked among world's top three every year since 2005 and has medaled six times in World Championships and Olympics

    Piotr Malachowski, Poland

    2008 Olympics silver, 2009 and '13 World Championships silver, five times ranked No. 2 in world

    Ehsan Hadadi, Iran

    2011 World Championships bronze, 2012 Olympics silver


    Reese Hoffa, U.S.

    Four times ranked No. 1 in world, including 2014. Two-time Diamond Trophy winner, 2007 World Championships gold

    Tomasz Majewski, Poland

    2008 and '12 Olympics gold

    David Storl, Germany

    2011 and '13 World Championships gold

    Ryan Whiting, U.S.

    Ranked No. 1 in world in 2013

    Christian Cantwell, U.S.

    2009 World Championships gold with best PR in field at 73-11 1/2


    Brittney Reese, U.S.

    Olympic gold in 2012, World Championships gold in 2009, '11 and '13, two-time Diamond Trophy winner

    Eloyse Lesueuer, France

    No. 1 in world in 2014

    Tianna Bartoletta, U.S.

    Ranked No. 1 in world this year, 2005 World Championships gold


    MEN'S 100

    Mike Rodgers, U.S.

    Veteran of international competition ranked No. 2 in world last year

    Tyson Gay, U.S.

    American record-holder at 9.69, top-ranked American four times, ranked No. 1 in world in 2007 and '10

    James Dasaolu, Great Britain

    2014 European Championships gold

    Ryan Bailey, U.S.

    Salem native and 2012 Olympian has world's No. 3 time this season


    Aries Merritt, U.S.

    2012 Olympic champion, world-record holder at 12.80, Diamond Trophy winner

    David Oliver, U.S.

    2013 World Championships gold, two-time Pre Classic winner, former American record-holder, twice ranked No. 1 in world

    Pascal Martinot-Lagarde, France

    Last year's Diamond Trophy winner, defending Pre Classic champion, ranked No. 1 in world in 2014

    Hansle Parchment, Jamaica

    2012 Olympic bronze

    Sergey Shubenkov, Russia

    2013 World Championships bronze, ranked No. 2 in world last year

    MEN'S 200

    Justin Gatlin, U.S.

    Fastest in the world this year in 100 (9.74), ranked No. 1 in world in both events last year. At 33, hasn't lost race at any distance since 2013, including 200 best of 19.58 last year. 2004 Olympic Games gold in 100

    Alonso Edward, Panama

    Reigning Diamond Trophy winner, 2009 World Championships silver, undefeated at any distance this year, ranked No. 2 in world last year

    Nickel Ashmeade, Jamaica

    Ranked No. 3 in world last three years, 2012 Diamond Trophy winner, won most recent Pre Classic in 2013

    Curtis Mitchell, U.S.

    Reigning U.S. champion, bronze in 2013 World Championships

    MEN'S 400

    Kirani James, U.S.

    Beat LaShawn Merritt in last year's Pre Classic, both clocked in 43.97. 2012 Olympic champion. PR of 43.74

    LaShawn Merritt, U.S.

    2008 Olympic champion, 2009 and '13 World Championships gold, 2013 Diamond Trophy winner, four Pre Classic wins. PR of 43.74

    Isaac Makwala, Botswana

    Ranked No. 3 in world last year, ran fastest 200/400 double in history (19.96, 44.01)

    Abdalleleh Haroun, Qatar

    At 18, has yet to lose a recorded race, owns world junior record of 43.87. This will be his first race on U.S. soil

    Tony McQuay, U.S.

    2013 World Championships silver

    Chris Brown, Bahamas

    Fourth in 2008 and '12 Olympics, fourth in 2005 and '07 World Championships


    Javier Culson, Puerto Rico

    Ranked No. 1 in world in 2012 and '14, two-time Diamond Trophy winner, silver in World Championships in 2009 and '11, bronze in Olympics in 2012

    Jehue Gordon, Trinidad & Tobago

    Ranked No. 1 in world in 2013, 2013 World Championships winner

    Michael Tinsley, U.S.

    Reigning Diamond Trophy winner, 2013 World Championships silver, 2012 Olympics silver, ranked No. 2 in world last two years

    Felix Sanchez, Dominican Republic

    Two-time Olympic champion (2004 and '12), two-time World Championships winner (2003 and '11), four times ranked No. 1 in world, has field's best PR of 47.25

    Bershawn Jackson, U.S.

    Four-time U.S. champion, 2005 World Championships gold, ranked No. 1 in world in 2010

    Johnny Dutch, U.S.

    Reigning U.S. champion

    MEN'S 800

    Nijel Amos, Botswana

    2012 Olympic silver at age 18, 2014 Diamond Trophy winner, ranked No. 1 in world last year. Fourth-fastest ever at 1:41.73, won Pre Classic last year in 1:43.63 in first-ever U.S. appearance

    Mohammed Amen, Ethiopia

    2013 World Championships gold at 19, ranked No. 1 in world in 2013 and No. 2 in 2014, competes for Eugene's Oregon Track Club

    Duane Solomon, U.S.

    Two-time reigning U.S. champion, fourth in 2012 Olympics

    Ferguson Cheruiyot, Kenya

    Ranked No. 4 in world last year with best of 1:42.84

    Alfred Kipketer, Kenya

    World Junior champion last year at age 17 in 1:43.95 at Hayward Field

    Taoufik Makhloufi, Algeria

    2012 Olympic 1,500 champion.


    Asbel Kiprop, Kenya

    Four times ranked No. 1 in world, 2008 Olympic 1,500 gold, 2011 and '13 World Championships gold, 2010 Diamond Trophy winner, three-time winner of Bowerman Mile

    Silas Kiplagat, Kenya

    Twice ranked No. 1 in world, 2011 World Championships silver, Diamond Trophy winner in 2012 and '14

    Amon Wote, Ethiopia

    National record-holder at 3:48.60, ranked No. 5 in world last year

    Avanleh Souleiman, Djibouti

    Won last year's Bowerman Mile in meet record 3:47.32, fastest in world since 2007. Ranked No. 2 in world last year

    Abdelaati Iguider, Morocco

    2012 Olympic 1,500 bronze

    Matthew Centrowitz, U.S.

    Former NCAA 1,500 champion from Oregon, 2013 World Championships silver

    Leo Manzano, U.S.: 2012 Olympic 1,500 silver


    Jairus Birech, Kenya

    Ranked No. 1 in world in 2014, had fastest time in world in 7:58.41

    Evan Jager, U.S.

    Portlander was ranked No. 2 in world in 2014, breaking his own American record at 8:04.71

    Ezekiel Kemboi, Kenya

    Reigning Olympic and World Championships winner, also won gold at 2004 Olympics and 2009 and '11 World Championships

    Mahiedine Mekhissi, France

    Olympic silver in 2008 and '12, World Championships bronze in 2011 and '13

    Paul Koech, Kenya

    Olympic bronze in 2004 owns field's fastest time at 7:54.31


    Mutaz Essa Barshim, Qatar

    2012 Olympic bronze, 2013 World Championships silver, won 2014 Diamond Trophy with best of 7-11 1/2, second-best ever behind world record-holder Javier Sotomayer (8-0 1/2). Won Pre Classic last year at 7-10 1/2, best-ever on U.S. soil

    Ivan Ukhov, Russia

    No. 3 on all-time list at 7-11 1/4 last year, 2012 Olympic gold, Diamond Trophy winner in 2010, twice ranked No. 1 in world

    Derek Drouin, Canada

    2012 Olympic bronze, 2013 World Championships bronze

    Erik Kynard, U.S.

    2012 Olympics silver


    Renaud Lavillenie, France

    World record-holder (20-2 1/2), ranked No. 1 in the world every year since 2010, five-time Diamond Trophy winner, reigning "Men's Athlete of the Year" by Track & Field News. Cleared 19-6 1/4 in winning Pre Classic in 2013

    Konstantinos Filippidis, Greece

    2012 Olympic gold

    Raphael Holzdeppe, Germany

    2013 World Championships gold

    WOMEN'S 100

    Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Jamaica

    Two-time defending Olympic champion (2008, '12), also two-time defending World champion (2009, '13). won most recent Pre Classic 100 in wind-aided 10.71 in 2013

    Blessing Okagbare, Nigeria

    African record-holder at 10.79, second to Fraser-Pryce in 2013 Pre Classic 100 in 10.75

    Tianna Bartoletta, U.S.

    Fourth in 2012 Olympics 100

    Tori Bowie, U.S.

    Fastest in world in 2014 in 10.80. Won last year's Pre Classic 200 in world-leading 22.18

    Carmelita Jeter, U.S.

    Second on all-time list at 10.64, ranked No. 1 in world from 2009-11, won 2011 World Championships gold and 2012 Olympics silver

    Murielle Ahoure, Cote d'Ivoire

    2013 World Championships silver

    WOMEN'S 400

    Sanya Richards-Ross, U.S.

    American record-holder, 2009 World Champions gold, 2012 Olympics gold, six-time U.S. champion, ranked No. 1 in world five times

    Allyson Felix, U.S.

    Diamond League winner in 2010, but most accomplished at 200, where she was ranked No. 1 in world last year, 2011 World Championships silver

    Novlene Williams-Mills, Jamaica

    Ranked No. 1 in world last year, Diamond Trophy winner last year, reigning Pre Classic champion

    Francena McCorory, U.S.

    Ranked No. 2 in world last year, U.S. champion last year.

    WOMEN'S 800

    Eunice Sum, Kenya

    Ranked No. 1 in world in 2013 and '14, two-time Diamond Trophy winner, reigning World Championships winner

    Janeth Jepkosgei, Kenya

    Ranked No. 1 in world in 2007, owns fastest PR in field (1:56.04)

    Ajec Wilson, U.S.

    Only 21, ranked No. 2 in world last year, U.S. champion in 2014, American junior record-holder at 1:58.21

    Brenda Martinez, U.S.

    Ranked No. 3 in world last year, 2013 World Championships bronze

    Alysia Montano, U.S.

    Best of 1:57.34, second-best in field

    Chanelle Price, U.S.

    Defending Pre Classic champion and reigning World Indoor gold

    WOMEN'S 1,500

    Jenny Simpson, U.S.

    Ranked No. 1 in world last year, reigning Diamond Trophy winner, ran PR of 3:57.22 last year, .1 of a second off Mary Slaney's 31-year-old American record

    Shannon Rowbury, U.S.

    2009 World Championships bronze, four times ranked No. 1 in U.S.

    Treniere Moser, U.S.

    Four-time U.S. champion who set 1,500 PR (4:02.85) at 2013 Pre Classic

    Alexa Efraimson, U.S.

    From Camas, Wash., won U.S. Junior 1,500 last year, ran a 2:01.13 800 last month

    Sifan Hassan, The Netherlands

    Ranked No. 2 in world last year, European Championships gold last year

    Maryam Yusuf-Jamal, Bahrain

    Two-time World Championships gold (2007, '09) and 2012 Olympic Games bronze, has ranked No. 1 in world five times

    WOMEN'S 5,000

    Genzebe Dibaba, Ethiopia

    Ranked No. 1 in world last year, owns four world indoor records from 1,500 to 5,000

    Vivian Cheruiyot, Kenya

    2011 World Championships gold, medaled at both 5,000 and 10,000 at 2012 Olympics

    Almaz Ayana, Ethiopia

    Ranked No. 2 in world last year, 2013 World Championships bronze


    Barbora Spotakova, Czech Republic

    The world record-holder (237-2) and two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 and '12) was ranked No. 1 in the world last year for the sixth time. Also has a World Championships gold (2007) and a pair of World Championships silvers (2009 and '11)

    Christina Obergfoll, Germany

    2013 World Championships gold and two-time Olympic medalist (bronze in 2008, silver in '12)

    Manya Abakumova, Russia

    2011 World Championships gold, No. 2 on all-time world list at 236-2


    Caterine Ibarguen, Colombia

    2013 World Championships gold with best of 48-9 1/2

    Yekaterina Koneva, Russia

    2013 World Championships silver, ranked No. 2 in world

    Olha Saladukha, Ukraine

    2013 World Championships bronze, ranked No. 3 in world

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