Women's discus competition returns to Drake Relays
Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Brown Trafton, American record holder Suzy Powell-Roos and 2008 Olympic Trials winner Aretha Hill will headline the field as the women's discus returns to the Drake Relays this year for the first time since 1988.
The second event of the 2009 USA Track & Field Outdoor Visa Championship Series, the 100th Drake Relays will be televised April 26 from 2 p.m.-3 p.m. Eastern Time on ESPN2.
"This is a field that we've never seen the likes of at Drake," said Relays director Brian Brown. "It is a U.S. high performance event in which our fans will see outstanding competition."
Brown has installed new stands along the northwest Drake Stadium throwing area to accommodate spectators for the event, which will be held at 2:30 p.m. during the Saturday (April 25) session of the Drake Relays.
On her first attempt in the Olympic final in Beijing, Brown Trafton threw the discus 64.74 meters/212 feet 5 inches, less than five feet off her personal best. During the remainder of the competition the other competitors tried and failed to better Brown Trafton's first attempt, but by the time she entered the ring for her final throw, the gold medal was hers. It was the United States' first gold medal in the women's discus since Lillian Copeland in 1932, and the first medal of any kind since Leslie Jean Deniz won silver in the boycott-afflicted 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.
Powell-Roos, who competed in the 1996, 2000 and 2008 Olympics, set the existing American record of 67.67m/222 feet at the 2007 Maui "Big Wind" Discus Challenge to surpass the 21-year-old U.S. women's record of 66.10m/216-10 set by Carol Cady in 1986. A six-time USA runner-up (1997, 2000-03, 2006), Powell-Roos claimed her first U.S. title at the 2007 USA Outdoor Championships.
Hill, who owns a personal best of 65.87m/216-1 in 2004, also is a three-time Olympian, competing in 1996 and 2004, while placing 10th at the 2008 Olympics at 59.80m/196-2. She was ranked #6 in the world in 2006, #7 in 2004, #8 in 2003 and #10 in 2002. Hill has been among the top and most consistent American throwers for the last 10 years, winning the U.S. Outdoor Championships in 2003, 2004 and 2006.
As a senior at Washington, Hill set a then American collegiate record of 65.60m/215-3 in 1998, and won a gold medal at the 2003 Pan American Games.
The field also includes Becky Breisch, who won the 2005 U.S. Outdoor Championship, while winning the 2003 NCAA Outdoor shot put title and 2004 NCAA discus crown at Nebraska. Breisch, who was fourth in the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, owns a personal best of 67.38m/221-1 set in 2007.
For more information on the 2009 USATF Outdoor Visa Championship Series, visit: USATF.org.
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.
For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.