Why are they called the Millrose Games?
Billed as “the world’s premier indoor track and field event,” the Millrose Games have stood among the oldest athletic events in the U.S.
Employees of the John Wanamaker Department Store founded the Millrose Athletic Association in 1908 and began running the Millrose Games that year at a local armory (a building where weapons and ammunition are stored). From 1914 through 2011, the Games were held at Madison Square Garden. Since then, they’ve been run out of the Armory in Washington Heights.
Who competes in the Millrose Games?
Scores of Olympic legends have competed in the Millrose Games, including Carl Lewis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Paavo Nurmi.
This year, Christian Coleman, Yared Nuguse, Andre De Grasse and Laura Muir highlight a loaded of field track stars who hope to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The full athlete list is available here.
Will Yared Nuguse set a new indoor mile world record?
The Wanamaker Mile is the Millrose Games’ premier event, a one-mile run that serves as the day’s finale.
On the men’s side, Nuguse, a 24-year-old blossoming U.S. star, set the Wanamaker Mile record last year (3 minutes, 47.38 seconds) and was just 0.37 seconds from the indoor mile world record of 3:47.01 — set by Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha.
Can Nuguse break the indoor world record this year? He sure thinks so. Nuguse declared on the CITIUS MAG Podcast in December that he plans to accomplish the feat at the 2024 Millrose Games.
He’ll go toe-to-toe with 20-year-old phenom Hobbs Kessler. Last weekend, at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, Kessler ran to victory in the 1500m with a time of 3:33.66, becoming the third-fastest 1500m indoor runner in U.S. history.
In the women’s Wanamaker Mile, Great Britain's Muir, the Tokyo Olympic silver medalist in the 1500m, and fellow 2020 Olympian Elle Purrier St. Pierre of the U.S. headline the field looking to unseat two-time defending Wanamaker Mile champion Josette Andrews, who hails from nearby Tenafly, New Jersey.
What drama will unfold in the men’s 60m?
Last year’s men’s 60m was juicy. Coleman entered as the world record holder at 6.34 seconds and was set to race against Noah Lyles, the 2020 Tokyo bronze medalist in the 200m. With hype mounting in the lead-up to the event, Lyles flinched at the blocks and was disqualified for a false start. He was permitted to race under protest and logged a time of 6.53 seconds, good for second place behind Coleman’s winning time of 6.47. Coleman celebrated his win with a shushing motion.
Coleman owns this event at Millrose and has now won it twice in a row. On the heels of a difficult four years for Coleman that included a Tokyo Olympics ban, is a three-peat in store at Millrose?
Lyles won’t compete in this year’s event, so Coleman is instead set to duel with De Grasse, the reigning Olympic 200m champion. De Grasse made his professional debut at the 2016 Millrose Games and won the 60m in 6.61 seconds as a 21-year-old. Now an established star, we’ll see if De Grasse can unseat Coleman in a matchup likely to repeat at some point during the Paris Olympics.
Who will emerge in a loaded women’s 60m?
Three former Olympic medalists — English Gardner, Briana Williams and Shashalee Forbes — will duke it out in the 60m. The Millrose Games women’s 60m record has stood for 30 years now, first set in 1994 by Gail Devers. That mark is likely to be challenged this year by St. Lucia’s Julien Alfred, a 22-year-old phenom and Texas Longhorn who set the indoor women’s 60m record last year at the NCAA Indoors in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a time of 6.94 seconds. She joins this loaded field.
Is Vashti Cunningham ready to make this her year?
Cunningham, a high-jump star, first burst onto the global stage in 2016 when she won the World Indoor Title and finished second at the U.S. Olympic Trials. That earned her a spot, as just an 18-year-old, on the Olympic team for Rio. At the Rio Games, Cunningham became the second-youngest U.S. track and field athlete to compete at an Olympics since 1972. She finished 13th in the high jump but improved to 6th place at the Tokyo Olympics.
She has since continued to flourish, winning the U.S. high jump championship for the 13th time in July 2023.
Cunningham’s father is 16-year NFL veteran Randall Cunningham, who coaches jumping at UNLV and has worked with his daughter to improve her technique. Cunningham won the high jump at Millrose in 2018 and 2019 and returns this year.
Cunningham will challenge the defending high jump world champion: Ukraine’s Yaroslava Mahuchikh. Mahuchikh edged closer to the current world record of 2.08m with a 2.04m jump in Germany to open the season and is considered the favorite. Can Cunningham take her down?
How will men’s pole vault look in its return?
From 2010 to 2023, there was no men’s pole vault competition at the Millrose Games. The event is set to return this weekend with a bang. Chris Nilsen and KC Lightfoot highlight what promises to be a scintillating showdown. Nilsen won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics and vaulted a world record height of 6.01m last month at the University of South Dakota Alumni Meet.
Lightfoot, meanwhile, was just 0.07m shy of a medal in Tokyo, finishing fourth. Those two will duel in New York.