Five Olympic Champions to Sprint at GOLDZONE II

April 7, 2006

LAWRENCE, Kan. –

Meet Director Tim Weaver confirmed that Olympic champions Maurice Greene, Justin Gatlin, Shawn Crawford, Otis Harris and Brian Lewis will compete at the Kansas Relays GOLDZONE II on Saturday, April 22, at the University of Kansas’ Memorial Stadium. The men’s sprint events will feature 11 medalist from world championship events. Twelve of the sprinters in these events competed at the most recent world championships. Five of these men have run under 10 seconds for the 100-meter dash.

“It’s an easier task to promote something called GOLDZONE II when a full slate of Olympic gold medalists are coming to your event,” said Weaver. “These sprinters have been in the spotlight on the biggest stage in sports. Maurice with his arm raised in victory twice in Sydney, once with Brian for the relay; Justin’s raw emotion after his 100-meter win in Athens with `Mo’ behind him for the bronze; the U.S. medal stand sweeps in the 200-meter dash with Shawn; and the 400-meter dash with Otis are some of the most memorable scenes from the past few Olympics. We have three-fourths of the U.S. Olympic 4×100-meter team at the Kansas Relays. This is something that our fans have never seen in Memorial Stadium.”

A showdown of Olympic gold medalists looms in the men’s 4×100-meter relay. Gatlin, the 2004 Olympic 100-meter champion, will lead his Sprint Capitol team that includes 2004 Olympic 200-meter winner Crawford and Dwight Thomas of Jamaica, who was ranked fourth in the world last year. Kansas City’s Greene, twice an Olympic champion at the Sydney games, brings with him 2006 World Indoor 60-meter champion Leonard Scott and Pierre Browne, twice an Olympian for Canada, as part of his HSI squad. Also in the mix will be Hobson’s Choice, a team of athletes from Kansas City coached by former Maurice Greene mentor Al Hobson. This team features three of the United States relay pool members from the 2005 World Championships: Mark Jelks, Mardy Scales and Rae Edwards.

The men’s Invitational 200-meter dash showcases three Olympians and two World Champions. Scott claimed the world title in the 60-meter dash last month at the World Indoor Championships. Harris brought home a silver medal from the Athens Olympics in the 400-meter dash and a gold to go along with it in the 4×400-meter dash. Brown has been on two Canadian Olympic teams and is a national champion. James Davis owns three world championship gold medals in the 4×400-meter relay. Olympian Gary Kikaya has won a World Indoor Championships bronze and NCAA championship in the 400 meters. Rodney Martin won a national junior college championship while at Kansas City Kansas Community College and an NCAA bronze medal. Kaaron Conwright was a member of the World University Games winning 4×100-meter relay. Each has an impressive personal record in the half-lap sprint.

The roster for the men’s Invitational 100-meter dash could be mistaken for one at a United States relay team practice. Jelks, Edwards and Scales placed fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, at the 2005 U.S. Outdoor Championships. This earned the trio a trip to Helsinki as part of the United States national team for the 4×100-meter relay. Lewis, who possesses a personal best of 9.99 seconds, won the Olympic title in 2000 as part of the US 4×100-meter relay team. Claude Toukene has twice represented Cameroon in the Olympic Games. Frenchman Aime Issa Nthepe, also an Olympian, has been on four world championship teams.

Half of the lanes in the men’s Invitational 400-meter dash will be filled with world champions. Leonard Byrd, who has a personal best of 44.45, was part of the world championship winning team in 2001. He is the defending Kansas Relays champion as well. Adam Steele and Mitch Potter, teammates at the University of Minnesota, won world championship gold in the 4×400-meter relay at the 2003 Paris meet. Steele has run 44.57 for the one-lap race and was an NCAA champion. Potter, a nine-time All American and Pan American Games winner, has finished the race in 44.58. James Davis has won three world championships as part of the 4×400-meter team and twice has won the 400-meter crown at the U.S. Indoor Championships. An NCAA finalist in both the 100 and 200-meter dashes for Florida, Kyle Farmer won an NCAA title in the 4×100-meter relay for the Gators. Damion Barry of Trinidad has twice been on world championship teams and was a national junior college champion, national champion and NCAA All-American.

Additional featured athletes for these and other Invitational events will be released in the coming days.

The 79th Kansas Relays will run from April 20 – 22; the GOLDZONE II is Saturday, April 22, from 2-5 p.m. For more information on the Kansas Relays, a complete GOLDZONE II schedule and ticket information, visit http://kuathletics.collegesports.com/sports/c-relay/.