Atlanta hosted the best track and field athletes in the world on Friday night at Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross with a first class event in the Atlanta Grand Prix.
The event was a who’s who of track and field including Olympic medalists in Jeremy Wariner, Ashton Eaton and Jenay DeLoach Soukup.
The biggest applause of the night went to hurdler and two-time Olympic finalist Lolo Jones who won her heat in the 100 meter hurdles and then took the finals in the showcase event of the evening edging Queen Harrison with a time of 12.74.
Jones was pleased with her victory.
“I’ve been hurdling every day this week and I was ready for some great competition.
Another interesting tidbit from Jones was when I asked her if the switching of sports (she has been competing in bobsled races getting ready to qualify for the 2014 Winter Olympics) has helped her with the hurdles.
“It has helped me, and it has helped but it hurt with my hurdle rhythm,” said the track covergirl. “I got stronger, but because I wasn’t going over hurdles I got a little rusty.”
Three-time Olympic gold medalist Jeremy Wariner took second in his signature event, the 400 meters losing by .02 to Michael Bingham of Great Britain, but he was pleased with his progress.
“I was just trying to execute my race better,” admitted Wariner. “At Drake (Relays) I got taken on the backstretch, but I got out better here.”
It was a very close race and Wariner thought he could’ve won.
“I tried my best down the backstretch, but just ran out of room.”
Wariner still thinks he has a lot of great races ahead of him and the World Championships in Russia are something he’s pointing to right now.
“I’m going to go and run rounds and hope to make the team,” added Warner. “I love to run, and even though training hurts like hell, I love what I do and I’ll continue to do it until my body tells me to stop.”
Another popular athlete at the meet was 2012 Olympic Decathlon gold medalist Ashton Eaton.
Eaton was competing in the shot put on Friday.
“It was low key here, but good crowd atmosphere, a good tune up,” explained the man many call “The World’s Greatest Athlete.” “I mainly look at the big events now, and leave tomorrow for Europe and a meet over there.”
The Atlanta Grand Prix was more than Olympic athletes. There were college and high school runners in events as well and a great crowd that stayed through a few rain drops.
The event was put on by Doyle Management, and Matt Daniels of Doyle seemed pleased with the evening.
“We only had a short time to put this together, but look at this crowd and the athletes, it’s great to have this,” said Daniels.
The meet also promoted some great causes in Run With Us and an effort to fight childhood obesity, and they are explained here.
Run With Us
Last year USA Track & Field Foundation launched its ground breaking Run With Us! program. Olympians and aspiring track & field athletes have been carefully selected to deploy lessons of fitness, nutrition, healthy lifestyle choices and fueling life ambitions in target communities across the U.S both virtually and in the classroom and after school.
Fight Childhood Obesity in Georgia
As a state with the 2nd largest obesity rate in the US we are happy to join the fight to help Georgia kids make the lifestyle changes necessary to live a longer healthier life. Students will have the opportunity to meet and learn from our world-class athletes regarding the importance of getting proper daily exercise and developing long term fitness goals.
A great night of track and field in Atlanta and another great sign was seeing all the kids and young runners in attendance. Bodes well for the future of USA Track and Field.