Source: The Hershey Company

Olympic Greats Carl Lewis, Rafer Johnson Return as Ambassadors for one of North America's longest-running youth fitness initiatives, which is free to participants

HERSHEY, Pa. - The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) announced today that it has officially opened registration for the 2011 Hershey®'s Track & Field Games, the company's long-running, free youth fitness initiative that takes place in nearly 4,000 communities throughout North America.

Now entering its 34th year, Hershey's Track & Field Games is the largest youth sports program of its kind in North America. It is designed to encourage physical fitness and sportsmanship for youth of all skill levels ages 9 to 14. Information on the nearest Hershey's Track & Field Games local events, including how to register, is available at

More than 10 million youth athletes have participated in the Hershey's Track & Field Games over the program's previous 33 years - all at no cost of entry. And while several Olympic athletes received their start through the program, the mission of the Games is simply to provide kids with a fun and easy way to become active and engaged in healthy activities.

Olympic legends Carl Lewis, one of only two athletes ever to capture nine gold medals, and Rafer Johnson, winner of the decathlon gold medal at the 1960 Games in Rome, will once again serve as Hershey's Track & Field Games ambassadors.

This year, Hershey is teaming up with the Nike Reuse-A-Shoe program, a unique program that collects old, worn-out athletic shoes to be recycled into Nike Grind, a material used in creating athletic and playground surfaces, as well as select Nike products. Program participants will be invited to bring used athletic shoes to state and provincial meets, which will then be recycled into Nike Grind. A Hershey's Track & Field Games playground will be awarded to a participating local community as part of the program's work with Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program. Since its inception in the early 1990's, Nike's Reuse-A-Shoe program has recycled more than 25 million pairs of athletic shoes into Nike Grind.

"The Hershey Company is more committed than ever to promoting physical activity and sportsmanship among young people," said Jim George, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility, The Hershey Company, and Hershey's Track & Field Games Chairman of the Board. "Working with Nike's innovative Reuse-A-Shoe program, which helps kids get more involved in environmental stewardship, is a wonderful new component that will help us on our mission to create fun fitness opportunities for kids throughout North America."

In 2010, thousands of kids in nearly 4,000 North American communities participated in the Hershey's Track & Field Games. Once again this year, the top boys and girls who advance through local, district (where applicable), and state/provincial Hershey's Track & Field Games events will be eligible to qualify for their regional team and receive an all-expense-paid trip to compete in this summer's 2011 North American Final Meet in Hershey, Pa., courtesy of The Hershey Company.

Hershey also announced the continuation of its Hershey's FastTrack to Sports Starters Guide, which includes coach's cards and skill activities, and is available for new local meet coordinators. Hershey's FastTrack to Sports was developed in conjunction with Carl Lewis and Athletics Canada to instruct children in the basics of track and field, which serve as the fundamentals for all sports and many everyday activities. It was first launched in 2007 as a pilot program for the National Recreation and Park Association and is now available by registering a local meet within your community at The site also offers helpful information, materials and lesson plans that teach adults and children basic running, jumping and throwing skills.

For more information on the Hershey's Track and Field Games and the North American Final meet, visit Hershey's Track & Field Games

Founded in 1975 by Dr. Donald P. Cohen in Charleston, W.Va., Hershey's Track & Field Games has grown from a local playground event in a single community to an international program encouraging physical fitness among youths and sportsmanship between peers. More than 10 million children from the United States and Canada have participated in the Hershey's Track & Field Games to date. Children interested in participating in Hershey's Track & Field Games or adults interested in hosting a qualifying meet in their town can visit The Hershey Company provides North American funding for Hershey's Track & Field Games. Additional partners are the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NYSPE) & USA Track & Field and Athletics Canada. Hershey's Track & Field Games is the largest youth sports program of its kind with thousands of children participating in the program yearly, representing over 4,000 communities.

About The Hershey Company

The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) is the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery. Headquartered in Hershey, Pa., The Hershey Company has operations throughout the world and more than 12,000 employees. With revenues of more than $5 billion, Hershey offers such iconic brands as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Kit Kat, Twizzlers and Ice Breakers as well as the smooth, creamy indulgence of Hershey's Bliss chocolates. Hershey is a leader in the fast-growing dark and premium chocolate segment, with such brands as Hershey's Special Dark and Hershey's Extra Dark. In addition, Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company, markets such premium chocolate offerings as Scharffen Berger and Dagoba. For more than 100 years, The Hershey Company has been a leader in making a positive difference in the communities where we live, work and do business. The Milton Hershey School, established by the company's founder in 1909, provides a nurturing environment, quality education, housing, and medical care at no cost to children in social and financial need. The School is administered by the Hershey Trust Company, Hershey's largest shareholder, making the students of Milton Hershey School direct beneficiaries of Hershey's success. Please visit us at