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Countdown to Athletissima in Lausanne

This week, Athletissima, one of the major events of Lausanne’s summer season, will gather some of the world’s best athletics stars. The elite sport competition will be held on 6 July 2017 and is part of the Diamond League, a series of the most prestigious international athletics events. This year, the Olympic Capital will welcome 26 world and Olympic champions and four of the 17 events - 400m men, 800m women, 400m hurdles women and high jump - of the main programme will feature the top-3 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

South African Wayde Van Niekerk will be one of the star athletes of the evening. The world record holder, world and Olympic champion will run his first 400m in Europe this season.  Reigning world and Olympic champion Christian Taylor will compete in the triple jump. In the 1500m, a great head-to-head can be expected between the Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz (USA) and the world champion Asbel Kiprop (KEN). The same goes for men’s pole vault, where the world record holder Renaud Lavillenie (FRA) will compete against Rio bronze medalist Sam Kendricks (USA), who currently holds the world lead, reigning world champion Shawn Barber (CAN) and the rising star from Sweden Armand Duplantis, aged just  18. In the 100m, the runner-up at the world championships and the Olympic Games Justin Gatlin (USA) and Asafa Powell (JAM), 4-time winner on the Pontaise track, will face the very fast South African Akani Simbine, who has already clocked six sub 10 second times this year. This race will also feature Alex Wilson, the Swiss national record holder in the 100m and 200m. Among the many other Swiss who will be present, the performances of Kariem Hussein in the 400m hurdles as well as Julien Wanders, who will try to get the qualifying standards for the world championships in the 5000m, will stir the crowd in Lausanne.
The women’s events will be just as attractive. The 400m hurdles will be very exciting as the three medallists from Rio - Dalilah Muhammad (USA), Sara Slott Petersen (DEN) and Ashley Spencer (USA) - will be on the start line. In the 800 m, the winning trio from Rio - Caster Semenya (RSA), Francine Niyonsaba (BDI) and Margaret Wambui (KEN) - will have the opportunity to show their supremacy in the event.  In the 200 m, everyone will be eagerly awaiting the encounter between the reigning world champion Dafne Schippers (NED) and Tori Bowie (USA), the fastest this season.   The Swiss Lea Sprunger, Selina Büchel and Mujinga Kambundji, who will feature in the line-up of the three above races, will have a good opportunity to highlight their ambitions at an international level.

However, Athletissima is more than an athletics meeting. Like in previous years, this major sport event has been an occasion to offer various activities to local kids and young people to get them active and enthusiastic about athletics. Last weekend, the Olympic Museum organised a relay race for kids and their families and today, some of the world’s biggest athletics stars participating in Athletissima are holding training sessions for kids in Lausanne, Montreux and Sion. In addition, young hopefuls from local clubs as well as from national level will give their best while racing in the stadium ahead of the official start of the programme. 

Background information
Athletissima was held for the first time on July 8, 1977 at the Stade Pierre-de-Coubertin in Lausanne, at the instigation of former 800m runner Jacky Delapierre.

 Learn more about the event here.