SEOUL — Track and field fans in South Korea will get a close-up chance next week to watch some of the most prominent athletes involved in the Athens Olympics, officials said Wednesday.

A host of American track stars — led by 200-meter gold medalist Shawn Crawford — are to compete in the 2004 Pusan International Athletics Competition, according to the Korean Athletics Federation.

The competition is to begin Sept. 24 at various venues in Pusan, on South Korea’s southern coast.

Besides Crawford, sprint luminary Maurice Greene — the former 100-meter world-record holder and three-time world champion who won the gold in the 1996 Games and finished third in Athens — also will compete, setting up a marquee race in one of track and field’s showcase events.

There was no final word Wednesday as to whether Justin Gatlin, the American who took the 100-meter gold at Athens, would take part.

Organizers are touting the race as the biggest in South Korea since the 1988 Seoul Olympics, which is remembered for the steroid-tainted race between Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis.

Other American stars scheduled to compete this year in Pusan include Allen Johnson, a 110-meter hurdle specialist; 100-meter women’s silver medalist, Lauryn Williams; and men’s high jump silver medalist Matt Hemingway.

According to organizers, other medal winners from dozens of countries also are scheduled to compete.

Visit the Korea Athletics Federation Web site (Korean language only) at, or call (02) 414-3032 for more information.

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