International outdoor apparel and footwear manufacturer Columbia Sportswear Company® (Nasdaq:COLM) has signed a sponsorship agreement to become the official apparel supplier to the 2000 Eco-Challenge held in Sabah Malaysia.

This is Columbia's fourth year sponsoring the high-profile Expedition Race(TM), which takes place on the Island of Borneo August 21 to September 2. As the official apparel supplier, Columbia will provide event officials, VIPs, competitors and members of the media with headwear and performance pieces from the Company's GRT(TM) sportswear collection. Columbia will also outfit Mark Burnett, founder and host of the Eco-Challenge, for the twelve-day event.

The Eco-Challenge, the world's premier Expedition Race, is held in a remote part of the world each year and attracts the planet's best adventure racing athletes. The Sabah 2000 race marks the sixth annual Eco-Challenge event, and the course travels through mysterious Malaysian Borneo via ancient headhunter trails, remote rivers and surrounding tropical seas.

"Columbia Sportswear's technical, high-performance apparel is designed specifically for the kinds of demanding outdoor activities performed during the Eco-Challenge, so we're very excited about continuing our participation in this event," said Dan Hanson, Columbia's Director of Marketing. "We look forward to watching the teams tackle Borneo's tough terrain."

All previous winning teams of Eco-Challenge since June 1995 will compete against each other and against the top teams from other countries this August to determine the World Champion. In addition, Eco-Challenge will award the winning Sabah 2000 team the largest first-place cash purse in adventure racing history -- $55,000 (US). The top five teams will share a total of $100,000 (US) in prize money.

USA Network will broadcast the Eco-Challenge Sabah 2000 race to 77 million households, devoting four hours over two days in prime-time United States programming in April 2001. The Discovery Channel will air the event in Canada. Eco-Challenge also plans to announce their overall international television distribution strategy in the coming weeks. Viewers will receive spine-tingling coverage of the demanding Eco-Challenge Sabah 2000 course. Competitors will rappel down cascading waterfalls using fixed ropes, paddle along winding rivers in indigenous canoes, and trek and mountain bike along dense rainforest trails. They will also sail through tropical seas to magical, remote islands using the native Perahu outrigger canoes and even dive down to an underwater coral reef checkpoint.

Eco-Challenge® ( name and logo are registered trademarks of J. Mark Burnett and cannot be reproduced. Eco-Challenge®, The Expedition Race(TM), Expedition Racing(TM) and Expedition Competition(TM) and all associated logos and service marks are all trademarks or registered trademarks of J. Mark Burnett in the United States and/or other countries.

Founded in 1938 in Portland, Ore., Columbia Sportswear Company® is a global leader in the design, manufacture, marketing and distribution of active outdoor apparel and footwear. As one of the largest outerwear manufacturers in the world and the leading seller of skiwear in the United States, the Company has developed an international reputation for quality, performance, functionality and value. To learn more about Columbia Sportswear, please visit the Company's Web site at