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Mar 22, 2004

Olympic Champions Gail Devers, Stacy Dragila andMaurice Greene to highlight Home Depot Track & Field

LOS ANGELES (March 22) - Defending Olympic champions, new contenders and more than three dozen Olympic team members, past, present and future, will clash on the lightning-fast track of The Home Depot Center in Carson, California in the second Home Depot Track & Field Invitational on Saturday, May 22 beginning at noon.

The opening invitational of USA Track & Field's \"Golden Spike Tour\" for 2004, the meet will feature defending Olympic champions Maurice Greene in the men's 100 meters and Stacy Dragila in the women's pole vault, plus sprint and hurdles superstar Gail Devers, double Olympic gold medalist in the 100 meters in1992 and 1996 and the  favorite in the 100-meter Hurdles in this summer's Games in Athens.

\"Once again, The Home Depot Center Track & Field Invitational will showcase many of the world's premier track & field competitors. This year, with berths on the United States Olympic Team on the line, the competition will clearly be meaningful and at its highest level,\" said Bill Peterson, Managing Director, The Home Depot Center. \"Just like last year, this meet will be the only local opportunity for Southern California track enthusiasts and sports fans to attend a world class competition in a facility designed for the world's best athletes. We thank USA Track & Field and Craig Masback for their partnership with The Home Depot Center and their support in bringing this Golden Spike Tour event to Los Angeles.

\"With last year's inaugural Home Depot Track & Field Invitational attracting a capacity 10,094 spectators, the stadium's capacity has been increased to12,000 for this year's meet.\"

A total of 14 events will be contested for a prize purse of $140,000, including the men's and women's 100 meters, 400 meters, 1500 meters, the women's 100-meter Hurdles, the men's 110-meter Hurdles, the women's high jump, the men's and women's pole vault, men's long jump, men's shot put and women's discus.

Included among the early commitments to compete are top American hopes for Olympic medals in seven events:

  • The star of the 2003 Home Depot Invitational with his sensational 9.94 win in the 100 meters, defending Olympic gold medalist Greene will face an all-star field in this year's 100, including J.J. Johnson, second to Greene at the inaugural meet a year ago.
  • Current world 400-meter champion Jerome Young will face two pupils of legendary UCLA and USC coach Jim Bush:  former NCAA champion (for USC) Jerome Davis and ex-Washington star Ja'Warren Hooker.
  • New world indoor champion Christian Cantwell will take on a substantial challenge in the shot put from 2000 Olympic silver medalist Adam Nelson, world indoor silver medalist Reese Hoffa, who competed in last year's Home Depot meet as the \"Unknown Shot Putter\" and others, likely including two-time Olympic medalist and three-time world champion John Godina.
  • Devers heads the field in the 100-meter hurdles, but will face stiff competition from 2000 Olympic bronze medalist Melissa Morrison and improving Joanna Hayes, second at the Home Depot Invitational last year.
  • Two-time U.S. Olympian and three-time national high jump champion Amy Acuff will lead the women's high jump field.
  • Dragila equaled the American Indoor Record earlier this year, but will be challenged by a strong field including UCLA sophomore Chelsea Johnson, who set a collegiate outdoor best of 14-9 in her first outdoor meet of the season on March 6; Johnson is the daughter of 1972 Olympic vault bronze medalist Jan Johnson.
  • Two-time American Olympian Suzy Powell will face last year's Home Depot Invitational winner, Aretha Hill and 2003 World Championships teammate Kris Kuehl in the discus with the American Record of 216-10 within reach.

Prize money will be paid to six places in each of the 14 world-class events on two scales. Placers in the men's and women's 100, men's 1500, women's 100 m hurdles, women's pole vault and men's shot put will win $6,000 for first place, $3,000 for second, $1,500 for third, $750 for fourth, $500 for fifth and $250 for sixth. In the men's and women's 400, women's 1500, men's 110 m hurdles, women's high jump, men's pole vault, men's long jump and women's discus, prizes will be $4,000 for first, $2,000 for second, $1,000 for third, $750 for fourth, $500 for fifth and $250 for sixth.

\"The Home Depot is proud to be the title sponsor of this prestigious Golden Spike tour event as we continue to expand our support of this country's Olympic athletes,\" said Stephanie Martin, Manager of Communications and External Affairs for The Home Depot. \"By hosting and supporting events of this caliber at The Home Depot Center, we not only support the athletes of today, we help inspire the athletes of tomorrow.\"

Tickets for The Home Depot Track & Field Invitational are priced at $40.00 (VIP), $25.00 (home straight) and $17.00 (back straight) are available through Ticketmaster's Charge-By-Phone network at (213) 480-3232, at all Ticketmaster retail ticket center locations including Wherehouse Records, Robinson's-May, Tower Records and Ritmo Latino locations and online at www.ticketmaster.com. Tickets are also available at The Home Depot Center's box office and the box office at TEAM LA at Universal CityWalk. Group sales ticketing and discount ticket information is available at 1-866-LA-Group (1-866-524-7687) or on-line at www.homedepotinvitational.com.

The Home Depot Track & Field Invitational is presented and produced by AEG, one of the world's leading presenters of sports and entertainment programs. Rich Perelman is the 2004 meet director with Bruce Tenen serving as Elite Athlete Coordinator. The Home Depot Invitational will be broadcast live on NBC television from 1-3 p.m. Pacific time.

AEG owns or operates facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Home Depot Center, HealthSouth Training Center, Kodak Theatre and NOKIA Live at Grand Prairie. The organization owns the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Redding Royals (AHL) and Redding Royals (ECHL), the Los Angeles Galaxy and four other MLS franchises and four hockey franchises operated in Europe. AEG LIVE is the world's second largest concert promoter.

The Home Depot Center is Southern California's new home of world-class competition and training facilities for amateur, Olympic, collegiate and professional athletes. The $150 million, privately-financed facility was developed and is operated by AEG on a 125-acre site on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. The Home Depot Center features a 13,000-seat stadium for tennis, a 27,000-seat stadium for soccer, athletic competitions and outdoor concerts, a 20,000-capacity facility for track & field, the ADT Event Center, a 3,500-seat indoor velodrome (opening summer 2004) and other facilities for softball, baseball, beach volleyball, basketball and other sports.

Named an Official U.S. Olympic Training Site, The Home Depot Center is also the national team training headquarters for the U.S. Soccer Federation. The \"complex,\" which is also the home of the nationally recognized Athletes Performance Training Center for elite and professional athletes has additionally be designated \"official\" training sites for USA Cycling, United States Track & Field, the U.S. Tennis Association and the Association of Volleyball Professionals.

For additional information and media credentials, please contact
Jan Fambro at (310) 826-2962 or [email protected].