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Gebrselassie Headline adidas Boston Indoor Games
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Gebrselassie Headline adidas Boston Indoor Games

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Monday, 26 January, 2004



JANUARY 31, 2004

It’s an Olympic year, and excitement is building for both Athens and the adidas Boston Indoor Games, one of the best indoor track and field events in the world. Adding to the drama, Haile Gebrselassie, one of the greatest distance runners of all time, will begin his quest for a third Olympic gold medal at the Boston meet, which will be held from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Jan. 31.

It is finally 2004, and the first major event of an amazing year will be the adidas Boston Indoor Games at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center, on one of the fastest indoor tracks in the world. In its ninth year, the meet has produced three World Records, eight American Records, and six other national records. And Boston will again be the first stop on USA Track & Field’s Indoor Golden Spike Tour; it will be broadcast live from 6-7 p.m. on ESPN2. Several thousand lucky fans will be a part of it in person, but only if they act quickly to get those coveted tickets. Space is limited, and will likely sell out soon.


Only two world indoor track records were set in 2003, and both have ties to the adidas Boston Indoor Games. First, Regina Jacobs set the 1500-meter world record here (3:59.98), and later in the season Gebrselassie blazed the two-mile mark (8:04.69) at the Norwich Union Indoor Grand Prix in Birmingham, England. In Boston this year, the legendary Gebrselassie will run the 3000-meter event, and he will be gunning for the world record held by Kenya’s Daniel Komen (7:24.90). Mark Wetmore, the adidas Boston meet director, said simply, “We are honored to have one of the world’s greatest athletes competing here in Boston.”


We are honored to have one of the world’s greatest athletes competing here in Boston


This is only the third appearance in the United States for Gebrselassie, two-time Olympic 10,000-meter champion; but coincidentally it will be his second in Boston. The last time he competed in this country was in 1996, when he won gold at the Atlanta Olympic Games; his first time was at the World Cross Country Championships at Franklin Park, Boston, in 1992 when he plowed through the snow to win silver in the junior division.

“I am happy to be running indoors this time,” he joked, still shaking his head over the foul weather. He is a 9-time world champion, and holds the World Record at both 10,000 meters (26:22.75) and 5000 meters (12:39:36) on the track outdoors, as well as the 5000-meter and 2-mile indoors; he also holds the 10K road record (27:02).

In 2002 at adidas Boston, Jolanda Ceplak of Slovenia ran the fastest women’s 800-meters ever recorded indoors in the United States.


By last year, World Records had become a familiar sight at the adidas Boston Indoor Games. In 2000, the Global Athletics & Marketing Relay Team of Rich Kenah, Joey Woody, Karl Paranya and anchor David Krummenacker set a World Record in the 4 X 800 meters, charging to 7:13.94. The outdoor 4 X 800 record, by the way, is a venerable 1989 mark set by the British team of Peter Elliot, Garry Cook, Steve Cram, and Sebastian Coe (very comparable to the Global Athletics Indoor mark). In 2002, Jacobs also set a world mark (9:23.38) for two miles.

Krummenacker returned to adidas Boston in 2002 to set an American Record in the 1000-meter run of 2:17.86. Krummenacker and Woody have since seen their careers take off, with Krummenacker the reigning Indoor World Champion at 800-meters and Woody the 2003 World Outdoor silver medalist in the 400-meter hurdles. Both will return to this year’s Boston meet. Also at last year’s event, Stacy Dragila, the 2000 Olympic Gold Medallist and two-time World Champion, set an American pole vault record and then came within a gnat’s eyelash of setting a world mark as well. She did set the world standard six days later.

Among the other Americans expected to compete this year are Allyson Felix, who last year broke Marion Jones’ longstanding junior 200-meter record; John Capel, the surprise winner of the 200-meter Olympic Trials who won the World 200-meter title last summer--after returning from two seasons in the National Football League. And Nicole Teter, the US 800-meter indoor record-holder, will be trying to make her first U.S. Olympic team.


The fabled Gebrselassie won’t be the only international athlete at the Games. Also on the roster, among others, are Ethiopia’s Derartu Tulu, the two-time Olympic gold medalist at 10,000 meters and three-time World Cross Country champion; and Tirunesh Dibaba, the Ethiopian prodigy who, as an 18-year-old, stunned the best women on the planet when she won the 5000-meter World Championship title last summer.

World-class events featured at the adidas Boston Indoor Games this year will be the 60-meter hurdles, the 400m, 800m , 1500m , pole vault, and the 5000-meter run for women; and the 60-meter dash, 600m, 1000m, 1500m, and the 3000-meter run for men. However, the stars will have plenty of competition from both ends of the age spectrum, with the return of the popular masters’ mile, the high school mile, college men’s Distance Medley Relay (including powerhouse University of Arkansas), and a youth relay.


There have been some truly exciting events at the Reggie Lewis Track & Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont Street, Boston, since the adidas Boston Indoor Games began in 1996—also an Olympic year. It is one of the fastest tracks in the world—a 200 Meter Mondo Super X, 8-Lane gem. In addition to the track itself, all seats are great for viewing, and a large video screen keeps everyone up to date with immediate results and statistics. The center seats over 4,000 fans and is directly across the street from Roxbury Crossing, a stop on the MBTA Orange Line.

This meet has it all—great facilities, convenient access, terrific location, great athletes, non-stop action, organizational precision, and a knowledgeable audience. What a joy to watch, and all packed in to one glorious evening of athletics. Many of the best track and field athletes from the U.S. and the world will be there, and will be taking a big step on the road to Athens. We strongly suggest you be a part of it. Tickets are now available at, or by calling (617) 536-7030.



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