LA Invitational - cancelled

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Invitational, the second-oldest indoor track meet in the United States, is shutting down this winter because it was unable to get enough sponsorship backing.

The meet had been scheduled for Feb. 8 at Los Angeles Sports Arena.

“There is potential for a sponsor coming aboard to revive the event in 2005,” co-chairman Don Franken said Friday.

Known as the Sunkist Invitational from 1970-95, the Los Angeles Invitational was one of America’s top indoor events since its inception in 1960, with 105 Olympic gold medal winners competing.

Among those who have taken part are Wilma Rudolph, Parry OBrien, Kip Keino, Jim Ryun, John Walker, Eamonn Coghlan, Bob Hayes, Billy Mills, Marion Jones, Maurice Greene, Bob Beamon, Bob Seagren, Ralph Boston, Dwight Stones, Renaldo Nehemiah and Mary Decker Slaney.

Al Franken, co-chairman of the meet with son Don, was co-founder of the meet and remained at the helm for 43 years.

“We just reached the point where we couldn’t afford to do this,” he said. “We’re obviously very disappointed. I’m sure there aren’t many people who have had a longer run than 43 years.”

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