Greene confident he'll reclaim record

Published: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 29, 2003 at 12:42 a.m.

No matter what the record book says, Maurice Greene still considers himself the world's fastest man.

And he's confident he'll reclaim the 100-meter mark broken by Tim Montgomery last year.

''World records are made to be broken, and he just happened to have one of those days where he broke my world record,'' Greene said Tuesday. ''But the thing is, I'm still capable of running faster than I have, and I know I'm faster than him.''

Greene is coming off a disappointing 2002.

He was in the stands in Paris on Sept. 14, watching when Montgomery ran the 100 in 9.78 seconds - 0.01 faster than Greene's world record set in 1999.

Greene said he laughed when he saw Montgomery's time.

''I recognize him as the world record holder,'' Greene said, ''but I don't believe he's the world's fastest man. When they called me 'the world's fastest man,' it was when I won the world title.

''He hasn't won a world title or an Olympic title, so I can't call him 'the world's fastest man.'''

Greene's predictions for the coming season are optimistic, to say the least.

''I will run 9.7 three times this year,'' he said.

He plans to double in the 100 and 200 meters at the world outdoor championships in Paris in August. His predicted 200 time in the coming season - ''19.70-something.'' Michael Johnson's world record is 19.32.

Greene said he hasn't decided if he will try to run both sprints at the 2004 Olympics.

As for the indoor season, which ends with the world championships in Birmingham, England, on March 14-16, Greene predicted ''something around 6.37, 6.36'' in the 60.

Greene made the comments in a conference call from his car as he drove to a workout.

He will compete in the 60-meter dash at the Adidas Indoor Games on Saturday in Boston. Greene, who holds the world indoor 60-meter record of 6.39 seconds, plans to run in other meets in USA Track & Field's Indoor Golden Spike Tour.

They include the Millrose Games in New York on Feb. 7, and the Tyson Foods Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., on Feb. 15.

He blamed his failure to train last winter on deaths in the family and other off-the-track issues.

''There were a lot of things I was going through,'' he said.

Now, he said, ''I think I'm in as good a shape as I've ever been at this time of year.''

Greene said that winning another world title is more important to him than reclaiming the world record.

''That's what counts the most,'' he said. ''I've had the world record. I know I'm capable of running the world record again, but the most important thing is the 'world champion' title. That's what people remember.''

International meets this year will feature a new false start rule that has been roundly criticized by sprinters. Under the new rule, the first false start is charged to every runner in the race, no matter who the offender is. After that, any runner who false starts is disqualified from the race.

Under the old rule, which USA Track & Field will use at its indoor and outdoor championships, each runner gets one false start and is disqualified on the second.

''I could care less about that new false start rule,'' Greene said. ''If I false start, it's just going to be a lot of people sad in the stands. I'm not going to change my race because of a rule. I'm not going to be less aggressive just because there's a new false start rule.''

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