In clinching his first Olympic berth, however, McCoy's key move was westward. After finishing second to eventual world champ Stephen Neal at the 1999 U.S. world-team trials—with his third loss to Neal that year-McCoy, a Penn State assistant coach and two-time NCAA champion for the Nittany Lions, left Happy Valley for the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. The move paid off: McCoy won the national title in April, then upset Neal in a best-of-three series at the Olympic trials in July.
Neal's out of the picture, but McCoy still has at least one worry about Sydney. "I hear there are snakes and spiders crawling all over the place down there," he says with a shudder. His opponents, of course, will have their hands full with a pest of a different nature.
After Michelle Jones won her first world title, in Muskoka, Out., in 1992, she and Peter Coulson, her husband and coach, bought a mini pinscher and named him Muskoka. In '93 Jones won again, in Manchester, England, and soon Moskoka had a playmate, also a mini pinscher, named Manchester.
Since 1990, Jones, 31, and Coulson have lived eight months a year in Carlsbad, Calif., to be close to the U.S. racing circuit, but she's primed for a return to Sydney, where her sport will make its Olympic debut. Jones's gutsiest feat was getting a bronze at the '97 worlds in Perth, after a bike crash left her with a gash on her leg. During the run she left bloody footprints on the road. When Jones won April's World Cup event held on the Olympic course, she stamped herself as the Games favorite. If form holds, expect a mini pinscher named Sydney.