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Drake Relays to be televised on ESPN2

News PhotoThe Saturday session of the 100th running of the Drake Relays on April 25 will be showcased on national television on a tape-delayed basis. The tentative schedule calls for the program to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, April 26, on ESPN2.

Doug Logan, chief executive officer of USA Track and Field, made the announcement with Drake Relays Director Brian Brown during a teleconference Thursday.

Brown also announced that Asics will be a presenting sponsor of the Drake Relays.

“It started off with Asics, to get them as a meet sponsor and get some of the financial backing,” Brown said. “Then when USA Track and Field came aboard, we could put forth some of the assistance needed for broadcast rights. That made it possible.”

“We’re delighted to be part of this celebration of a great sporting event in the Midwest,” Logan said. “The 100th anniversary of the Drake Relays is part of the legacy of track and field history in our country.

“USA Track and Field is designating the last weekend of April as Relays Weekend,” Logan added, noting that the Penn Relays will be held the same weekend. “We think it will be a great opportunity for our fans throughout the country to be able to follow what has traditionally been the announcement that spring and the outdoor track and field season have arrived.”

Logan also disclosed that this year’s Drake Relays will be part of the Visa Championship Series.

The Visa Championship Series is a prestigious series of nationally televised USA Track and Field (USATF) competitions featuring the very best track and field athletes from Team USA, the world’s No. 1 track team.

The 2009 Visa Championship Series also includes the USA vs. The World at the Penn Relays on April 25; adidas Track Classic on May 16 in Carson, Calif.; the Reebok Grand Prix on May 30 in New York, N.Y.; the Nike Prefontaine Classic on June 7 in Eugene, Ore.; and the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship on June 25-28 in Eugene, Ore.

The top American male finisher and top American female finisher in each event of the Visa Championship Series will have their performances assigned a point total based on the IAAF Scoring Table of Athletics. The athlete whose performance has the highest point total at the end of the Visa Championship Series will be named the Visa Champion.

Gary Slayton, vice president of marketing and communications for Asics Americas, said he was excited about the company’s relationship with Drake.

“The Drake Relays has been an event that we have admired from a distance and now we’re honored to establish this great relationship,” Slayton said.

Several world-class athletes who compete for Asics will attend the Drake Relays, including:

  • Lolo Jones, who finished seventh in the 100 hurdles at the 2008 Olympics and recently captured her third consecutive National Indoor Championship in the 60 hurdles with a winning time of 7.84
  • Suzy Powell-Roos, a two-time Olympian who is the American record holder in the women’s discus (222-0)
  • Amy Acuff, a four-time Olympian in the women’s high jump