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OLYMPIC NOTES

World Cup Track Meet a Coup by Sports Council

September 20, 2002|HELENE ELLIOTT | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Los Angeles Sports Council has turned its loss in the race to host the 2012 Olympics into significant victories on several fronts.

Although the Games won't be held in Los Angeles any time soon, winning the 2006 IAAF World Cup track and field meet for the Home Depot National Training Center in Carson will keep the city in the forefront of international sports.

"We've consciously turned our attention to events we may not have turned our attention to in the past, events that not only haven't been in L.A., but haven't been in the U.S.," David Simon, president of the Sports Council, said Thursday. "It's going to help us in building our reputation with national federations."

Besides the World Cup, which is held every four years and which Simon called "the biggest track event economically and in every other way in L.A. since the 1984 Olympics," the 2005 beach volleyball World Championships will be held at the tennis center within the complex at Cal State Dominguez Hills. A bid has been made to hold the 2005 NCAA track and field championships there as well.

In addition, the 2003 world gymnastics championships will be staged at the Arrowhead Pond, and Long Beach will host the 2004 U.S. Olympic swimming trials. Staples Center hosted this year's U.S. figure skating championships.

The World Cup has never been held in the U.S. This year's edition begins today in Madrid, where Thousand Oaks High graduate Marion Jones, a quintuple medalist at the Sydney Olympics, will lead the defending champion U.S. women's team. She will run the 100 and 200, and said she's looking forward to competing here in 2006.

"Every time I go back to California, it's like I'm going home," said Jones, who lives in Raleigh, N.C. "To get the chance to go back to the place of my birth for a major championship will be one of the highlights of my career."

Simon said Thursday from Madrid that he and Craig Masback, chief executive of USA Track and Field, began discussions in 1999 to stage a major track event here. The key to making it reality was the Anschutz Entertainment Group's commitment to build the $130-million, multisport complex.

"It would have never happened without them," Simon said. "They've done it right by planning a stadium that can seat up to 20,000. If we had 60,000 seats to sell, I'd worry, but I believe 20,000 will be sold."

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Tim Montgomery, sore after setting a world record of 9.78 seconds in the 100 meters Saturday, will be replaced in the 100 at Madrid by Jon Drummond. Montgomery practiced handoffs for the 400-meter relay and wants to run the anchor leg today.

"It's hard to sit back and just watch," he said.

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Southern Californians Sylvia Mosqueda and Milena Glusac joined the elite field for the Nov. 3 New York City Marathon. Marla Runyan will make her marathon debut in a field expected to include former world cross-country champion Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland. New York Road Runner officials are expected to announce next week that former UCLA standout Meb Keflezighi, who won the U.S. men's 5K title last weekend, will run in New York. Keflezighi won the U.S. 12K cross-country, 15K roads, 10,000-meter track and seven-mile road titles this year.

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World junior figure skating champion Ann Patrice McDonough was added to the entrants at Skate America, Oct. 24-27 at Spokane, Wash. That will be Sarah Hughes' first competition since her gold-medal triumph at Salt Lake City.... Olympians Mark and Scott Fusco and the late Joe Riley were elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.

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