Tyson Gay, Blanka Vlaic, Jeremy Wariner, Jessica Ennis Go to Top of Empire State Building in Advance of 2011 adidas Grand Prix
By adidas Grand Prix (Sponsored Post)
June 10, 2011
Champions set their sights high at adidas Grand Prix
Blanka Vlaic is accustomed to scaling great heights. But 320 meters/1,050 feet is impressive even for a four-time World Champion who is the #2 high jumper in history.
Vlaic, along with Tyson Gay, Jeremy Wariner and Jessica Ennis, capped off a press conference in advance of Saturdays adidas Grand Prix with a photo shoot on the observation deck of the Empire State Building. Pointing out landmarks and snapping some photos of their own, for a moment on Thursday afternoon the four acted like any other tourists to the Big Apple.
At 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Icahn Stadium, however, it will be back to business on the sixth stop of the Samsung Diamond League circuit. For each athlete in the meet, that means something a little different:
- Toward the end of last year I started executing a lot, and my times started dropping, said Wariner, the 2004 Olympic gold medalist and two-time World Champion at 400 meters who finished 2010 ranked #1 in the world. Im hoping to be back in the 44s.
- Im really excited to be here, said four-time Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius, on his quest for an Olympic A qualifying time in the 400. Motivating me is the chance to be able to run against the likes of these guys, he said, gesturing toward Wariner. When he lined up against able-bodied athletes for the first time in 2007, he said, he felt he hadnt really earned a spot in the race. Having run 45.61 earlier this season, however good enough for the World Championships B standard he now feels he belongs, and a personal best on Saturday will only cement that.
always run with my heart, said Gay, who calls himself 75 percent fit
as he works through a right-hip issue but nonetheless ran a
world-leading 9.79-second 100-meters last weekend. No. 2 is Steve
Mullings, at 9.80, and hes in the race. I know Im going to have to
step up my game to another level, said Gay. That level would be fast,
Vlaic, undefeated in the Diamond
League last year and named IAAF Female Athlete of the Year, took a rare
indoor season off. She has eased into the outdoor season so far but is
rounding back into her usual form just in time to make her U.S. debut.
This is my first time jumping here, the Croatian superstar told dozens of journalists on the first day of pre-meet press conferences. I will see how the time difference affects me. My first target is to stay awake. My second is to give everything I can.
Whether that will result in her first jump of 2 meters/6 feet, 6.75 inches this season, time will tell. It could well be much higher. Im very confident that great results will come, she said. Im not training anymore to jump 2 meters; Im training to jump higher.
Given that Vlaic has jumped higher in each of her three meets so far this year all victories fans might be lucky enough to see The Dance, a celebration that is the superstars own.
Sometimes even Im surprised, she says. The energy blinds me. In private life Im more of a shy person than I am on the field. Sports is not only about results; its about a show. People want to see you cry, smile, scream. Theres too much noise in the stadium, so [fans] cant hear. You have to show it.
Some tickets remain for the adidas Grand Prix on Saturday, which is set to feature 17 athletes who rank #1 in the world this season. At Icahn Stadium on Randalls Island, the event has hosted two World Records since it began in 2005 and this year will bring more than two dozen Olympic and World Champions to New York City. Tickets are available at the event website, www.adidasgrandprix.com , or by calling 1-877-849-8722.