Greene Goes for the Gold

By Burgess, Zack | Insight on the News, August 2, 1999 | Go to article overview
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Greene Goes for the Gold

Burgess, Zack, Insight on the News

Maurice Greene, the `world's fastest human' after sprinting 100 meters in record time last month, has his sights set on other goals -- and on the next Olympics in Sydney.

Maurice Greene stood beside the track at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., preparing for the 200-meter run at the USA Track & Field Championships. As he awaited the event, strangers approached him as if he were royalty, talking as though they had known the sprinter all of their lives.

Suddenly, Greene has become one of America's sports superstars, dashing into the spotlight after covering 100 meters in 9.79 seconds in Athens -- matching the unofficial, steroid-aided standard established by Canada's Ben Johnson at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. In so doing, Greene has recaptured an honor American sprinters (and their fans) believe is rightfully theirs.

"It doesn't bother me.... I know that people mean well" Greene says. "all of the attention hasn't changed me. There always is someone else coming for what I have. And everything that you have can be gone tomorrow.

"I grew up in the church, for one thing. And I know that everything that you do is a blessing. I always thought I could be the best. But you must pay your respects back, because everything that the Lord has given me is from him. It's a gift from the man upstairs"

That gift first was noticed when Greene was a small but eager 8-year-old who began working with coach Al Hobson, who became a father figure for the boy. For six straight years, the two did nothing but practice.

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