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1998 Year in Review

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Overrated Kenyan distance runner Daniel Komen After a record-breaking 1997, he ran poorly, fueling speculation that he was using performance-enhancing EPO during his record 5,000-meter run. Rumors will heighten if he doesn't improve in '99.

Underrated Sprint coach John Smith It can't be a coincidence that the two most consistent sprinters in the world are Maurice Greene of the U.S. and Ato Boldon of Trinidad, and that both have been tutored by former U.S. Olympian Smith. A trackside philosopher whose ego is as large as his athletes', Smith delivers the goods.

Annoying The drug issue It has become impossible for a track and field athlete to make a dramatic leap in performance without prompting the nudge, nudge cynicism of the sport's followers. From Michael Johnson to Marion Jones to almost every African distance runner, performers who surpass the ordinary are suspected, fairly or not.

Breakthrough U.S. hurdler Bryan Bronson U.S. 400-meter hurdler learned his event on a dirt track at a Texas high school that owned only two hurdles. Last summer he dominated his event and became the third-fastest 400H man in history.

Uplifting Jackie Joyner-Kersee In the year that claimed her sister-in-law Florence Griffith Joyner's life, JJK closed out the greatest multi-event career in history with a courageous victory in the Goodwill Games heptathlon. As she hung on in the grueling 800 meters, she reminded all of us how she inspired a generation of girls not just to compete, but to sweat.

MVP Marion Jones In just two seasons as a fulltime track athlete, Jones has developed into the greatest female sprint-jump talent in history. In 1998, she ran 10.65 for 100 meters, perilously close to Flo-Jo's 10-year-old world record of 10.49, a mark once thought unreachable. She also threatened the world long-jump record and lost just once in 38 competitions.

Storyline to Follow in 1999 Keep up with Jones Marion Jones' remarkable quest to break Flo-Jo's 100- and 200-meter world records and to continue pushing toward five gold medals in Sydney.

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