2004 Verizon Millrose Games to be one to remember
NEW YORK – Olympic gold medalists Marion Jones, Gail Devers, Allen Johnson, Stacy Dragila and Jearl Miles-Clark are joined by world champions David Krumenacker and Perdita Felicien and scores of other Olympians slated to compete at the 97th Verizon Millrose Games on Feb. 6 at Madison Square Garden.
The second stop on USA Track& Field’s Indoor Golden Spike Tour, the Verizon Millrose Games will be televised on NBC on Saturday, February 7, from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m., Eastern Time. Held annually since 1908, the Verizon Millrose Games is the nation’s longest running invitational track meet. The star of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney where she won three gold and two bronze medals, Jones returns to the competition for the first time since 2002, and will race indoors for the first time since tying the American 60m record 1998. She will face a loaded field in the Verizon women’s 60-meter dash that includes 2003 World Indoor 60m bronze medalist and World Outdoor 100m silver medalist Torri Edwards. Two-time world indoor silver medalist Angela Williams also takes the line, as do 1999 World Outdoor 200m gold medalist Inger Miller and 18-year-old superstar Allyson Felix, who broke Jones’ American junior record in the 200 meters in 2003 with her time of 22.11.
Gail Devers is a two-time 100-meter Olympic champion, three-time 100-meter hurdle World champion, and the reigning 2003 World Indoor hurdle champion. Her then American record of 7.78 at the 2003 Verizon Millrose Games earned her the Fred Schmertz Outstanding Performer award, and she will need another outstanding performance Friday. Among Devers’ competitors are World Outdoor gold medalist Perdita Felicien of Canada and 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Melissa Morrison. Reigning Olympic champion Stacy Dragila returns to the venue that has brought her some of her biggest successes for the Visa women’s pole vault. At the 2003 Verizon Millrose Games, Dragila vaulted 4.72m/15-5.75 to set a then American record. At the 2001 Verizon Millrose Games, Dragila vaulted a world record of 4.63/15-2.25 The 1996 Olympic gold medalist, Allen Johnson won an unprecedented four World Outdoor crown in the 110m hurdles in 2003, having also won the World Indoor title last year. Johnson faces a strong Millrose field that includes former world #3 ranked Larry Wade.
In the middle distances, 2003 World Indoor gold medalist and two-time Verizon Millrose champion David Krummenacker returns to defend his 800-meter title. Krummenacker has been America’s fastest 800- and 1500-meter runner for the past two years with outdoor personal bests of 1:43.92 and 3:31.91. Jen Toomey provides the U.S. highlight in the women’s 1,500 meters, enjoying the best season of her career. Toomey currently is #3 in the world in 2004 with two races in 2:00 and change in the 800m, and posted a huge personal best in the mile WHEN with her time of 4:30. World 200m and 4x100m gold medalist John Capel finished 2003 ranked #1 in the world in both the 100 and 200m by Track & Field News, and is making his Verizon Millrose Games debut in the Verizon men’s 60-meter dash. The 60-meter field includes 2001 World Indoor 200m gold medalist Shawn Crawford and three of the most exciting young sprinters on the World scene, 20-year-old Rae Edwards and the 19-year-old Jamaican sensation, Asafa Powell. Two-time Olympic 4x400m relay gold medalist Jearl Miles-Clark headlines the field in the new Sunny D Intense Sport women’s 500-yard cup race. The winner of five Millrose titles at 400 meters, Miles-Clark is the world record holder in the 500 yards (1:00.61), and last weekend she took the 500m AR as well, breaking sister-in-law Joetta Clark Diggs’ previous mark with her time of 1:08.71.
The men’s shot put competition returns to Madison Square Garden for the first time since the 1980s, and fans will get to see Olympic and world championships silver medalist Adam Nelson go head-to-head against the likes of current 2004 world leader Christian Cantwell. In the men’s pole vault, American record holder Jeff Hartwig and reigning U.S. indoor champion Derek Miles are joined by 2002 Goodwill Games gold medalist Tim Mack.
Additional stars competing include 1996 Olympic gold medalist Charles Austin in the men’s high jump, American record holder Tisha Waller and U.S. champion Amy Acuff in the women’s high jump, and new record-breaker Erin Gilreath in the women’s weight throw, where she competes against reigning champion Anna Norgren Mahon.
This year’s Verizon Millrose Games features several new events including the first-ever “Fastest Kid in New York City” 50 meter dashes for eight and nine year-olds, PSAL “Mayor’s Cup” high school relays, three special invitational college relays, and the return of the men’s shot put event to the main arena for the first time since the 1980s. Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Madison Square Garden Box Office or calling (212) 465-6741, or via Ticketmaster. Tickets also are available at www.verizonmillrosegames.come. Ticket prices are $15, $30, $40, $50, $70 and $90. Ticket prices in excess of $15 include a $4.50 facility surcharge. Ticketmaster purchases are subject to a Ticketmaster Service Charge.
For more information on the USATF Indoor Golden Spike Tour, visit www.usatf.org