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The World’s Best Preview The Moscow World Championship Rematches

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: April 25, 2014
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DES MOINES, Iowa – Some of the top track and field athletes in the world met with members of the media on Thursday at Drake Stadium to preview their upcoming Moscow World Championship Rematch events.

The rematches, designed to recreate the fields from last summer’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, Russia, will pit elite athletes against each other in a battle for a $50,000 prize purse on the track. Additionally, Relays director Brian Brown has created an elite men’s and women’s shuttle hurdle relay with the winning team in each race pocketing $25,000 in an event that is sure to bring the Drake Stadium crowd to its feet.

One of the most highly anticipated Moscow World Championship Rematches will be the men’s 400 meters on Friday at 7:40 p.m. The race will feature the top two 400 meter runners in the world in a loaded field. The addition of Drake Relays Hall of Famer Jeremy Wariner to the field gives the race the last three Olympic gold medalists making one lap around the Blue Oval.

Below is a schedule of the Moscow World Championship Rematch events and Thursday’s comments from the world class athletes.

Moscow World Championship Rematch Schedule
Friday, April 25
5:45 p.m. – Women’s Pole Vault
6 p.m. – Men’s High Jump
6:40 p.m. – Men’s 110-Meter Hurdles
7:40 p.m. – Men’s 400 Meters
8:05 p.m. – Men’s 400-Meter Hurdles
8:30 p.m. – Women’s 1,500 Meters

Saturday, April 26
1:45 p.m. – Women’s High Jump
2:10 p.m. – Women’s 400-Meter Hurdles
2:15 p.m. – Men’s Pole Vault
2:36 p.m. – Women’s 100-Meter Hurdles

Shuttle Hurdle Relays
Friday, April 25
7:05 p.m. Women’s Shuttle Hurdle Relay

Saturday, April 26
2:52 p.m. – Men’s Shuttle Hurdle Relay

Moscow World Championship Rematch Competitor Quotes
LaShawn Merritt, Nike
400 Meters – Friday, 7:35 p.m.
On the 400-meter race …
Friday night there will be some of the top 400 meter runners competing. It’s probably the earliest we’ve competed in the season but we’re here. The job called and we’re here. Everybody has been training for months and there’s not a major championship for us Americans this year. For me it’s a competition. I’ll always come, we’ll line up and go at it.”

On the significance of the 400-meter race …
“For me, it’s my first time at Drake. I’ve always gone to Penn Relays. To be at Drake for the first time, I’m excited. And then to put this field together, not only in the 400, but I’ve heard all the events that have the top people in the world. I’m excited for the 400 and all the events so early. To be a part of that is a first for me and one of the best.”

On what brought him to Drake …
“My agent put it together and I showed up. It was my team that put some things together to get me here and I really wanted to come. To have a chance to come here and compete here is great.”

 

Kirani James, Nike
400 Meters – Friday, 7:35 p.m.
On the being at the Drake Relays …
“Drake Relays has to be a very special place to pull
something like this off. To have the top four ranked 400-meter runners racing this early in the season. It will be good for the fans to come out and see a race like that. It’s really going to set the tone for our event the rest of the year in terms of it being competitive and being one of the most intriguing events all year. Everyone should come out and see a very competitive race. I know for sure it’s going to be competitive. LaShawn is always going to be ready, Santos is going to be ready, McQuay is going to be ready as well as myself.”

 

Lolo Jones, ASICS
Shuttle Hurdle Relay – Friday, 7 p.m.
On running the shuttle hurdle relay …
“The last time I did that was in college was on the my college relay team that is being inducted into the Penn Relays Hall of Fame. I won’t be there, but one of my teammates will.”

On running a team event …
“Once you’re running the race, you’re still on your own over those 10 hurdles. You’re just combining those 10 other girls. It’s cool to run a shuttle hurdle relay because it’s been so many years since I’ve run it. It’s a good pairing and all the team I’m with are usually the more mellow girls, so I don’t know why they put me on that team. They’re lighthearted and funny so it’ll be a good experience.”

On coming back to Des Moines to compete in a non-individual event …
“It makes it more of a relay/carnival type atmosphere because it’s not my individualized event. With every race I have, it’s still a business for me. I’m trying to get a job done and I’m working over things. Even in a relay situation, I’m still quite serious and things I’m trying to execute in that race. You can saw it takes the pressure off, but if you love your craft, you’re trying to do something well and put that pressure on yourself.”

On running a full hurdles schedule …
“I’m starting to ramp up the training and it’s been a difficult transition from bobsled season because I was two years removed from an indoor season. So it was really hard this year. Coming off a Winter Olympics it was tough and I was going back and forth with Coach Shaver on how to transition back. There’s a lot of emotion that goes into competing for your country and I didn’t realize how draining it would be.”   

Dawn Harper-Nelson, Nike
Shuttle Hurdle Relays – Friday, 7 p.m.
On running a shuttle hurdle relay …
“My mindset is running for the team. For me once you get to this level you’re focused on your individual event. For me we talk about how we approach and execute the beginning, middle and end. The most anxiety you have is what lane? That for me will be the biggest thing, not know which lane. When do I get set, when can I go? I’ll be guessing like the rest of you.”

On talking to Kellie Wells about the shuttle hurdle relay …
“We actually tweeted a little bit saying we know it’s a good experience. We’re ready to go but we haven’t talked too much but we were saying ‘let’s do this for the fans’ and make sure the Drake Relays are pumped up.”

On her connections to Iowa…
“My father, my two little brothers, and my little sister live here [Iowa City] and they’re coming tomorrow, so I’m really excited to see them. I feel like I have a really good fan base, it’s growing more and more, and I love to come here.”

“I keep the key to the city with my trophies because it really is dear to me because it shows they really do support me and appreciate the hard work I put in to come out to the Drake Relays and laying it all out here for the fans. I have my family in St. Louis putting together a charter bus to come see me run. So, yeah, I’m excited. I’m going to have a whole section.”

On the last time she did a shuttle hurdle relay…
“In high school. It doesn’t happen very often and I think that’s why us hurdlers are very excited for it. I’m really excited for it but also very nervous because I’m running a relay and it’s not all about you. I have to perform and put it together and now three other girls’ results depend on mine.”

On how the relay changes how she prepares…
“Absolutely nothing. I think my performance in my individual races has been pretty good and my approach is the same way.”

Michael Tinsley, Nike
400-meter hurdles – 8 p.m.
On what he likes about Drake …
“Last year was my first year running at Drake. I like the crowd and the people. I like how the stadium is intimate and the fans are close right on the edge of the track. It gets you pumped up to run. Everyone seems to be real track-knowledgeable. It’s good when you can go somewhere and feel like people know you and are giving you credit for the all the hard work you put in.”

On the field …
“It’s a really good field and it was a really good field last year. All the races are pretty tough but with Javier Culson and Johnny Dutch it’s going to be a crazy race. I don’t want to predict any times, but I’m sure it’s going to be a fast race. All of those guys are coming in in shape. I was more nervous last year. You don’t get many big races this early in the year and it makes you more hungry to get the season off on a good note.”

Mary Saxer, USA
Pole Vault – Friday, 5:45 p.m.
Assessing the pole vault field…
“It’s set up to be a really good field; We have [Yarisley] Silva from Cuba, who is the Olympic silver medalist and put on a great show last night at the mall and last year here. Kylie [Hutson] put on a great show as well last night at the mall, and myself I won indoor nationals, I think between the three of us and the rest of the field there’s a lot of potential for some really good bars and a good crowd always makes for an exciting competition.”

Kylie Hutson
Pole Vault – Friday, 5:45 p.m.
On the Pole Vault at the Mall…
“We always have a great time at the mall. We’ve both been there for four years now and the atmosphere is just really exciting with fans lining the runways and up on the balcony. It’s really cool because we get partnered with a guy and however high we jump we add it together to determine the winner of the competition. It’s a lot of fun.”

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