Canadian athletes had a great showing at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday. Andre De Grasse won the men’s 100m in a blistering 9.74 seconds, and Marco Arop won the men’s 800m, surging across the line in 1:44.51. De Grasse’s time would have been a national record (the existing record of 9.84 is shared by Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin), but the wind was over the legal 2.0 metres per second, meaning that his time is wind-aided.
— Athletics Canada (@AthleticsCanada) August 21, 2021
De Grasse managed to get out of the blocks more quickly than usual. His victory comes after a successful Olympics where he took home gold in the 200 and bronze in both the 100 and the 4×100 relay.
Edmonton native Arop also had a successful day in his return, after failing to advance out of the semifinals during his Olympic debut in Tokyo. Arop beat the reigning gold and silver medallists, Emmanuel Korir and Ferguson Rotich, to win the Pre Classic. This is Arop’s first win at a Diamond League meet. “I planned to not lead the race, I have done enough of that this season,” said Arop to reporters.
Arop showed composure well beyond his years, as he stayed at the back of the pack through 400m and kicked with 250m to go, never looking back.
Arop hinted that he will be racing at the final three Diamond League stops on the schedule: “I am just getting started. My body is feeling great,” he said.
Olympian Alycia Butterworth returned to action in the 3,000m steeplechase, running a three-second personal best 9:28.68 to finish 10th. Norah Jeruto of Kenya won in the second-fastest time ever in the event, 8:53.65. American Courtney Frerichs, who won the silver medal in Tokyo, became the first American woman to run under nine minutes, clocking 8:57.77 for an American record.
8:57!! What an honor it was to race a fantastic field in front of such an incredible crowd at the @nikepreclassic today! The Hayward Magic was definitely present! The barrier has finally been broken! ⚡️??♀️ #sub9 ?: @OPENphotos pic.twitter.com/GyPqQw3cu1
— Courtney Frerichs (@courtfrerichs8) August 22, 2021
In the women’s 1,500m, Tokyo gold medallist Faith Kipyegon showed absolute dominance as she beat the rest of the field by 80 metres. Kipyegon crossed the line in 3:53.23, a meet record, almost seven seconds ahead of second-place finisher Linden Hall of Australia, who surged across the line ahead of the rest of the field in 3:59.73. Canada’s Gabriela DeBues-Stafford finished sixth, in 4:01.74.
The last event on the day was the Bowerman Mile, featuring Canada’s newly crowed silver medallist Mohammed Ahmed. The 5,000m medallist was in a tough field up against 1,500m specialists Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Timothy Cheruiyot.
The pace was swift early, clocking 55 to 57 seconds per lap pace, aiming for a 3:45 mile time. Australia’s Stewart McSweyn led until 200m to go, when Ingebrigtsen passed him on the outside and sprinted away to a Norwegian national record of 3:47.24, also the fastest time ever run on U.S. soil.
Canada’s Ahmed crossed the line in 3:53.87 for a three-second personal best over the mile distance. Ahmed’s time puts him inside the top-five Canadian mile times.