Athletics: GOLD CROCK GREENE FIRES PARTING SHOT; Maurice Says He's as Good as Carl Lewis

Article excerpt

HOBBLING sprint star Maurice Greene will take no further part in the World Championships.

Greene limped away after winning a third successive 100metres gold medal early yesterday in Canada.

And the American has now been forced to give in to a dodgy hamstring and an injured knee.

Coach John Smith feels the rest of Greene's season is also in doubt.

The world's fastest man had earlier pulled out of defending the 200m title he claimed two years ago in Seville but hoped to be able to run for the US team in the 4x100m relay at the weekend.

However, last night any pain from his body was masked by the euphoria of his medal hat-trick.

Greene said: "When you want something so bad, you put everything on the line.

"Fifteen metres from the finish, I felt a pinch in my quad, but I said to myself, 'I won't let that stop me'.

"Then I felt something in my hamstring go."

The 27-year-old's victory equalled the feat of Carl Lewis, champion in 1983, 1987 and 1991 - and he can surely now lay rightful claim to his countryman's standing as the greatest ever sprinter.

Perhaps not the best ever athlete, given Lewis's four Olympic long jump crowns which helped him finish his career with 10 Games golds.

Add on the 10 World Championship medals, eight of them gold, and they are statistics the current No.1 can't match.

Greene has now won five golds at the worlds but age and the wear of tear of injuries may finally muzzle the Kansas Kannonball by the next Worlds in Paris in 2003.

Younger rivals left trailing in his wake in Canada must surely hope so.

Greene, who finished ahead of fellow-Americans Tim Montgomery (9.85) and Bernard Williams (9.94), said: "I always wanted to put US sprinting back on top where it belongs and, now it's happened with a clean sweep, it feels great. …