In what promises to be one of the most competitive hurdle matchups of the 2012 indoor season, four possible 2012 Olympic finalists will contest the women’s 50m Hurdles at the U.S. Open Track & Field event at New York's Madison Square Garden on 28 January, the opening meet of the 2011 IAAF Indoor Permit Meeting Series.
Defending Olympic champion Dawn Harper, two-time defending World indoor champion Lolo Jones, USA indoor and outdoor champion Kellie Wells and British national record holder Tiffany Ofili Porter will go head-to-head in a hurdling showcase.
The showdown adds to previously announced stars Jesse Williams, Christian Cantwell, Adam Nelson, Bernard Lagat, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Asafa Powell, David Oliver and Jenn Suhr at the inaugural edition of the U.S. Open.
Also the kick-off event of USA Track & Field’s Visa Championship Series, the U.S. Open will be the first track meet to be held in the newly renovated Garden and will be the first major professional meet in the United States as the 2012 Olympic year gets under way. It will be broadcast from 7-9 p.m. on Sunday, 29 January 29 on ESPN2.
Best of the best
The 2009 USA outdoor champion, Harper has made a name for herself by performing at her best when the chips are down. Third at the 2008 Olympic Trials, she won Olympic gold in Beijing. Likewise, she was third at the 2011 USA Outdoor Championships and came through with bronze at the 2011 World Championships in Daegu.
One of the most recognizable personalities in the sport, Jones is a two-time World indoor champion in the 60m Hurdles and is the U.S. record holder in the event as well. Although she battled injuries throughout 2011, Jones is a two-time Visa Champion as the top performer of the Indoor Visa Championship Series and was the 2010 USA Outdoor champion, the same year she broke Gail Devers’ U.S. indoor record.
The breakout hurdles star of the 2011 season, Wells shot to prominence by winning the USA indoor and outdoor titles and dominating top marks lists. Her winning time of 7.79 seconds at the 2011 USA Indoor Championships was the No. 1 time in the world for the year, and at the time gave her the nine fastest times in the world. Outdoors she was as dominant domestically and was a medal favorite for the World Championships, where she made the final but hit a hurdle and fell. She will look for her first global medals in 2012.
A two-time NCAA indoor champion and three-time champ outdoors while competing at the University of Michigan, Tiffany Ofili Parker won a bronze medal at the 2006 World Junior Championships while competing for the United States. Now representing Great Britain, she is that country’s national record holder outdoors and was fourth at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships.
Organisers for the IAAF