Matt Butler: Monthly special shines a new light on the Greene corn

View From The Sofa: Greene Light, Eurosport

Maurice Greene, the last great American sprinter, was not known ever to have suffered from a lack of self-belief. The GOAT ("Greatest of All Time") tattoo on his shoulder was evidence enough.

Even in his twilight years as a runner, dogged by niggling injuries, he remained certain he would win every time he toed the start line. At Crystal Palace in a pre-Olympic warm-up meet before Athens 2004, he found himself up against the then world record-holder, Asafa Powell in the 100 metres. Greene (right) came up short against the Jamaican, posting 9.97sec to Powell's 9.91.

Afterwards, many expected him to be disappointed, angry even. He was the defending Olympic 100m champion, after all – and as a self-confessed ego-driven athlete, he had been beaten by the new guy on the block. But Greene sauntered through the mixed zone, with his trademark grin and exaggerated gesticulations, correcting every interviewer that it wasn't "if" but "when" he walked off with the gold medal for the 100m in Greece in two weeks' time.

He didn't win gold in Athens – that medal went to a pre-drugs ban Justin Gatlin. But Greene did walk away with the bronze medal, along with a silver in the relay.

His showmanship was plain to see after that race, with his theatrical hug of Gatlin on the track. So it was no surprise that he has since gone on to carve a light entertainment niche for himself after his retirement from the track in 2008.

He has done Dancing With The Stars and Blind Date in the US – you get the feeling that if he was a Brit he'd be nailed on to do I'm a Celebrity – and dabbled in punditry for London 2012.

But this year, in a series of monthly specials leading up to the athletics World Championships, he has taken on the persona of a documentarian, in the cheesily named Greene Light. Albeit one who wears a natty baggy suit and busts some dance moves in the opening credits, before singing his own theme tune and talking about himself ("Mo-reese Greene") in the third person.

This month Greene picked the Grenadian 400m prospect Kirani James to focus on. Well, he picked him to stand in the rain while Greene spouted faux-modest statements of the kind only the most cocky can get away with. It was beyond lightweight. Five minutes of discussion about his studies in Alabama were followed with a one-question interview with the athlete's coach Harvey Glance ("how good can he be?"), then a training session in which Greene tackled what Glance called "a man's race". Shots of the sprinter flopping over the track as if knackered, while giggling at his wackiness, predictably followed. And then Greene's verdict: "You can't go as fast in the 400m as you can in the 100m. James is going places." No kidding.

Far more insightful was a slot featuring the Kenyan distance runner Vivian Cheruiyot, the reigning 5,000m and 10,000m world champion. Her softly spoken demeanour belied a steely determination and ruthlessness. It was a very different way of expressing self-belief, with no need for tattoo-flashing, strutting or snappy winks to camera. Tellingly, Greene was nowhere to be seen.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
The crowd enjoy Latitude Festival 2014

music
Arts and Entertainment
'I do think a woman's place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.'

Is this the end of the Dowager Countess?tv
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Martin of Coldplay performs live for fans at Enmore Theatre on June 19, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith from The Office ten years on

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Maisie Williams prepares to enter the House of Black and White as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones season five

tv
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Shining star: Maika Monroe, with Jake Weary, in ‘It Follows’
film review
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Bytes, camera, action: Leehom Wang in ‘Blackhat’
film
Arts and Entertainment
The Libertines will headline this year's festival
music
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Dean Anderson in the original TV series, which ran for seven seasons from 1985-1992
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Muscling in: Noah Stewart and Julia Bullock in 'The Indian Queen'

opera
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TVViewers predict what will happen to Miller and Hardy
Arts and Entertainment
Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in season two of the series

Watch the new House of Cards series three trailer

TV
Arts and Entertainment
An extract from the sequel to Fight Club

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant, Eve Myles and Olivia Colman in Broadchurch series two

TV Review
Arts and Entertainment
Old dogs are still learning in 'New Tricks'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
'Tonight we honour Hollywood’s best and whitest – sorry, brightest' - and other Neil Patrick Harris Oscars jokes

Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards

Arts and Entertainment
Patricia Arquette making her acceptance speech for winning Best Actress Award

Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears

Arts and Entertainment

Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants

Arts and Entertainment
Lloyd-Hughes takes the leading role as Ralph Whelan in Channel 4's epic new 10-part drama, Indian Summers

TV Review

The intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Segal and Cameron Diaz star in Sex Tape

Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn