Olympic decathlon champion and world record holder Ashton Eaton headlines the first round of elite athletes announced for the 109th NYRR Millrose Games on February 20 at The Armory in New York.
Eaton is coming off a gold medal at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, where he improved upon his own world record. Eaton will use the January’s Camel City Invite in North Carolina and the Millrose Games to prepare for the 2016 world indoor championships in Portland, Ore. in March, where he could win his third indoor world title in the heptathlon.
“I’m excited to be back at the Millrose Games which will be an integral meet in setting myself up for success at the World Indoor Championships and eventually the Olympic Games in Rio,” Eaton said in a press release. “The Millrose Games is one of my favorite competitions in the world. It’s such an intimate meet with a crowd almost right on top of you creating an incredible atmosphere that brings out the best in us athletes.”
At last year’s Millrose Games, Eaton competed in the hurdles. After the race, Eaton couldn’t stop his momentum fast enough and flew over the padded mats at the end of the track. He fell 10 feet to the ground but landed on his feet.
Watch Eaton’s fall at the Millrose Games from last year below:
Race organizers have also brought back Olympian Shannon Rowbury, last year’s women’s Wanamaker Mile winner. Rowbury set the American record in the 1,500-meters at July’s Monaco Diamond League meeting, where she ran 3:56.29. Last winter, Rowbury also clocked the fastest women's indoor mile in the world with a 4:22.66 performance.
The men’s Wanamaker Mile will include New Jersey native and world championship finalist Robby Andrews and Great Britain’s Chris O'Hare. Matthew Centrowitz won last year’s race.
American 5,000-meter record holder Molly Huddle will attempt to run an American record in the same event indoors. The current women’s indoor record is held by Shalane Flanagan, who ran 14:47.62 in 2009.
Ajee Wilson will return to action for an indoor season after withdrawing from last year’s world championships due to injury. Wilson ran the fifth fastest time in the world for 800-meters with her 2:01.57 victory at the Millrose Games.
Distance runners Nicole Tully of the New Jersey-New York Track Club and Nike athletes Jordan Hasay, Eric Jenkins and Kerri Gallagher will also compete at the Millrose Games but have not been announced for specific race distances. Canada's Cam Levins will race the 3,000-meter run.
Canadian sprinter Andre De Grasse, who won a bronze medal in the 100-meter dash at the world championships, announced his decision to turn professional and forego his senior season at USC after signing a multi-million dollar contract with Puma. He will competing in the men’s 60-meter dash. Other notable sprinters competing in Feb. include: Jenna Prandini, Lalonde Gordon and Kendall Baison.
Queen Harrison and Aleec Harris will compete in the hurdles. The field events will include world champion Derek Drouin in the high jump and NCAA champion in pole vault Sandi Morris.
- Christopher Chavez