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5/16/2024 by Barbara Huebner

Glamour and Gold Medalists Await at adidas Atlanta City Games on Saturday

If you're looking for a preview of the Paris Olympics with a rollicking dash of panache, look no further than the Meadow in Piedmont Park on Saturday. That's where Olympic gold medalists, World Champions and World and American-record holders such as Noah Lyles, Grant Holloway, Anna Hall, Tara Davis-Woodhall, Tobi Amusan and Wayde van Niekerk will be among the headliners in the return of the adidas Atlanta City Games.

And if you're looking for a chance to witness a race that could go down in Georgia history, walk across the street to the Midtown Mile right afterward, where Tommy Latham will attempt to become the first Georgia high school athlete to run a sub-4-minute mile.

Latham, a rising senior at Marist School, just last week broke the 25-year-old state record at 1600 meters when he won the GHSA 6A state title in 4:01.66, the second-fastest time in the country so far this season. He leads a Boys' Invitational Mile field that features 10 of the 12 fastest Georgia high school athletes this season.

After the inaugural adidas Atlanta City Games last spring, Lyles offered this review: "I'd say it's pretty hype."

It was high praise from the effervescent sprinter, a six-time World Champion at 100 meters, 200 meters and the 4x100-meter relay, who bounded up the track to his intro song before getting down to the business of winning the 150 meters. It's a title he will defend on Saturday as he faces Great Britain's Zharnel Hughes, a two-time World Championships bronze medalist.

Also returning is Robert Dunning, to whom the Georgia high school athletes can look for home- grown inspiration. Dunning, the 2021 NCAA Champion and 2024 Olympic hopeful who now runs professionally for adidas, competed for Kennesaw Mountain High School. Last year, he smashed his personal best here in finishing second to his training partner Holloway, a six-time World Champion and the second-fastest man in history, who will also be back.

"My friends and family will be out there supporting me," said Dunning, the 2015 GHSA 6A champion in the 300-meter hurdles and high jump who was an All-Metro selection that season. "I'm in my hometown. There's nothing more I can ask for. Atlanta always shows love to me when I run there."

In addition to Holloway and Dunning, marquee athletes and matchups in the City Games, which will feature athletes from 15 countries competing on a specially built elevated track, include:

  • Women's 100-meter hurdles: Amusan, the World Record-holder from Nigeria, will be challenged by American Record-holder Kendra Harrison, who held the world mark until Amusan claimed it on her way to becoming World Champion in 2022. Hall, a two-time World Championships bronze medalist in the heptathlon, is also in the field.
  • Men's 100 meters: American Trey Cunningham, the 2022 World Champs silver medalist in the 110-meter hurdles, will face Kenya's Ferdinand Omanyala, the 2022 Commonwealth Games gold medalist who drew dozens of flag-waving fans when he competed here last year.
  • Women's Long Jump: Fan favorite Davis-Woodhall, the reigning World Indoor Champion, brings with her the longest jump in the world this year and a spicy rivalry with fellow American Quanesha Burks. Consider this a preview of their looming Olympic Trials matchup in the long jump. As a bonus, heptathlete Hall will be contesting this event, too.
  • Men's 200 meters: The last two Olympic gold medalists at 400 meters - van Niekerk of South Africa (2016) and Steve Gardiner of the Bahamas (2020) - step down in distance, joined by 2017 World Champion (4x400m relay) Jareem Richards of Trinidad and Tobago. Van Niekerk, who still holds the 400-meter World Record, has slowly worked his way back after tearing his ACL in a celebrity rugby match in late 2017.

Top Georgia high school sprinters will get their star turn on the track, as well, with the Girls' 100 Meters and Boys' 110-Meter Hurdles in the limelight as part of the main program. In the 100, five of the eight fastest girls this season, led by Somto Igwilo of Walton High School and Sanaa Frederick of Druid Hills High School, will line up. In the hurdles, top-ranked Dominiq Northington of Woodland fronts a lineup that features five of the seven fastest boys in 2024.

The field for the high school girls' pole vault couldn't get much better, with Madison Townsend of Westminster School headlining a showdown of the top five girls this season. On the boys' side, Jordan Frank of North Springs leads a roster that includes five of the seven top jumpers.

After action on the sprint track winds up, focus will shift to the oval at Midtown High School, where Latham will chase history in the loaded Boys' Invitational Mile field and Claire Petersen of Blessed Trinity tops the field for the Girls' Invitational Mile.

The day's competition will begin at 1 p.m. with the adidas Atlanta City Games - Youth, with the high school pole vaults and boys and girls as young as 9 years old on the track. The adidas Atlanta City Games will kick off at 3:45 p.m. with the men's long jump, and a series of high school miles, culminating in the boys' and girls' invitationals, begins at Midtown High School at 8:30 p.m. All are free, as is the livestream from 4:45-7:45 EDT on the adidas YouTube page. The Boys' Invitational Mile, featuring Latham, will be shown on Instagram Live. Highlights will also be available on the adidas Atlanta City Games Instagram, Facebook and X accounts.

To view a meet schedule and learn more about the event, visit adidasAtlantaCityGames.com.