A world-record breaking event in 2016
By the time July 2016 rolled around the Anniversary Games was arguably as established in the British summer sporting calendar as Wimbledon and the F1 Grand Prix with a third edition booked in at the London Stadium.
What was also becoming as guaranteed as strawberries and cream at Wimbledon or a Martin Brundle grid walk at Silverstone, was the legend Usain Bolt being wheeled out onto the track to an adoring crowd.
Previous years saw him aboard a rocket and a classic car but this time around it was much more modern as he lapped up the attention from the back of a pickup truck.
In each of the two Anniversary Games prior to 2016, Bolt was billed as the headline act and delivered upon it. However, while still notching a win in the 200m, he was knocked off top spot as a glittering two-day event unfolded.
That’s because American Kendra Harrison delivered the best performance in Anniversary Games history as she smashed a world record with a scintillating run of 12.20 seconds in the 100m hurdles.
The unique appeal of these particular Anniversary Games was to wave off the world’s best athletes – in particular the Brits – ahead of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio.
But get this – Harrison didn’t even qualify for Team USA.
Meanwhile, by 2016, British wins at the event were expected and Laura Muir delivered in style in the 1500m by breaking Dame Kelly Holmes’ 12-year-old national mark while the 4x100m women’s quartet followed suit.
The global firsts didn’t stop with Harrison as, in a move rarely seen globally but regularly in the UK, Olympic and Paralympic events were included in the same schedule.
The day after Harrison’s heroics, British Paralympians Richard Whitehead and Libby Clegg scorched to their own 200m world records.
British favourite Mo Farah – himself paraded around aboard a pickup at the start of the second day – would again follow Bolt’s lead as he won the 5000m in a world leading time to cap off another hugely successful event.
And remember we talked about British victories? There were a further four for Olympic athletes including a world lead for the 4x100m relay men and a crowd pleaser in future world heptathlon champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson in the long jump.
The first phase of ticket sales has now closed – tickets will be back on sale Spring 2023.