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(June 4, 2001) HERZOGENAURACH -- Sportswear marketer Adidas-Salomon has signed up to be the official footwear and apparel sponsor for ESPN's first European X Games qualifier.

Athletes in this action sports competition, which debuts in July in Barcelona, Spain, will battle for a place at the 2001 X Games in Philadelphia in August, along with prize money and medals.

Adidas, based in Herzogenaurach, Germany, also committed late last year to sponsor the new 2001 Latin American X Games qualifier, scheduled for September in Brazil. The marketer has sponsored the Asian X Games qualifier in Thailand for the past three years.

"Our ongoing support of the X Games reinforces our commitment to all sports at all levels," said Jan Runau, head of corporate and global public relations at Adidas-Salomon. "We look to use these events to help us further develop products that will assist these athletes. ... The development of new signature shoes for [athletes] Ryan Nyquist in BMX and Matt Beach in skateboarding are just the latest proof of our efforts in these sports."

ESPN's plan to expand its X Games franchise globally over the next year will see more than a dozen X Games-related events take place on five different continents.

In 2002, ESPN will launch the X Games Global Challenge, featuring regional teams of action sports athletes. -- Suzanne Bidlake

Copyright June 2001, Crain Communications Inc.

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