Men’s 110 metres hurdles
Under-appreciated in the United States despite his splendid championship record 1996 Olympic champion Allen JOHNSON has his share of victories on the European circuit this summer and would like nothing more than to claim his third world title to go with his Olympic gold.
The American champion won in Monaco, Oslo and Paris where he recorded the season's leading time of 13.15 however he was beaten by his training partner Terrence TRAMMELL in Stockholm in a slow time. Most significantly the injuries which affected his performance in Sydney (he was 4th) and kept him out of the final in Seville appear to have subsided. Apart from 1999 he has beaten 13 seconds every year since 1995. The question now is whether he can approach the form that led to his American Record performance (12.92).
In their final race before the world championships Johnson ran 13.18 to edge Olympic champion Anier GARCIA of Cuba by .01 in the Herculis Monaco Golden League competition. His penchant for hitting hurdles could lead to an error when it counts but he must nevertheless be considered the favourite.
Trammell, the 2001 world indoor champion, was second to GARCIA in Sydney last year by a margin of 0.16 seconds (13.00 - 13.16) and will, despite his friendship with Johnson, be aiming to take gold himself. With a personal best 100m time of 10.08 seconds TRAMMELL is the fastest sprinter in the field.
Garcia has dipped under 13.25 four times and has also beaten TRAMMELL but the American pair who share both a coach (Curtis FRYE of the University of South Carolina) and an agent (former world record holder Renaldo NEHEMIAH) look poised to finish in the top two spots.
The third American, Dawane WALLACE has a season best of just 13.30 but in a year when world record holder Colin JACKSON has decided not to compete in Edmonton and times in the 13.30s have been competitive he could sneak in for a medal if any of the big three falter. A year ago he missed qualifying for the Olympics by .003 seconds - finishing just behind TRAMMELL – but recorded a personal best of 13.22. His lack of quick times this season might be more a result of the lack of big meet competition.