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Michael Norman Leads U.S. Sweep In Men’s 400-meter At Prefontaine Classic

By Karen Price | June 30, 2019, 7:19 p.m. (ET)

Michael Norman crosses the finish line at the Prefontaine Classic on June 30, 2019 in Stanford, Calif.


He didn’t get the world record observers thought he might, but Michael Norman did win comfortably in the men’s 400-meter at the Diamond League Prefontaine Classic at Stanford University in California on Sunday. 

Christian Coleman and Rai Benjamin were also big winners at the annual event, held in Stanford this year because of stadium remodeling in Eugene, Oregon. 

Norman, who holds the world’s fastest time this year, ran the men’s 400 in 44.62 seconds to highlight a 1-2-3 finish by the Americans. Kahmari Montgomery was second, finishing in 45.12 seconds, followed by defending Diamond League champion Fred Kerley in 45.33 seconds. It was the first time Norman and Kerley raced each other since Kerley won both the NCAA and national titles in 2017, which was also the last time Norman lost in the 400. 

Benjamin also took first place with a win in the men’s 400-meter hurdles in a new world-leading time of 47.16 seconds, the ninth-fastest mark of all time. 

Coleman led from the start in the men’s 100-meter and lowered his world-leading time for the third time this year, from 9.86 seconds in Shanghai to 9.85 seconds in Oslo to 9.81 seconds at Stanford. It was also his first time beating three-time Olympian Justin Gatlin, the 2017 world champion. Gatlin, 37, finished second with a time of 9.87 seconds.

A number of other Americans also finished in the top three at the legendary meet. 

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Two-time Olympian Emma Coburn took second in the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, clocking in at a season’s-best time of 9:04.90 minutes despite a fall during the race. It was a good time, but not to the level of Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech, the reigning world record holder who set a new world lead of 8:55.58. 

Reigning world champion and Olympic bronze medalist Sam Kendricks took second in the pole vault. He cleared 5.88 meters, and although Sweden’s Armand Duplantis missed that height on his first attempt he elected to go even higher on his final two attempts. He made 5.93 meters and Kendricks couldn’t match. 

Chase Ealey took third in the women’s shot put with a throw of 19.23 meters while Ryan Crouser, the world leader this year, finished second in the men’s event with a throw of 22.17 meters. 

Vashti Cunningham became the ninth American ever to clear two meters even in the high jump, taking second place with that new personal best. 

South Africa’s Caster Semenya, a two-time Olympic champion in the 800 meters, ran the distance for the first time since setting a world lead on May 3. She is appealing a ruling by the IAAF that women with elevated testosterone levels must lower them in order to compete, drawing speculation that this may have been her last race at the distance she’s dominated for years. She was off world record pace but won easily in 1:55.70 with Americans Ajee Wilson, Raevyn Rogers and Hanna Green placing second through fourth behind her. Wilson, the next closest competitor, ran a 1:58.36. Semenya hasn’t lost in the 800 since 2015. 

The Diamond League next heads to Lausanne, Switzerland, for Athletissima Lausanne on July 5.

Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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