Work in Sports
Greene still chasing down elusive Olympic gold medal
By Desmond M. Wallace, CNNSI.com
As strange as it is to believe, when the fastest man on Earth steps into the blocks at the Sydney Olympics, he will have nothing but redemption on his mind.
For all of his accomplishments -- world-record holder in the 100 meters, two-time 100-meter world outdoor champion and defending 60-meter world indoor titlist -- Maurice Greene has yet to win an Olympic gold medal.
Jesse Owens? Four golds.
Carl Lewis? A whopping nine golds, including two in the '84 and '88 100 meters.
Maurice Greene? Zip.
At the U.S. Olympic Trials in 1996, the Kansas City, Kan., native finished a disappointing seventh in the quarterfinals.
But this year, after serious daily training with renown sprinters Ato Boldon, Jon Drummond, and Inger Miller -- each of whom has also qualified for the Sydney Games -- Greene is the clear favorite to win gold in Sydney in track and field's marquee event.
In fact, heading into the Olympics, Greene had posted four of the top nine times ever recorded in the 100, including three of the six fastest all time.
Of course, Greene is arguably best known for his blistering world-best 9.79 effort from the '99 World Championships in Athens. His time equaled the steroid-aided and since-disqualified performance of Canada's Ben Johnson set at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.
But any hopes of approaching record times in Sydney seemed dashed when Greene injured his left hamstring at the U.S. Trials in July in attempting to qualify in the 200 meters.
Some wondered if the splendid sprinter would be ready to race at all in Sydney. But Greene silenced those critics by winning the 100 in Berlin on Sept. 1 in 9.86, the best time in the world this year.