SACRAMENTO (California): Reigning Olympic champion Maurice Greene surged from behind to win the 100m final at the United States Olympic Athletics Trials while world record-holder Tim Montgomery will stay home.
Three-time world champion Greene served notice that he will be a threat to defend his title next month at Athens by winning in 9.91 seconds here Sunday with Justin Gatlin second in 9.92 and Shawn Crawford third in 9.93.
“I knew it was going to be a tough race. It was going to take everything I had,” Greene said. “They ran good. I ran good. It's whoever executes the best.”
Greene closed quickly in the middle of the race to edge rivals at the line.
“My fear factor is gone,” Greene said. “Everyone believes they can beat me now. They are not going to give me anything.”
All three advanced to the Athens Games but Montgomery, fighting a possible lifetime ban on doping charges, was seventh in 10.13 to end his hopes of going to Greece.
“I'm going to show you. This ain't my last race,” Montgomery said after exiting the stadium.
Montgomery is among six athletes seeking an Athens Olympics berth who have pending drug appeals. He is among four facing lifetime bans on charges based upon gathered evidence, not a doping positive.
Montgomery, who squeaked into the final by nine-thousandths of a second, has appealed his doping case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Greene, who turns 30 in 12 days, vowed to erase doping scandal headlines with pure speed as he tries to reclaim the world record of 9.78 set by Montgomery in 2002 at Paris.
“We're going to give you all something else to talk about,” Greene said. “We're going to make some positive things happen.”
Greene, nagged by injuries the past two years, will try to become the second man to defend a 100m Olympic title. Carl Lewis won the 1984 title and was awarded gold in 1988 after Canada's Ben Johnson was disqualified.
“People counted me out. That doesn't worry me whatsoever,” Greene said. “I knew I was going to come back. It was just a matter of time.
“This is my time.”
Also advancing was Jerome Young, whose successful US doping appeal to run in the 2000 Olympics was recently overturned by CAS, leaving a 4x400m US relay gold from Sydney in doubt.
n BRUNSWICK (Germany): Germany, once a powerhouse of world track and field, are facing humiliation at next month's Olympics after a dismal national championships where only five athletes reached the qualifying standard for Athens.
Furthermore, the stars who could once be relied upon to deliver gold medals are either retiring or injured leading to fears that Germany could fail to win an Olympics track and field gold medal for the first time since Helsinki in 1952.
Former long jump gold medallist Heike Drechsler, who was Olympic champion in 1992 and 2000, is 39-years-old now and will skip the Athens Games after calling time on her career.
Meanwhile, Germany's men's 800m gold medallist in Sydney four years ago, Nils Schumann, 26, has also pulled out of the Games after undergoing surgery on an Achilles tendon injury.
Both Drechsler and Schumann were considered to be Germany's only realistic hopes of gold at the Aug 13-29 Games. – Agencies