Jason Richardson, Jesse Williams, Aries Merritt, and Sanya Richards-Ross are among the stars set to join previously announced 2011 World champions Yohan Blake (100m), Carmelita Jeter (100m), and David Rudisha (800m), giving the event seven current World champions with many more athletes yet to be announced.
Topping the charts in the 110m Hurdles is Richardson, the American whose meteoric rise as a pro in 2011 reached its zenith when he was crowned the World champion. Richardson, 26, was the 2003 IAAF World Youth Champion at both the 110m and 400m Hurdles—the only athlete ever to score that double—and the 2008 NCAA Champion at the high hurdles, but made his major breakthrough as a pro just last year. In 2011, he improved his personal best all the way down to 13.04.
Going toe to toe with Richardson will be Merritt, another new American star. Merritt, also 26, won the 2012 World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, giving the adidas Grand Prix field both the reigning indoor and outdoor World champions and a matchup of athletes at turning points in their careers after following similar paths: Merritt was the 2004 World Junior champion and 2006 NCAA champion in the 110m Hurdles before making his biggest mark as a pro this winter.
They will have to contend with no less than veteran superstar David Oliver, who in 2010 became the third-fastest man in history when he ran 12.89 to break the American record. Undefeated outdoors and ranked #1 in the world that year, the 30-year-old Oliver is also the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist and the 2010 World Indoor Championships bronze medallist.
All three will be chasing the meet record of 12.92, set by Liu Xiang in 2007 in a thrilling duel that saw American Terrence Trammell finish second in 12.95, the first sub-13 of his career and still his personal best. Their times ranked as the fastest and third-fastest in the world that season.
Headlining the men’s high jump will be Williams, the 2011 World champion, who last summer became the first American man to win that title since Charles Austin in 1991. The 28-year-old is a five-time U.S. champion and the 2011 Jesse Owens Award winner, and heads into the 2012 Olympic Games as a gold medal favorite.
Richards-Ross, 27, is the 2009 World champion and 2012 World Indoor Champion at 400m. The American record holder (48.70), she is the 2008 Olympic bronze medallist and also owns two Olympic gold medals and four World Championships gold medals in the 4x400m Relay.
Also added to the field are Jamaican stars Sherone Simpson, the 2008 Olympic silver medalist at 100m and 2004 Olympic gold medallist in the 4x100m Relay; and Jermaine Gonzales, 2011 World Championships bronze medalist in the 4x400m Relay.
Organisers for the IAAF
Samsung Diamond League - 2012 Calendar
Doha, QAT - 11 May
Shanghai, CHN - 19 May
Rome, ITA - 31 May
Eugene, USA - 2 June
Oslo, NOR - 7 June
New York, USA - 9 June
Paris, FRA - 6 July
London, GBR - 13 / 14 July
Monaco, MON - 20 July
Stockholm, SWE - 17 August
Lausanne, SUI - 23 August
Birmingham, GBR - 26 August
Zurich, SUI - 30 August
Brussels, BEL - 7 September