Harry Jerome International Track Classic
The inaugural Achilles meet (now called the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic), the preview to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, was held at Vancouver’s Empire Stadium shortly before competitors were to leave for the Games in Japan. The idea was popular, the event compelling, but Mother Nature proved not be a track and field fan and served up a cold, soggy, September day that kept many fans away.
Since then world and Olympic champions, world record holders, Canadian stars and young hopefuls have thrilled spectators, achieved personal bests and, thanks to the vision and dedication of the Achilles International Track and Field Society, continued in their quest to become Faster, Higher and Stronger.
In 2013, the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic completed its 30th consecutive year. Over 12 nations participated providing our British Columbian and Canadian athletes with high level international competition. The IAAF statistical group, All-Athletics in Switzerland, ranked this meet the 4th best meet in North America.
The 2013 Canadian team went on from the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic to the World Championships in Moscow in August to achieve their highest ever medal total of 5 and a record 12th rank in the world as a country.
1983: This meet, organized by the Achilles International Track and Field Society, was called the Labatts International Track Classic Pre-Olympic meet, heralding "the return of world-class track and field to Vancouver" as the 1984 Olympics loomed the following year in Los Angeles. Pre-eminent Irish runner Eamonn Coghlan came in to highlight the international meet and the men's mile was indeed a memorable race as Coghlan took the lead midway through the race and ran away to win in 3:54.03. Coghlan, who was fourth in the 1,500 metres at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, went on later in 1983 to win the 5,000 metres at the world track and field championships in Helsinki.
1984: This year marked the renaming of the event to the Harry Jerome International Track Classic in honour of the late North Vancouver sprinter. Talk about photo finishes! Venerable New Zealand miler John Walker was sure he had won the mile race at Swangard Stadium in a thrilling finish over Australian rival Mike Hillardt. But even though the Kiwi raised his arms in triumph after the finish it was Hillardt who prevailed over 1976 Olympic champion Walker, winning the race in 3:52.34 to better the meet and Canadian open mark 3:53.04 set a year earlier by Irish runner Eamonn Coghlan.. Canadian Simon Hoogewerf was also embroiled in some 800-metre dramatics. The two-lap race was won by American Johnny Gray in 1:44.65 while Hoogewerf finished fourth in 1:46.72, outside the 1:46.5 needed to qualify for Canada's Los Angeles Olympic team. But four officials caught Hoogewerf in a hand-timed 1:46.4. In shorter distances the hand-time was not considered acceptable at the time but at distances 800 metres and up the timing was accepted. The women's 200 metres was again won by Jamaica's Merlene Ottey, who would continue to be among the world's best nearly two decades later. Meantime, Canada's Lynn Williams took third in the 1,500 metres - weeks later she would earn a bronze medal in the women's Olympic 3,000 metres that saw Mary Decker Slaney fall to the track in what was supposed to be a battle for Olympic gold with South African rival Zola Budd.
1985: A year after the dramatic events in Los Angeles, Olympic rivals Mary Decker Slaney and Lynn Williams contested the women's mile with Slaney the runaway winner in a Canadian open record of 4:22.30. Williams took second in a Canadian native record 4:29.67, adding the mile to the cache of Canadian marks she also held over 1,000, 3,000 and 5,000 metres. The men's mile showcased Canadians in the top spots, with Dave Reid outkicking Dave Campbell to win the race followed by Vancouver's Rob Lonergan.
Masters runner Hugh Clifford shaved 11 seconds off his Canadian over-75 record in the masters mile with a run of 6:57.40, wheelchair racer Diane Rakiecki rewrote her Canadian record over 1,500 metres and Debbie Brill took the high jump with a leap of 1.95 metres. Decathlete Dave Steen of Burnaby won the men's pole vault in a personal best 5.30 metres - three years later in Seoul Steen would emerge as a Canadian team hero with a bronze medal in the grueling, 10-event decathlon.
1986: The swim-bike-run sport of triathlon was just beginning around the world but a track and field version was contested at Swangard Stadium for the 1986 Jerome meet. World decathlon record holder and 1984 Olympic champion Daley Thompson was the headliner in a three-event competition also featuring American Gary Kinder and Canadian decathlon record holder Dave Steen. The "triathlon" consisted of javelin, hurdles and pole vault but Kinder took the title when both Thompson and Steen couldn't make height in the pole vault. Meantime, world record holder Calvin Smith (9.3 seconds) was a mysterious no-show for his much-anticipated showdown against Canada's Ben Johnson, who took the men's 100 metres. A year later Johnson would win the 100-metre world championship in Rome and two years later, in 1988, he would register a dramatic and controversial victory at the Seoul Olympics, a victory which would end in his testing positive for steroids. Former world triple jump record holder Willie Banks took his specialty, buoyed by the rhythmic clapping and support of the knowledgeable fans while Steve Scott outsprinted Dave Campbell to win the mile.
1987: The men's 1,500 metres captivated the crowd as 1984 Olympic 800-metre gold medallist Joaquim Cruz, venerable Kenyan Mike Boit and rising French star Cyrille Laventure dueled for supremacy with Canadian Dave Campbell, who a year earlier had taken a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games. Campbell grabbed the lead with 300 metres remaining in the race but Cruz wore him down in the homestretch to take first place, followed by Boit and Laventure, then Campbell. Meantime, javelin man Tom Petranoff, ranked No. 1 in the world, set a meet and Canadian open record of 79.62 metres. Olympic silver medallist Kirk Baptise set a meet record of 20.56 seconds in winning the men's 200 metres while Alice Brown won the women's 100 metres in a meet record 11.32 seconds. World No.3-ranked Johnny Gray ignored the rain and won the men's 800 metres. Earlier in the meet fan favourite Hugh Clifford, at age 80 the eldest runner in the meet, finished the masters men's mile in 7 minutes, 19.8 seconds.
1988: Canadian hurdler Julie Rocheleau unleashed a commanding performance, winning the women's 100-metre hurdles in 12.99 seconds, proving a national record of 12.80 seconds set two weeks earlier was no fluke as she had become the first Canadian woman to run the race in under 13 seconds. In the process, she also defeated 1984 Olympic champion Benita Fitzgerald-Brown and former American record holder Stephanie Hightower. Later in the day, Canada's Lynn Williams ran a world best time en route to winning the 1,500 metres. Williams' time of 4:04.25 was the fastest time in the world so far that year and the time was well under the Canadian Olympic team standard. Canadian Doug Consiglio set a Canadian record 3:35.82 and a personal best by some four seconds in finishing second to Kenya's Peter Rono (3:35.59) in the men's 1,500 metres. The time earned Consiglio, a national indoor record holder over 800, 1,000 and 1,500 metres, a spot on Canada's team to the Seoul Olympics. American Johnny Gray established a Canadian open record 1:43.70 in winning the men's 800 metres while Victoria's Trish Wellman took six seconds off her personal best to win the women's two-lap event in 2:01.20.
1989: In a new season after finishing fifth in the 1,500 metres at the Seoul Olympics, Lynn Williams returned to the Harry Jerome International Track Classic with another memorable performance. Williams ran the fastest women's 1,500 metres in the world so far in the season (4:04.86) to win the event, just a week after she registered a world best over 3,000 metres in defeating world 5,000 and 10,000-metre record holder Ingrid Kristiansen in Oregon. Victoria's Dave Campbell stretched to 5,000 metres from his usual 1,500 metres, but he kept his trademark finishing kick to win the event. Brazil's Jose Luis Barbosa prevailed in a photo finish over American John McQuade in the men's 1,500 metres and Canadian high jumper Milt Ottey waged a spirited battle with American Brent Harken in the high jump pit. Harken leaped a meet record 2.30 metres to take first place.
1990: In one of the most exciting finishes in the history of the Harry Jerome meet, Newfoundland's Paul McCloy outsprinted Vancouver-based Paul Williams to win the men's 10,000 metres in rainy conditions at Swangard Stadium. Calling the race the "deepest 10,000-metre field in Canadian history," McCloy edged Williams after a fierce 200-metre sprint to the wire, winning in 28:19.43 with Williams just eight-hundredths of a second behind. Kenyan Kip Kimeli took third. American record holder Steve Scott edged Canada's Colin Mathieson in the men's 1,500 metres while Winnipeg's Chris Weber proved the surprise winner of the men's 3,000 in prevailing over Kenyan star Charles Cheruyiot and American runner Sydney Maree. Calgary's Jillian Richardson won the women's 200 metres despite the soggy conditions.
1991: Mary Slaney made yet another appearance at the Jerome meet, leading from start to finish to win the women's 1,500 metres despite a late charge from Canadian favourite Angela Chalmers. The effort marked a strong comeback effort for Chalmers, who won gold in the 1,500 and 3,000 metres at the 1990 Commonwealth Games but later suffered a stress fracture in her foot and also suffered mononucleosis. Veteran Peter Rono, the 1988 Olympic champion, also returned to the Jerome meet to win the men's 1,500 metres and Brazilian 800-metre ace Jose Luis Barbosa posted the fasted time in the world so far that year, taking the two-lap race in 1:45.65. Nigerian-born, Seattle-based Joseph Taiwo won the men's triple jump with a leap of 16.91 metres, a performance that secured the 30-year-old athlete the top prize of $6,000 awarded to the meet's best performer. Earlier in the meet steeplechaser Graeme Fell won his specialty in a meet record 8:23.17.
1992: Angela Chalmers returned to race the Jerome 1,500 metres again and her winning time of 4:05.49 secured her a spot on Canada's team to the Summer Olympics in Barcelona. In Spain, Chalmers earned a bronze medal from the Olympic 1,500-metre final. New Westminster's Jeff Schiebler, who would go on to set national records in 10,000 and 5,000 metres, set a Canadian junior record in the Jerome men's 3,000-metre steeplechase, finishing seventh among senior-age rivals with an 8:42.36 performance. In the women's 400 metres, longtime rivals Charmaine Crooks and Jillian Richardson didn't disappoint the crowd, waging a spirited battle with Crooks winning in 51.23 seconds. Meantime, B.C. high school record holder Camille Noel finished fourth in a personal best 52.73, qualifying her for the junior world track and field championships and Canada's Olympic relay team.
1993: The 11th annual meet attracted some of track and field's biggest names, who performed despite the dismal, rainy evening conditions at Coquitlam's Town Centre Stadium. Olympic and world champion Carl Lewis ran the anchor leg for his Santa Monica Track Club team in the men's 4x100-metre relay. Joining Lewis on the team was venerable sprinter Floyd Heard, former world 100-metre record holder Leroy Burrell, and 1992 Olympic 200-metre gold medallist Mike Marsh. While the foursome had boasted a plan to rewrite the world record of 37.40 seconds at the Jerome meet, their 38.59 meet record in soggy conditions was still a crowd pleaser. Earlier in the meet, Marsh set a meet record of 20.52 in winning the 200 metres. Abbotsford's Sarah Howeell ran a personal best 4:10.9 to win the women's 1,500 metres to qualify for the World Student Games while national record holder Graeme Fell was best in the men's steeplechase.
1994: Rain hampered what was supposed to be an important meet leading up to the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria but, as usual, the competitors overcame the meteorological adversity. Abbotsford runner Sarah Howell came into the event as a past Canadian champion over 800 and 1,500 metres and was looking to use the event as a prep to gain a spot on Canada's team to Victoria. Everything went according to plan as Howell won her second consecutive Jerome 1,500 metres, outsprinting Germany's Luminilla Zaitec to win in 4:14.42. Dave Whittman led an American sweep of the top three placings in the men's 1,500 metres while Canadian record holder Graeme Fell prevailed in the steeplechase. Defending Canadian 100-metre hurdles champion Donalda Duprey scored a double in winning both women's 100 and 400 hurdles events while Belarussian Tamara Kupriyanovich displayed both power and speed in winning the women's 800 metres in 2:01.31. World No. 1 Andre Cason took the men's 100 metres in a pedestrian 10.32 seconds.
1995: Coquitlam Town Centre played host to the meet again, which featured venerable Olympic and world champion, and world heptathlon record holder Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who opened the meet by winning the women's 100-metre hurdles. Later in the day, 1992 Olympic champion Quincy Watts set a meet record en route to winning the men's 400 metres while world No.1-ranked Dennis Mitchell blasted to victory in the men's 100 metres. In the men's shot put, American C.J. Hunter proved best with a meet-record toss of 20.93 metres. Hunter would go on to win the 1999 world championship, then fall heavily from grace in 2000, where at the Sydney Olympics it was revealed he had tested positive for the steroid nandrolone earlier in the summer. The men's 800-metres proved one of the most entertaining contests, with Toronto's Freddie Williams edging Manitoba's Byron Goodwin to win in 1:47.68.
1996: World 100-metre champion Donovan Bailey sped to victory with a wind-aided 9.97-second time in winning the 100 metres at the Jerome meet, held at Abbotsford's Rotary Stadium. A few weeks later Bailey would go on the win the men's 100 metres and contribute to a Canadian victory in the 4x100-metre relay at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Meantime, Australian sprinter Cathy Freeman prevailed in both the women's 100 and 200 metres. Freeman, a double gold medallist at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, would go on to an emotional, home-country victory in the 400 metres at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia. In other events, American Suzy Hamilton fended off a late sprint from Charmaine Crooks to take the women's 800 metres in meet record time while Graham Hood took the men's 1,500 metres. Longtime Jerome meet supporter Mary Slaney outkicked pacesetter Paula Schnurr to win the women's 1,500 metres.
1997: Canada's Donovan Bailey, the 1996 Olympic 100-metre champion and gold medallist in the 4x100-metre relay, ran the second fastest 100-metre time in the world so far in the season, winning the Jerome meet 100 metres in 9.99 seconds. The event was meant to be a final tune-up for Bailey's celebrated match race in Toronto against American sprint ace Michael Johnson - at that event Johnson pulled up lame midway through the indoor, 150-metre contest. Meantime, Coquitlam runner Leah Pells was a favourite of the 6,000 spectators who attended the Jerome meet at Swangard Stadium. At the 1996 Olympics Pells finished fourth in career-best time in what proved one of the most emotional Canadian Olympic team moments of those Games. At the 1997 Jerome meet Pells burst out of the pack in the third lap and ran away with the women's 1,500 metres, winning in 4:11.17.
1998: Donovan Bailey didn't run the 100 metres, citing a heel injury, but he did anchor a relay team featuring fellow Olympians Bruny Surin and Glenroy Gilbert, and Canadian teammate Trevino Betty to victory in the 4x100 relay. American newcomer Ja'Warren Hooker, a freshman at University of Washington trying to decide between playing football and running, easily won the 100 metres in 10.33 seconds, extending his unbeaten streak to 13 races while Philomena Mensah took the women's race in 11.59. Shane Niemi prevailed in the men's 400 metres while Leah Pells was again best in the women's 1,500 metres with a 4:12.55 effort. Johnny Gray added yet another 800-metre title to his victory chest while Mozambique's Tina Paulina was an easy winner in the women's 800 metres.
1999: Chilly temperatures proved challenging for competitors but several athletes still came through with impressive efforts. American powerhouse Dawn Ellerbe demolished the meet record in the women's hammer throw with a toss of 68.32 metres, with Vancouver thrower Caroline Wittrin fourth, earning a personal best toss of 62.26 metres. At age 39, venerable veteran Johnny Gray showed his heels to a field of younger runners to win the men's 800 metres while Coquitlam's Philomena Mensah ignored the cold and scored a sprint double, taking the women's 100 and 200-metre events. Victoria-based Robyn Meagher took the women's 1,500 metres while 21-year-old Shane Niemi showed the talent that would eventually make him a Canadian record holder, finishing second in the 400 metres with a strong early season performance of 46.09 seconds,
2000: Four-time Canadian 1,500-metre champion Kevin Sullivan made his Jerome meet debut at Swangard Stadium and he didn't disappoint the partisan crowd, winning the men's 1,500 metres over Mexican rival David Galvan. American Sarah Culpepper outkicked Canada's Leah Pells to win the women's 1,500 metres in 4:07.99 but the Canadian's time of 4:08.48 was under the required Olympic standard for the upcoming Games in Sydney. American Jeff Layne took the men's 100 metres followed by Canadian team veteran Glenroy Gilbert, a member of Canada's 4x100 relay team that took gold in the 1996 Olympics. Lance Deal threw 79.41 metres to win the men's hammer throw, rewriting the Jerome meet record he set in 1994 with a toss of 74.68 metres.
2001: The world track and field championships were slated for Edmonton later in the summer, meaning the Jerome meet would have special significance for athletes looking to qualify for the event. Canadian record holder Shane Niemi of Kamloops, looking to put behind him a disappointing 2000 season where he failed to qualify for the Sydney Olympics, sped to an impressive 45.52-second victory in the 400 metres. In the men's 1,500 metres, Canada's Kevin Sullivan was edged at the finish by veteran Mexican David Galvan while another Mexican runner, Maria Dulce Rodriguez, edged local favourite Leah Pells in the women's 1,500-metre event. Veteran sprinter Bruny Surin of Montreal cruised to a 10.26-second victory in the men's 100 metres with wunderkind Nicolas Macrozonaris, a surprise qualifier for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, finishing fifth.
2002: Warm, sunny weather proved a welcome relief from what seemed a myriad of bad weather meets in previous years. Veteran sprinter Bruny Surin suffered an injury and pulled out of the men's 100 metres, leaving Nicolas Macrozonaris to maintain Canada's hopes in the 100 metres, which he did despite a bad start, winning in 10.43 seconds. American Gerald Williams was second in 10.47. Meantime, one-lap sprinter Shane Niemi gave himself a 24th birthday present in winning the men's 400 metres in a meet record 45.20 seconds. Canadian high jumper Mark Boswell, second at the 1999 world championships in Spain, just missed rewriting his Canadian record with an unsuccessful leap at 2.36 metres, but he still won the event with a 2.30 effort, just one centimetre off the meet mark established by Brent Harken many years earlier. Emilie Mondor, who moved from Quebec to study at Simon Fraser University, proved best in the women's 1,500 metres. Her time of 4:11.84 was a personal best by a remarkable five seconds
2003: As in other years of the meet's long and distinguished history, the women's 1,500 metres proved memorable in 2003 with Carmen Douma of Cambridge, Ont., running a personal best 4:08.09 to upset veteran Leah Pells and rising star Emilie Mondor in a close, fast race. Pells, in a comeback season after giving birth to son Luke the previous year, took second in 4:08.37 with Mondor third in 4:11.30. The men's 1,500 metres was won by New Zealand's Adrian Blincoe in 3:40.47, followed by Britain's James Thie, who came into the event having run a 3:57 indoor mile earlier in the year, at 3:42.13. In the men's high jump, American Jamie Nieto and world No.3-ranked Mark Boswell of Canada both cleared 2.25 metres but Nieto won the event on fewer missed attempts. Victoria's Gary Reed won a thrilling 800-metre race over American rival Toby Henkels, prevailing by 16-hundredths of a second. In the women's pole vault, a discipline which made its debut at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Canadian record holder Stephanie McCann of Vancouver was best with a 4.10-metere leap.
2004: The year marked the 50th anniversary of the running of the Miracle Mile, the memorable 1954 British Empire Games showdown between sub-four-minute milers Roger Bannister of Britain and Australian John Landy. Mile greats Peter Snell and John Walker of New Zealand, and American Steve Scott were joined at the meet as honoured guests by Victor Milligan, who finished fourth in the 1954 Miracle Mile race won by Bannister at Vancouver's Empire Stadium. In what was a glorious sunny Canada Day afternoon, the 2004 Jerome meet featured many outstanding performances, including a victory by Kenya's Daniel Komen in the 2010 LegaciesNow men's mile. Komen completed the distance in 3:54.02, leading five other runners - including three Canadians - under the magic four-minute mark. Ryan McKenzie of Windsor, Ont., led the Canadian finishers, finishing fourth in 3:58.52 for his first career sub-four-minute-mile. American veteran Matt Hemingway won the men's high jump and would later go on to take the silver medal at the Summer Olympics in Athens. In other events, Canadian hurdlers Priscilla Lopes and Angela Whyte finished second and third behind women's 100 hurdles winner Danielle Carruthers of the United States. The duo went on to join world champion Perdita Felicien at the Olympics as Canada qualified an unprecedented three women hurdlers for the Games in Athens.
2005: The 2005 event was a historic undertaking as eight athletes from the People's Republic of China took part in the 22nd annual meet on a chilly, late-spring evening at Swangard Stadium. The Pacific World Cup, presented by Paystone.com, was a meet within a meet as athletes from China and Canada competed in six designated events that were part of the 21-event meet card. Each athlete scored points based on their results within the respective events, with Canada prevailing with 34.5 points to China's 19.5. Organizers hoped the format would spark further cooperation and competition between the two nations in track and field, and in other sports as the countries prepare to play host to the Olympic Games - China in 2008 and Canada in 2010. Canadian hurdler Priscilla Lopes set a meet record of 12.98 seconds in winning the women's 100-metre hurdles while China's Gao Shuying also rewrote the meet mark in winning the women's pole vault with a leap of 4.41 metres. Gao would go on to finish fifth with a season-best 4.50 metres at the 2005 world championships in Helsinki. Steeplechaser Alex Genest also came away with a record as his 8:37.83 effort in finishing fourth in the 3,000-metre steeplechase was a Canadian junior record, erasing the former mark of 8:40.98 set by New Westminster's Jeff Schiebler in 1992. The men's 110-metre hurdles also proved a meet highlight as Canada's Karl Jennings outfinished China's Liu Lilu to win in 13.81 seconds to Liu's 13.83.
2006: The 23rd annual Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic presented a challenge to athletes, organizers and spectators as unrelenting cold, wet weather blasted Burnaby's Swangard Stadium. But competition remained fierce as Canada and the People's Republic of China battled again for the Pacific World Cup. In 2005, meet organizers held a limited Canada-China dual meet within the larger meet and the concept was so successful the program was expanded for 2006 to feature an 18-event dual meet with both Canada and China fielding national teams. Canada prevailed over China 96-75 while Team Alberta edged Team BC 76-74 as the 2006 event included a provincial dual meet competition. Spectators went away from the meet having witnessed some strong performances despite the weather, including an impressive win by Chinese hurdler Shi Dongpeng in the men's 110-metre event. Canadian Olympian Angela Whyte won the women's 100-metre hurdles despite banging her right knee on a hurdle during the race. Canadian 800-metre record holder Diane Cummins outfinished China's Liu Qing by 27-hundredths of a second to win the two-lap event in 2:04.23. Liu came into the event as the world's No.1-ranked junior woman over 800 metres and she conceded her Jerome experience will help her quest to qualify for a spot on her country's Olympic team in 2008. Canadian men's 400-metre record holder Tyler Christopher, who joked he was wearing sunglasses to keep the rain out of his eyes, sped to victory in the one-lap sprint. Meantime, Asian record holder Huang Xiaoxiao won the women's 400-metre hurdles and Vancouver runner Corri Fell finished fourth in a personal best 59.98 seconds. The result earned 18-year-old Fell a trip to the world junior track and field championships in Beijing, where she finished 17th.
2007: The impending IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Osaka, Japan were on the minds of many athletes competing at the 24th annual Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic, which again featured Canada and China in a limited dual meet for the Pacific World Cup as part of the larger meet at Swangard Stadium. For the third consecutive year Canada prevailed over China, which in 2007 featured a team of athletes primarily from the provinces of Fujian and Zhejiang. The meet, held in balmy, late-spring conditions, served up several races that ended in photo finishes, including a memorable battle in the women's 800 metres that saw Rebeccca Johnstone of Bowen Island win the two-lap event in 2:03.60 with rival Aimee Teteris second at 2:03.61. Dylan Armstrong of Kamloops unleashed a personal best 20.72-metre toss to win the men's shot put. That effort helped him qualify for the Pan-American Games, where Armstrong won gold with a 20.10-metre effort, and the world championships where Armstrong finished ninth. The IAAF had also designated the 2007 Jerome meet as a relay qualifying event for the Pan-Am Games and world championships but all four Canadian teams failed to make the standard. The men's relay hopes were dashed in the 4x100 when officials ruled a Canadian team exchange took place outside the official zone. In the 4x400 the Canadian men appeared to have a chance at qualifying until 400 hurdles ace Adam Kunkel and 400-metre man Tyler Christopher botched their exchange. Both went on to reach the finals in their respective events at the Osaka world championships. The Canadian 4x400 women's team winning time of 3:36.67 was a meet record but outside the relay qualifying standard for Osaka. Meantime, Canadian record holder Tabia Charles rewrote the Jerome meet women's triple jump record with a 13.40-metre effort.
2008: The 25th Anniversary of the Vancouver Sun Harry Jerome International Track Classic was true to tradition as a preview of the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games. Canadian Olympic bronze medalist to be in the 100m hurdles, Priscilla Lopes-Schliep set a meet record of 12.86 seconds in winning her specialty. She also won the 100m in 11.61 seconds. Dylan Armstrong also beat the meet record with his toss 20.57m. This forecast his tremendous 21.04 Canadian record for 4th in the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Gary Reed, the 2007 silver medalist at the World Championship once again won his specialty, the 800m in 1:45.44. He was an ever so close 4th place in the Beijing Olympics. Taylor Milne was the surprise winner in the 1500m where his time of 3:36.00 met the Olympic Standard and lead six Canadians under the magic barrier of 3:40.00. Kara Goucher won the women’s version in 4:06.17 while Diane Cummins won the 800m in 2:03.13. The Jerome Outreach Program brought over 500 elementary students to Swangard Stadium to run the 4x100m relay.
2009: Taking place just two weeks before Canadian and U.S. national championships, the July 14 meet was a warm and sunny tune-up for athletes on both sides of the border. Several local athletes thrilled the crowds with winning performances. Kamloops native and 2007 World Championship silver medalist Gary Reed ran away with the men’s 800 metres in a convincing 1:45.95. Dylan Armstrong showed the form that gave him fourth place at the Beijing Olympics with a 20.58-m shot put. SFU grad Ruky Abdulai broke the meet record in the long jump with a leap of 6.60.
International athletes also provided exciting entertainment for track fans. 2008 U.S. high jump champion Jesse Williams tied the 21-year-old meet record of 2.31. Nine-time NCAA champion Sally Kipyego showed typical Kenyan form in taking the women’s 1500 metres over Kelowna’s Malindi Elmore, clocking 4:07.68. American Will Leer outkicked compatriot Stephen Pifer to win the men’s 1500 in 3:39.76. Jamaican sprinter Lerone Clarke beat Albertan speedsters Sam Effah and Brian Barnett in the men’s 100m, with a personal best of 10.22.