Plans to upgrade the "Golden League" to a new "Diamond League" were announce this past week. Beginning in 2010, it will expand the current race series to include meets outside of Europe with stops in China, the United States and perhaps Doha, Qatar. With locations still to be solidified the Diamond League could have anywhere from 12 to 15 meets. Each meet is scheduled to offer over $400,000 in prize money with the stated goal of tieing the sports biggest stars to multi meet contracts to encourage head to head competition.
Nice to see this "Circuit" of meets extend beyond Europe. If the sport is to grow the worlds top athletes must compete in venues outside of Europe. Having two meets here in the US should help marketing of the sport as it will bring unfamiliar names to the fore here. It will be a nice start to making the sport more international here in the US. Perhaps it will encourage our federation to take a look at bidding on the World Championships (hint hint).
I mentioned this past weekend that the SEC is being lead by an awesome group of freshmen this year as evidenced by the SEC Championships . I didn't realize it at the time, but the 6.52 run by Dangelo Cherry was an American Junior Record in the event, smashing the 6.56 previous held by Leonard Scott. Cherry's dash was only .01 off the World Junior Record set by Mark Lewis Francis of Great Britain in 2001. Something special could be in store when Cherry meets up with High School and World Junior 100 Meter Record Holder Jeff Demps (10.01) meet up later this year in NCAA competition. With Demps at the University of Florida and Cherry at Mississippi State, we could see them face off, two or three times on their way to the NCAA Championships final.
The European Championships are up this weekend with the men and women's high jumps leading the way. Blanka Vlasic v. Ariane Friedrich could be THE highlight of the meet. The last time they met both cleared a world leading 2.05m with Friedrich winning on misses. Vlasic is a competitor who will be looking to avenge that loss. Friedrich will be trying to stay undefeated. I'm thinkin Friedrich is on a roll!
Next weekend we get the NCAA Championships and then its time to start looking outdoors.