USA vs. The World

International stars to compete in sprint relays at USA vs. The World

Some of the biggest names in sprinting – including Marion Jones, Justin Gatlin, John Capel, Usain Bolt and Debbie Ferguson – will compete in the 4x100 and 4x200-meter relays Saturday at USA vs. The World, Presented by Verizon, at the 110th running of the Penn Relays.

The meet will be broadcast live on Saturday from 4:30-6 p.m. Eastern Time on NBC.

Nearly 150 athletes from 10 countries around the globe will compete at this year’s USA vs. The World, held annually at the Penn Relays since 2000 and featuring men’s and women’s 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400-meter relays. Team USA swept all six relay races – the men’s and women’s 4x100, 4x200 and 4x400 – at the 2003 edition of USA vs. The World, but the competition has gotten stronger in 2004 as national teams around the world seek to qualify for the Olympic Games in Athens.

The Nike men’s 4x100m relay and Visa men’s 4x200m relay promise star-studded competition, as nearly every top U.S. sprinter will compete, while the Verizon women’s 4x100 and the Nike women’s 4x200 look to be some of the most closely contested relays as Team USA’s fastest women take on powerful teams from the Caribbean and Russia. Team USA will enter two teams each – USA Red and USA Blue – in the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x200m relays at USA vs. The World.

The Team USA men’s relay pools read like a who’s who of American sprinting as USA Track & Field’s National Relay Program – in which all top athletes compete in relays around the country and around the world during the season, with the goal of reaping Olympic gold – shifts into high gear in 2004. The Team USA sprint relay pools for USA vs. The World include: 2003 world indoor 60m champion Justin Gatlin; 2003 world outdoor 200m and 4x100m gold medalist John Capel; 2003 world outdoor 4x100m gold-medal anchor J.J. Johnson; 2003 world outdoor 200m silver medalist and 4x100m gold medalist Darvis Patton; 2002 U.S. outdoor 100m champion and 2001 world outdoor bronze medalist Bernard Williams; 2000 Olympic and 2003 world outdoor 110m hurdles silver medalist Terrence Trammell; 2002 U.S. outdoor 200m champion, 2001 world indoor 200m champion and 2004 U.S. indoor 60m champ Shawn Crawford; 2000 Olympic relay gold medalist Jon Drummond; 2002 World Cup 4x100 gold medalist Coby Miller; 2000 Olympic 4x100m gold medalist Ken Brokenburr; 2001 World University Games 100m gold medalist Marcus Brunson; 2001 world outdoor 4x100m gold medalist Mickey Grimes; 2001 world indoor 60m gold medalist Tim Harden, and 1999 U.S. junior champion Leonard Scott.

In the Nike men’s 4x100, the countries that went 1-2 at the 2003 World Outdoor Championships will again go head-to head as the United States takes on Great Britain. Also competing will be Canada, Jamaica, Germany, the Bahamas, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The British are coming with Mark Lewis-Francis, the world junior record holder in the indoor 60 meters and the 2000 world junior champion at 100 meters, and Darren Campbell, fourth in the 200m at 2003 world outdoors. Also highlighting the competition in the sprint relays is Usain Bolt, the 17-year-old sensation from Jamaica who less than two weeks ago broke the world junior record in the 200 meters with his time of 19.93 seconds.

American’s finest sprinters will star in the women’s relays as well, as Team USA and Team Jamaica rekindle the feud on the track that saw them split victories in 2002. Added to the mix of countries competing in the men’s relays is a potent group from the Bahamas, winners of the 2000 Olympic gold medal.

Five-time Olympic medalist Marion Jones leads the charge for the U.S. women. Returning to competition in 2004 for the first time since having her first child last summer, Jones – a two-time world 100m champion and the 2001 200m gold medalist - is by no means alone in the Team USA pools. Two of her three teammates from the 4x100m relay team that owns the American record – 1999 world outdoor 200m gold medalist Inger Miller and 2001 U.S. 100m champion Chryste Gaines – are in the pools for both the 4x100 and 4x200m relays as well. Also providing panache are American 200m junior record holder Allyson Felix, 2004 U.S. indoor 200m champion Crystal Cox, and 2000 Olympic 4x400m gold medalist LaTasha Colander.

Half of the Bahamas’ Olympic gold-medal winning women’s 4x100m relay team will be on hand at USA vs. the World. Gold-medal anchor Debbie Ferguson is the 2002 Commonwealth Games 100 and 200m gold medalist; she will be joined at Penn by gold-medal lead-off runner Savatheda Fynes, the 1997 NCAA 100 and 200m champion.

Jamaica will also offer a stern challenge. Their relay pool includes 2000 Olympic 100m bronze medalist Tayna Lawrence; Aleen Bailey, the 7th-place finisher at 100m at 2003 world outdoors; and Brigitte Foster, the 2003 world outdoor 100m hurdles silver medalist.

Natalya Nazarova, the 2004 world indoor gold medalist at 400m (50.19 CR) will lead Russia – which placed third in the 4x100m at 2003 world outdoors – in the Nike women’s 4x200m relay.

Highlights of the 4x400m relay pools will be released Thursday. Full relay pools for all events will be announced Friday. Final lineups will be announced

Damn, I will writing an exam at that time. Is there a recap broadcast that you know of? If so, what time?

Jones to continue comeback at Penn Relays - Preview

Friday 23 April 2004

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (USA) – Marion Jones is on a tight schedule when it comes to preparation for the United States Olympic Trials in July.

Jones whose 19-month layoff from outdoor competition came to an end last week with a disappointing fourth-place finish in the 200m at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays, makes her next stop at the Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field on Saturday (24 April), where the Olympic sprint champion will participate in the USA vs. The World relay competition.

IAAF President Lamine Diack will be in attendance as a special guest of honour at what is the 110th edition of the meet.

Relay Double for Jones

Jones, 28, will run in the 4 x 100m relay, and possibly the 4 x 200m, to highlight the three-day meet that began on Thursday (22 April).

The 28 year-old American has vowed to compete often over the next two months to work her way back into the shape of 2000 when she won a record five medals in the Sydney Olympics.

Jones has also confirmed participation in the Jamaica International Invitational meeting in Kingston on 7 May and in the USA Track & Field Golden Spike Tour Home Depot Invitational on 22 May in Carson, California. where she will compete in the 100 and Long Jump. Jones will also jump in the Norwich Union British Grand Prix – IAAF SGP - in Gateshead on 27 June.

“There are going to be a number of challenging times for me in terms of races, in terms of times,” Jones said. “I am really looking at the big picture and if I spend too much time concentrating on this race, that race and this race, then I will be in trouble. I am confident that come the Trials I will be ready. That’s what it’s all about. It’s not about running Mt. SAC and all the other meets. Ultimately, it’s about the Trials.”

Jones last competed at Penn in 2002 when she anchored the U.S. 4 x 400 to victory. This season, Jones has placed an emphasis on speed over endurance. She opted for the 200m at the Mt. SAC Relays in place of the 400m in her traditional season-opening meet. Jones is making a similar choice at Penn with the shorter relays.

In February, Jones competed indoors at two meets, the Millrose Games in New York and the Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham in her first competitions since becoming a mother.

At Mt. SAC, Jones ran a wind-aided 23.02 seconds, well off her career-best of 21.62 in 1998 that ranks No. 2 all-time behind Florence Griffith-Joyner’s world record 21.34. It was Jones’ first 200 loss since the 1999 World Championships semi-finals in Seville when she did not finish because of back spasms.

‘Who’s Who’ of U.S. Athletics

There will be nearly 150 athletes from 10 countries in the USA vs. The World competition under which format the Americans will run two teams per race against other countries in the men’s and women’s 4 x 100, 4 x 200 and 4 x 400 relays.

The U.S. women’s relay pools for the 4 x 100m and 4 x 200m include Jones, Inger Miller, Chryste Gaines, Allyson Felix and LaTasha Collander. Allyson Felix, the national U.S. high school record holder in the 200m, and LaTasha Colander will also run.

Miller is coming off a wind-aided 11.04 performance in the 100m at Mt. SAC after battling injuries for the last two seasons.

Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennegan, Suziann Reid, Michelle Collins and Me’Lisa Barber headline the U.S. women’s 4 x 400.

The U.S. men’s sprint relay pool reads like a lexicon of American Athletics with Justin Gatlin, John Capel, J.J. Johnson, Darvis Patton, Bernard Williams, Terrence Trammell, Shawn Crawford, Jon Drummond, Coby Miller, Ken Brokenburr, Marcus Brunson, Mickey Grimes, Tim Harden and Leonard Scott.

In the 4 x 400m, the Americans have 2003 World indoor and outdoor 400m champions with Tyree Washington and Jerome Young. Alvin Harrison, Angelo Taylor, Derrick Brew and Jerome Davis, a 1999 World Championships 400m semifinalist who now trains with Jim Bush, former coach of 1992 Olympic champion Quincy Watts.

International flavour

One of the many international star entrants is Jamaica’s Usain Bolt, 17, two weeks ago ran 19.93 to break the World junior record in the 200m.

Britain’s Mark Lewis-Francis a junior sprint sensation in his own day is also entered, as is triple Commonwealth champion Debbie Ferguson (BAH) on the women’s side of the programme.

The men’s 4 x 400m features a World All-Stars team with double World 400m Hurdles champion Felix Sanchez of the Domincan Republic, and 2004 World Indoor 400m champion Alleyne Francique of Greneda, who will be teaming with Gary Kikaya of Congo and Sofiene Labidi of Tunisia.

There will be a strong Jamaican contingent on show too. In the women’s 4 x 100m relay pool, 2000 Olympic 100m bronze medallist Tanya Lawrence, 2003 World 100m hurdle silver medallist Brigitte Foster and Aleen Bailey. The men’s 4 x 400m includes Michael Blackwood, Gregory Haughton and Danny McFarlane.

Russia’s Natalya Nazarova, the 2004 World Indoor 400m champion, and Tatyana Levina will run in the 4 x 200m and 4 x 400m. Nazarova and Levina teamed on Russia’s world-record setting indoor 4 x 400m in the 2004 World Indoor Championships in March. European 400m champion Olesya Zykina, the lead-off on Russia’s runner-up team in the 2003 World Championships, is also confirmed.

Penn Relays Tradition

More than 22,000 high school, university and open athletes will compete in the Penn Relays, and a crowd in excess of 100,000 will be on hand to make it the largest athletics competition in the U.S.

It was in Philadelphia where the first versions of a four-person were developed in 1893. Two years later, the inaugural Penn Relay Carnival was held on 21 April 1895.

Kirby Lee for the IAAF