With the learning has come suffering. There is a high pressure quotient to the practices that Smith runs each day on the UCLA track, what with the coach digging at Greene's psyche and Olympic sprinters Ato Boldon and Jon Drummond dishing nonstop trash. "It's not for the fainthearted," says Smith. Boldon has often taken Greene to his Beverly Hills home to watch videotape of their races and workouts. Boldon rose from his seat last Saturday evening when Greene sailed through the finishing tape with his first national title and felt tears welling behind his sunglasses.
Greene has this effect on people. Al Hobson coached Greene for 14 years in Kansas City and found it hard to let him leave last fall. "He's like my son," Hobson said after Greene's race. When the two found each other in the twilight, the 57-year-old Hobson wept openly, and on balance the whole scene beat the heck out of marketing.