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Zurich track meet offers real gold prize to Felix and Richards

5 May 2008

Allyson Felix and Sanya Richards will run for actual gold in Switzerland after the Olympics.

Organizers of Zurich's Weltklasse track and field meet announced Monday that Felix and Richards will race over 200 and 400 meters at the August 29 event.

There is a bonus prize of 500 grams (about 1 pound) of gold if either American wins both races.

"The schedule in the Olympics means they can't run the two races together and here they asked if they could," Weltklasse spokeswoman Janine Geigele said. "We thought that was something special so we have to give something special."

Felix is a double world champion over 200, and was with Richards on the 1,600-meter relay team that won gold at the world championships in Osaka, Japan, last year. Richards also won 1,600 relay gold at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

The Weltklasse is known as the "One-Day Olympics," with 24 world records set during its 80 years.

The winner of each event will receive US$16,000 in prize money.

The men's 400 at Zurich also promises to be a highlight for United States athletes. Olympic and world champion Jeremy Wariner and world silver medalist LaShawn Merritt have both committed to run.

Veteran 800 runner Maria Mutola of Mozambique is aiming for her 13th Weltklasse win. She will be competing against world champion Janeth Jepkosgei of Kenya.

In the men's javelin, world champion Tero Pitkamaki of Finland will go up against Olympic champion Andreas Thorkildsen of Norway.

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