Philadelphia - The dates for the 111th running of the Penn Relay Carnival are set for the last weekend in April of 2005, April 28-29-30 at historic Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania. Following one of the most successful Penn Relays in 2004 and a memorable Athens Olympics, the 2005 Penn Relays promise to carry on the tradition of track & field excellence that has long been associated with the Penn Relay Carnival.
For 110 years the annual Penn Relay Carnival has not only been America’s largest track meet, but the world’s first and most recognized relay meet. The presence and prestige of the Relays is extremely significant, as the Relays are a rite of spring in the Philadelphia community and in the greater track & field world at large. The Relays are also the place where track fans gather to see tomorrow’s Olympic stars.
Every April, the Penn Relays draw many of the nation’sand the world’stop track athletes to Franklin Field. Relays participants have won gold medals in every modern (summer) Olympic Games except the 1980 Moscow games, which the United States boycotted. In the most recent Olympics, the 2004 Athens Games, 23 Relays alumni won gold medals, either individually or as members of relay teams. At the 2000 Sydney Games, 22 Relays alums took home gold.
The 2004 Penn Relay Carnival was another banner year. The event featured the return to Franklin Field of stars such as Marion Jones, Alan Webb, Jon Drummond and other American athletes who were prominent performers at the 2004 Summer Olympic Games in Athens. The 2004 Penn Relays also served as a coming out party for the next wave of American tack and field stars such as sprinter Justin Gatlin, dubbed the “World’s Fastest Man” after his Gold Medal victory in the 100-meters at Athens.
Top athletes from around the globe shared the Penn Relays stage with American stars in Saturday’s USA vs. The World series of races. International stars such as Athens gold medalist Felix Sanchez (Dominican Republic), Usain Bolt (Jamaica) and the British 4x100 gold medal relay team tested the USA’s best to the delight of the throngs of Relays fans.
A three-day attendance record of 112,701 was set, with nearly 50,000 screaming fans in attendance for Saturday's grand finale, and a record Thursday total of 24,613 on hand for the full-day of women's events and evening distance races.