Maurice Greene doesn’t need much more fine-tuning in the 100m before the U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento six weeks from now.
Greene ran a wind-aided 9.78 in the Payton Jordan U.S. Open at Stanford's Cobb Track & Angell Field on Monday 31 May in what the former World record holder said would likely be his last 100m before the US Trials July 9-18 in Sacramento.
Greene's performance ranks as the second fastest in history under any conditions. A 3.7-metre-per-second tailwind, well over the allowable 2.0 for a legal mark, prevented Greene from tying the World record that he lost by a hundredth of a second to Tim Montgomery in 2002.
From Greene’s perspective, he would have run faster without a breeze. Greene said strong tailwinds cause him to rush and lose form.
"It makes me skip a couple of steps," Greene said. "I think these races are showing that I am in great form and when I get a race with no wind at my back, then you will really see what happens.''
Greene returning to World record form
Greene ran a wind-aided 9.86 in the Home Depot Invitational on 22 May and holds the top two legal times in the world at 10.02 and 10.04 this season. Only Obadele Thompson's 9.69 with a 5.7 metre-per-second wind on 13 April 1996 in El Paso, Texas, is faster than Greene's performance Monday.
The three-time World champion wants to show that he has recovered from tendonitis in his right knee that slowed him over the last two seasons and culminated with him limping off the track in the semifinals in the 2003 World Championships in Paris.
Greene, 29, said his trademark quick start was neutralized by the injury and his drive phase was virtually nonexistent.
“I know what I‘ve been through and what was wrong with me,” Greene said. “I decided to get on the line knowing that I was not 100 percent. I am the kind of athlete that feels that I can overcome anything. Each time I went to the line I went out there and felt that I should win.’’
Greene dominates strong 100m field
On Monday, Greene led from the start to dominate a field that 2003 World indoor 60m champion Justin Gatlin (9.91) and reigning World outdoor 200 champion John Capel (10.07).
"As long as I am healthy, the sky is the limit," Greene said. "I am going to push the limits of my body and run faster than no man has run before. I still say I am the greatest of all time. That's what I believe and that's what I am setting out here to prove.''
His next objective will be in the US Trials. Greene, who is under contract with adidas, said the only competition that he would consider participating before then would be if he received an invitation to run in the Nike-sponsored Prefontaine Classic on 19 June.
Greene said that he doesn’t require numerous competitions to work his way into racing shape, particularly training with John Smith and Emmanuel Hudson’s HSI team that includes Larry Wade, Ato Boldon, Torri Edwards, Inger Miller and Angela Williams.
“I have a great training group that I can practice to go out there and compete with,” Greene said about HSI. “Now that I am 100 percent healthy, the trials are going to be great. It will be very intense and there is going to be a lot of great competition but only one man can win. I say everybody is fighting for second.’’
Teter, Dragila and Godina share spotlight with Greene
Greene's performance in the USA Track & Field Golden Spike Tour event highlighted a meet that included a yearly World-leading performance by Nicole Teter in the women's 800 (1:58.83) in a race that produced the three fastest times in the world in 2004; a season-leading equaling performance of 4.70m by Stacy Dragila in the women’s pole vault and a 21.71m effort in the Shot Put by John Godina.
Teter wins fast 800m
Teter, who trains at Stanford with the Nike Farm Team, led the women’s 800m through a 57.7 opening quarter to tow Guyana’s Marian Burnett (1:59.47) and Diane Cummins (1:59.67) to the Nos. 2 and 3 marks in the world this year.
The win provided redemption for Teter after dropping out of the 1500m in the Home Depot Invitational with a lower back injury. Teter plans to attempt a 800-1500m double in the US Trials but will compete exclusively in the 800m as preparation.
Teter’s performance was her best since 2002 when she ran 1:57.97 and won national indoor and outdoor titles. Last season, Teter missed most of the season because of a foot injury.
“I am just glad that I could run this early enough where I could feel confident,” Teter said. “Hopefully, each race will get progressively better. I don’t mean progressively faster by faster times but by just finishing feeling good. Because I took so much time off, each race is a learning experience.’’
Familiar result for Dragila at Stanford
Dragila is well acquainted with the Stanford facility. In the 2001 US Open, Dragila twice broke the World record, raising the standard 16cm to a current American record 4.61m.
After tying her 2004 global-leading mark of 4.70m on her second attempt, Dragila had the bar raised at three tries at a World outdoor record 4.83m.
Men’s Pole Vault winner Toby Stevenson attended Stanford where he won the 1998 NCAA title. Stevenson continued his impressive 2004 campaign that includes a national indoor title and a 6.00m clearance in the Modesto Relays last month. On Monday, Stevenson won a jump off at 5.85m with American record holder Jeff Hartwig.
“My confidence is as high as it has ever been right now,” Stevenson said. “If these guys want to beat me, they are going to have to jump damn high. If they do that, then it’s great. They deserve it. My confidence is rolling. I am ready to jump big in every meet and it’s right where I need to be.”
Memorable 32nd birthday for Godina
In the men’s Shot Put, Godina celebrated his 32nd birthday on Monday with 21.71m, his best effort since 2002 to defeat compatriot Adam Nelson (20.91m) and Canadian Brad Snyder (20.39m).
Christian Cantwell, the 2004 World Indoor Champion who won the Home Depot meet at 22.35m to move into ninth on the all-timer performer list was a late scratch.
“This is just one small step toward the Olympics and keeping up with the young guys,” Godina said, who was serenaded with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” by spectators after his victory.
Godina finished second to the 23-year-old at the Home Depot meet but Cantwell was predicting big things for the three-time World champion at the US Open and called him the favourite for the US Trials.
“The guy is a true competitor and I know he is working hard,” Cantwell said. “When he gets on, I wouldn’t count him out. He can be a fireball.’’
Colander unveils new event with 200m
Latasha Colander was a surprise winner in the women’s 200m in 22.37 in a loaded 200m field. Crystal Cox was second in 22.58; Allsyon Felix was third in 22.71. Torri Edwards and Inger Miller were fourth and fifth in 22.87 and 23.04.
Colander is a converted hurdler who won the 2000 US Olympic Trials at 400m. This season, she plans to focus on the 100m and 200m. Her US Open mark was the second-fastest time in the world this season and eclipsed her previous 200m best of 22.49 set in 2000.
Johnson and Adams win Hurdles
Allen Johnson and Jenny Adams were winners in the high hurdles. Johnson defeated Terrence Trammell, 13.12 to 13.20, despite the flu. Adams was a 12.67 to 12.79 winner over 2003 World Championships bronze medallist Miesha McKelvy.
Adams, the 2001 national indoor and outdoor long jump champion, is taking a break from the horizontal jump to concentrate on the hurdles where she finished sixth in last year’s World Championships.
Other men’s winners included Elliot Blount (1:47.91) in the 800m; Laban Rotich of Kenya in the 1500m (3:36.323), Joseph Koskei of Kenya in the 5000m (13:16.83); Ray Hughes in the steeplechase (8:29.20) and Andras Haklits of Croatia in the hammer 74.79m.
Women’s winners included Katie Vermeulen in the 1500m (4:08.88), Grace Upshaw in the long jump (wind-aided 6.74m) and Aretha Hill in the discus (63.79m).
Jordan honoured at meet
Payton Jordan, whom the fifth-annual meet was renamed after this year, was honoured by the Cardinal track team in a ceremony before the meet.
Jordan, 87, coached at Stanford from 1957-1979 as well as the 1968 U.S. Olympic team. In 1938, he was a member of a World-record setting 440-yard relay at the University of Southern California that ran 40.5 for a mark that last 16 years.
Kirby Lee for the IAAF