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Banking on experience

Boldon hopes to emerge from Greene's shadow

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Posted: Thursday March 16, 2000 01:32 PM

  A star at UCLA, Ato Boldon has been battling injuries the past couple of years. Bob Martin

.By Ken Klavon,

At 26, Ato Boldon is a grizzled Olympic veteran. If he stays on target, Boldon will appear in his third Summer Games this September in Sydney.

"Anything that can be done at the Olympics, I've done," Boldon says, "except win an Olympic gold medal."

At the '96 Atlanta Games, he came close, with a bronze medal performances in record-setting 100- and 200-meter races. But other than a 1997 world title in the 200, Boldon has remained largely in the shadows of training partner Maurice Greene. "Careerwise he's setting the pace. And he's set a pace I think I need to catch up to this year," Boldon says.

Ato Boldon's Best
100 Meters9.86
200 Meters19.77
Quietly, Boldon has racked up more than 20 sub-10-second finishes in the 100. He's one of only three sprinters to reach that plateau -- Greene and Frank Fredericks of Namibia are the others. In addition, Boldon is the first person to complete seven sub-9.90 100s.

In 1998 he was the first to seriously threaten Donovan Bailey's 9.84 100-meter world record, with a 9.86. When he won the 200-meter title in '97, he did so with a personal-best 19.77.

More on the
Fastest Humans
World's Fastest:
  • Marion Jones
  • Maurice Greene
  • Ato Boldon

    SI Flashbacks:

  • Marion Jones
  • Maurice Greene
  • Ato Boldon

    Photo Essays:

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  • Greene
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    Born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, Boldon went to high school in New York City. He was discovered by his high school track coach while playing for the school's soccer team. During his senior season at UCLA he set a collegiate record with a 9.92-second sprint in the 100 meters, then represented Trinidad and Tobago at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

    "I have to head to Sydney with a little bit more maturity. In both races [at the '96 Olympics], really the only thing missing was experience," Boldon says.

    At the 2000 Games, Boldon will have a formidable fight on his hands in both the 100 and 200 meters. Greene and Michael Johnson, bitter rivals, are expected to be the favorites. "I'm all for the Maurice Greene- Michael Johnson rivalry," Boldon says. "If I get Michael and Maurice to focus on each other, then it does improve my chances."

    Boldon is trying to forget about injury-plagued '98 and '99 seasons. He is also no longer fixated on breaking records.

    "The only objective is: go to Sydney; run those rounds of the 100 and 200 meters; and take two gold medals back to Trinidad," he says. "Everything else is details."

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