Literacy Event, Youth Track Clinic Kick Off Activities For Verizon Millrose Games

NEW YORK -- Reading, writing and running will go hand in hand later this week, when Verizon sponsors two events in connection with the upcoming Verizon Millrose Games, the nation's premier indoor track and field event.

On Jan. 31, Allen Johnson, a 1996 Olympic gold medallist and two-time World Champion, will read to a group of third-grade students from PS 125, PS 194, and PS 200, all in Harlem. The literacy event will take place at 10 a.m. at the Verizon Education and Technology Center, located at 148 W. 125 St. in Manhattan. After the reading, the students will be asked to write answers to some short questions about the book. The children were selected to attend the reading event because they have attained perfect attendance in this school year.

Johnson, a former USA Track & Field Humanitarian of the Year, will also sign autographs at the event.

On Feb. 1, immediately prior to the Games, Verizon will sponsor a Youth Clinic for aspiring track stars at noon on the track at Madison Square Garden. Elementary-, middle- and high-school students will be invited to learn the fundamentals of track and field from several USATF athletes. The clinic will focus on the basic track and field disciplines of hurdles, pole vault, shot put and sprints, and will be hosted by World and Olympic champion Stacy Dragila and Indoor World Champion Terrence Trammell.

The Verizon Millrose Games will be held Feb. 1 at the Garden.

"These kinds of events are one of the reasons Verizon has joined forces with USA Track & Field," said Bruce Gordon, Verizon president for Retail Markets. "Our sponsorship of USATF and the Millrose Games gives us a wonderful opportunity to stress with our children the importance of literacy and staying in school. And through the youth clinic, we're able to also teach our youngsters that they can excel through dedication and teamwork."

As part of its larger sponsorship of USA Track & Field, Verizon also sponsors the USA vs. THE WORLD television broadcast, supports the Golden Spike Tour and U.S. National Team, and works with USATF to develop ground-breaking Youth and Junior track and field programs.

After announcing its sponsorship of USA Track & Field last April, Verizon sponsored the 2001 Verizon Youth Series, a set of youth track and field events that comprise USA Track & Field's junior development program; and recently named University of Michigan freshman runner Alan Webb 2001 Verizon Youth Athlete of the Year.

Throughout its 94-year history, the Millrose Games have featured some of track and field's greatest legends including Jesse Owens, Jackie-Joyner Kersee, Carl Lewis, Gwen Torrence and Mary Decker-Slaney. The Millrose Games features events in sprinting, hurdles, pole vault and high jump, and distance running, including the famed Wanamaker Mile.

For more information about the event, visit the Verizon Millrose Games Web site at www.millrosegames.com.

For the event, Verizon customers will receive a 10-percent discount off $25 and $35 seats. They should show a copy of their current telephone bill at the Madison Square Garden box office to take advantage of the discount.

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 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.