World Championship Silver Medalist Brianne Theisen-Eaton of Canada and Olympic Champion LaShawn Merritt of USA announced as latest headliners at the Edmonton International Track Classic

Best ever lineup – 4 World Ranked #1 athletes to compete

Brianne Theisen-Eaton, who won the silver in the heptathlon at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, and Olympic champion LaShawn Merritt, who won gold medals at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and last year’s World Championships, are the two latest headliners to join a star-studded field for the Edmonton International Track Classic (EITC).

Theisen-Eaton, originally from Humboldt, Saskatchewan, set the Canadian record for indoor pentathlon earlier this season and just three weeks ago set the Canadian record for the heptathlon. In addition to her silver at last year’s World Championships in the heptathlon, she also took home the silver medal in the pentathlon at the 2014 World Indoor Championships. She’s the only Canadian woman to hit the podium in multi events at the World Championships and is one of Canada’s top threats to bring home a medal at the 2016 Olympics. She is married to American decathlete Ashton Eaton and together they form the “power couple” of athletics.

Merritt is the number one ranked 400m runner in the world and in addition to taking home the gold in that event at the 2008 Olympics and last year’s World Championships, he also was part of the American relay teams that won gold at both events. He devastated a strong field in the 400m at the 2013 World Championships. His personal best for the 400m is 43.74 seconds, which is the fifth fastest time ever run in the 400m. In what may be his most stunning accomplishment, Merritt has taken home a gold medal in the last four World Championships in either the 400m or the 4X400m relay.

Merritt and Theisen-Eaton are both ranked number one in the world in their sports and will join two other top-ranked athletes at EITC – Justin Gatlin of the USA in the 100m and Warren Weir of Jamaica in the 200m.

EITC Meet Director Peter Ogilvie says, “With today’s announcement, there is no question the Track Classic will have the strongest line-up in our history and may have the best line-up ever to compete at a track and field event in Canada. I don’t know anywhere else that fans have been able to see four number one-ranked athletes in their sports, plus some other incredible talent. Our event has never had a number one ranked athlete at the time and this year we have four.”

Also confirmed this morning for this year’s event is young Canadian sprinter Aaron Brown, who captured the bronze medal in the 4X100m relay at last year’s World Championships. He’ll compete in the 200m against Weir and American Wallace Spearmon, who holds the American indoor record for the 200m and won the bronze in two previous World Championships.

Athletes announced in the last few weeks include Canadian high jump star Derek Drouin, hurdler Angela Whyte of Edmonton, Olympic silver medalist Luguelin Santos of the Dominican Republic and Olympic gold medalist Francena McCorory of the US, who will both run in the 400m of their respective events.

The EITC will feature 17 athletes who have won medals at the Olympics or World Championships. Athletes will come from 13 countries and a total of 16 events will take place on July 6 in about two and a half hours.

The Edmonton International Track Classic is an opportunity to witness and support Canadian athletes in their quest for success at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland starting July 23. The EITC is part of the Edmonton International Athletics Festival, June 1 to July 6, with events held at locations throughout Edmonton.

Tickets are on sale now for as low as $12 per person, and available through the Edmonton International Track Classic website. More information can be found on the event on the EITC Facebook page and on Twitter (@athleticsab). 


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