Sun, Jan 29, 2017
Last night, a superstar quartet of 2016 US Olympians smashed the world record in the Women’s Distance Medley relay, providing fans with the brightest highlight of the 22nd edition of the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.
Emma Coburn, the bronze medalist in the 3000m Steeplechase at last summer’s Olympic Games, led off the 1200m leg for the American squad, and handed the baton off to teenage phenom Sydney McLaughlin. McLaughlin, 17, was the youngest Olympic track and field athlete to advance to the semi-finals in any event at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. Running the 400m leg, McLaughlin put the USA back in first with a 52.32sec leg.
Running third on the relay, 2013 World 800m bronze medalist Brenda Martinez ran a 2:01.94 split to bring the US ahead of world record pace. 2016 Olympic bronze medalist Jenny Simpson took over for the final leg, and ran the final 1600m unchallenged in 4:27.66, anchoring the USA to a new world record of 10:40.31, more than two seconds ahead of the previous world record, set at the 2015 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix.
Another record that tumbled last night was in the Jesse Loubier Memorial Men’s 300m. While former NCAA 400m Champion and meet record-holder Vernon Norwood was favored to defend his title, it was not to be. Rising trackstar Noah Lyles, who finished fourth in the US Olympic Trials at 200m as a high school senior, upset his more established competitors to win 32.67, a lifetime best and new event record.
In the Women’s 300m, 2016 NCAA 400m Champion Courtney Okolo outlasted both Candace Hill and Jessica Beard to win in 36.87. Olympic 4x100m gold medalist English Gardner defended her title in the women’s 60m, winning in 7.17 to Dezerea Bryant’s 7.19.
Reigning Olympic 1500m Champion Matthew Centrowtiz again ran a smart, tactical race in the Men’s Mile, fending off challenges from both Ben True and Vincent Kibet, and broke the tape first in a world leading time of 3:55.78. In the Women’s 3000m, Olympic silver medalist Helen Obiri got the best of a loaded field that included World Indoor 1500m Champion Sifan Hassan and American 1500m Record-holder Shannon Rowbury, winning in 8:39.08.
In the Men’s 3000m, American Olympic 5000m silver medalist Paul Chelimo took first in a world-leading time of 7:42.39, ahead of Great Britian Olympian Andrew Butchart and Olympic 5000m bronze medalist Hagos Gebrhiwet.
What was meant to be a clash of Olympic Champions in the women’s pole vault was unfortunately scuttled when 2012 Olympic Champion Jenn Suhr withdrew with injury, leaving 2016 Olympic Champion Ekateríni Stefanídi as the sole favorite. Stefanídi locked up first place with a clearance of 4.63m, before missing attempts at 4.73m.