Academic and Athletic Events Mark Verizon's Sponsorship Of USA vs. The World at Penn Relays

PHILADELPHIA - Verizon will recognize athletes in the record books and those who "hit the books" when the company sponsors the USA vs. The World competition this weekend at the 109th edition of the Penn Relays.

Verizon, in its third year sponsoring the competition, will announce the winners of its initial Verizon Youth Progress Award scholarship program and host Philadelphia-area schoolchildren who wrote award-winning essays.

The 2003 Penn Relays will be held April 24-26 on Franklin Field at the University of Pennsylvania. USA vs. The World, the featured event of the relays, will be broadcast live on NBC-TV to a national audience April 26 at 4:30 p.m.

Verizon's sponsorship of the event is a result of Verizon's affiliation with USA Track & Field, the national governing body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States.

"Verizon's sponsorship of USA vs. The World helps to recognize those who run the fastest, jump the highest and stay focused on their schoolwork," said Bruce Gordon, Verizon president of Retail Markets. "Verizon's sponsorship of USA Track & Field places a premium on agility on the track and in the classroom. Our sponsorship enables Verizon to bring together children, academics, sports and the community."

USA vs. The World pits many of the United States' top runners against the best relay teams from around the globe. The U.S. team will be represented by athletes such as Tim Montgomery, Gail Devers, Antonio Pettigrew, Chryste Gaines, and Jon Drummond.

The inaugural 2003 Verizon Youth Progress Award scholarship program provides $5,000 college scholarships to four high school seniors who participate in track and field and/or cross-country, and who have maintained a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher throughout high school. This year's recipients are:

  • Billie-Jo Grant, Oceano, Calif.
  • Sarah McClellan, Englewood, Ohio
  • Adam Perkins, Liberty, Mo.
  • Daniel Sieczkiewicz, Westerly, R.I.

In addition, Verizon will host five fifth-grade students who won an essay contest in connection with the children's book, "Circle of Gold," which focuses on a young African-American girl who wants to get her mother a gift for Mother's Day. The winners, from each of Philadelphia's five elementary schools, will each receive a $50 U.S. Savings Bond, four tickets to the Penn Relays on April 26, and have his or her picture taken with an Olympic athlete.

Verizon is also donating 1,000 tickets to the School District of Philadelphia in support of the Penn Relays competition. The district's Office of Health, Safety, Physical Education and Sports Administration will distribute the tickets to at least one middle or high school -- in each of the district's nine regions -- that has a team participating or qualified in the 4x100 meter relay.

The Penn Relays kicks off the outdoor track and field season and traditionally draws some 110,000 visitors over the three days.

Verizon Communications

A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 136.6 million access line equivalents and 33.3 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third-largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 13.2 million long-distance lines, and the company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. With approximately $67 billion in annual revenues and 227,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.