The fastest sprinter in the world and the most promising middle distance runner on the planet. Sprint queen Elaine Thompson Herah, three-time Olympic gold medallist in the 100m, 200m and the 4x100 relay in Tokyo, and Athing Mu, Olympic gold medallist in the 800 metres and in the 4x400 relay join the line-up of the Golden Gala meeting. These two stars can shine in the Italian leg of the Wanda Diamond League on Thursday 9 June in the Olympic Stadium in Rome together with other olympic, world and European medallists for an evening of unforgettable emotions. The other new entry of the day in the 400m is US sprinter Michael Cherry, who won the 4x400 relay Olympic gold medal and finished fourth in the individual race at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson Herah, one of the biggest world athletics stars of this period, who was voted the Athlete of the Year by World Athletics last season together with Warholm, will chase her fourth win at the Golden Gala after collecting three victories in the 100 metres in 2020 (10.85), 2019 (10.89) and 2016 (10.87). She will face many of the best sprinters in the world in a fabulous women’s 200m race: Olympic 400 metres champion Shaunae Miller Uibo from the Bahamas, world 200m champion Dina Asher Smith from Great Britain, US sprint legend Allyson Felix, who will run her final race in Rome before retiring from sport, world 60 metres indoor champion Mujinga Kambundji from Switzerland, Marie Josée Ta Lou from Ivory Coast. Beth Dobbin from Great Britain and Italian rising star Dalia Kaddari will join the field. With this line-up the meeting record set by Dina Asher Smith with 22.06 in the edition of the Golden Gala held in Florence last year is under threat. Elaine Thompson Herah’s outstanding collection of titles includes not only the three olympic gold medals in Tokyo (with the sensational times of 10.61, 21.53 and 41.02), two Olympic gold medals in the 100m and 200m and the silver with the 4x100 relay at the Rio Olympic Games, and the world 4x100 gold medal in Beijing 2015. She can be considered as the fastest woman in the world for titles, but also for her 100m PB of 10.54 set in Eugene last year, which has moved her up to second in the world all-time list, just 0.05 off the world record held by Florence Griffith Joyner. In the 200 metres only the unforgettable US world record holder ran faster than the 30-year Jamaican sprinter.
The very young US athlete Athing Mu, who will turn 20 on the eve of the Golden Gala, arrives in Rome with two Olympic gold medals in the 800 metres with the phenomenal time of 1:55.21 and in the 4x400 relay with the US “dream team”, also formed by Allyson Felix and the two US hurdlers Sydney McLaughlin and Dalilah Muhammad. This brilliant athlete came to the fore during last year’s indoor season, when she improved the world under 20 record in the 800 metres. During the summer season she confirmed her class with the Olympic gold medal, when she was just 19 years old, showing her outstanding front-running tactic. In her debut at the Golden Gala she will face world champion Halimah Nakaayi from Uganda and other top-level rivals like Natoya Goule from Jamaica, Jemma Reekie from Great Britain and Rose Mary Almanza from Cuba.
The men’s 400 metres race is going to become more outstanding with Michael Cherry, an excellent relay specialist, who won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo with the 4x400 relay, the world titles the 4x400 and the mixed 4x400 relays in Doha. Cherry set his lifetime best of 44.03 in the 400 metres in Brussels 2021 and won the Diamond League title in Zurich last year. The 27-year US 400m sprinter will face Olympic champions from London 2012 (Kirani James from Grenada) and from Rio de Janeiro 2016 (world record holder Wayde VanNiekerk from South Africa), Isaac Makwala from Botswana, US Vernon Norwood and Dutchman Liemarvin Bonevacia.