Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis and Mo Farah Confirmed for London Anniversary Games

It's déjà vu all over again

  • Share
  • Read Later
FRANCK FIFE / AFP / GettyImages

A combination of pictures taken in August 2012 show Jamaica's Usain Bolt as he gestures before competing at the athletics events during London Olympic Games.

Updated: Apr. 19, 2013 at 11:30 a.m. EST

Happy Anniversary, London. The 2012 Olympic Games were a joyous occasion for those lucky enough to enjoy the sports and sunshine on offer. Home crowds witnessed wonderful performances from the host nation, and many others, and for 17 magical days, it felt as if London was the global capital of sport.

A year on, we’ll get to do some of it all over again. In a sensible bit of rebranding, this July’s London Grand Prix will be called the London 2012 Anniversary Games. Traditionally held at Crystal Palace, it will take place in the Olympic Stadium on the anniversary weekend of the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Games this July 26-28. Tickets went on sale Friday morning and the first two days sold out in 75 minutes.

(MORE: TIME’s 2012 Olympics Coverage)

And the confirmed names will surely help put bums on seats. On Tuesday, Britain’s golden girl, the 27-year-old heptathlon winner Jessica Ennis announced her participation, and she’ll compete against Olympic champion Sally Pearson in the 100m hurdles. And she’ll be joined at the Games by the two British males who also won gold on the night known as Super Saturday: 5,000 and 10,000 meter winner Mo Farah and long jumper Greg Rutherford.

“I have amazing memories of competing in the Olympic Stadium and it will be good to step out on that track again in front of a British crowd,” Ennis said. “I’ll never forget the noise the crowd made when I competed last August and know that the draw of the stadium and the great line-up of athletes will fill the stands and make it another incredible occasion.”

(VIDEO: Britain’s Track & Field Golden Girl Jessica Ennis Gets Set for her Home Games)

In total, all five of Team GB’s track and field medal winners will be there, along with 14 of Britain’s 16 Paralympic medalists.

But perhaps the biggest draw will be a certain sprinter. On Wednesday, the fastest man in the world, Usain Bolt, confirmed that he’ll be taking part in the 100m on the Friday, and 4x100m relay the following day. The 26-year-old Jamaican won three golds at last year’s Olympics, in the 100m, 200m, and 4x100m relay, but, apart from the 2012 Games, hasn’t raced in Britain since 2009. It’s been reported that the reason is due to tax rules which would have made him give up a share of any appearance or prize money, plus a cut of endorsements. It might not be a coincidence but the recent U.K. budget changed the rules so that athletes such as Bolt are now exempt from paying income tax, which has positive implications for him this July as well as at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

(MORE: Will Usain Bolt Try the Long Jump In Rio?)

Bolt was fully focused on matters of sport Wednesday, rather than tax, noting that, “I’m looking forward to coming back to the U.K., especially with it being a year since winning three gold medals in the Olympic Stadium.” He emphasized that “the crowds were amazing at the Games and I hope they will be out again in their numbers at the end of July.”

For the likes of Bolt, Ennis and Farah, the London 2012 Anniversary Games should also serve as a warm-up for the World Athletics Championships, which take place in Moscow in August. Gold medals may not be at stake in London, but that shouldn’t dim competition. A year later, everyone still wants to win.

MORE: ‘We Got Willy Wonka’s Ticket’’: Inside Britain’s Big Night at the Track