Athletics: Devers no diva as she shares intimate secret

ANYONE WITH any doubts that the heat is now off after Seville only had to see Gail Devers clowning around on the Scotstoun Stadium track yesterday. Hamming it up for the benefit of photographers in a giant pair of shoes, the American danced and let out an infectious laugh - she expects 6,000 Glaswegians to join in with her today.

The 110m hurdles gold medallist from the World Championships may have been promoting the CGU Challenge Great Britain v USA match, but Devers gave the impression that this was a therapeutic date in her calendar rather than the latest stop in a grinding schedule.

Maybe it was the fact that Glasgow was a good 20F cooler than Spain, or the fact that she is heading back to the States after this end-of-season finale, but Devers is no diva. "The World Championships were very draining, and it took a lot out of everyone, but this is different - it's our chance to put a smile on people's faces."

The race organiser Jon Ridgeon predicts Scotstoun will have an "intimate atmosphere" and that struck a chord with Devers, as well as Maurice Greene and Colin Jackson, who shared the press conference yesterday with America's first lady of the track. "Even if you were not inspired to run," said Devers, "this would do it for you. Its good to know that the crowd will be so close. If they are excited, then we are excited.

"This is our way of saying thank you. We cannot shake everyone's hand, but we know we have plenty of supporters who see us on television, and if they see us for 11 seconds, 12 seconds... or even eight seconds," she laughed, nodding at Greene, " then it is our way of giving something back."

Such noble thoughts seem to belong to the more Corinthian era of 1961, when the Great Britain v USA match began, rather than today's fast-moving and lucrative world of athletics, but Devers believes the sport needs occasions like this to stimulate new blood.

"Signing autographs is no hassle," said the woman whose hurdles performance in Seville - her fifth World Championship title - indicates she is back to her best. "I also love talking, in fact it's my second pastime after athletics. As long as people approach you in a respectful way, and want to talk about their child who is an up-and-coming athlete, that is fine. The sport has had too much negative publicity ever since 1988 and it overshadows the positive aspects."

Devers believes that she and the cream of America's track stars are in "partnership" with Jackson and the rest of the Brits in raising athletics' image, but our only gold medallist from Seville would like nothing better from today than nudge Britain ahead in a series that is tied at 6-6. "The event has a lot of heritage," the 110m hurdles champions agreed. "We feel that we are the best team in Europe and they are the best in the world, but we've got a chance of doing something, especially in this kind of venue. It is nice and small and, after Seville, everyone appreciates that."

Even though the scales seems tipped in the USA's favour, Jackson, as you would expect of the only Briton ever to regain a world title, refuses to flinch. "Maurice [Greene] taught me a lesson earlier in the season, simply because he has no fear - none of us should, we train to compete, not to hide!"

Greene is relishing his re-match with Dwayne Chambers and Darren Campbell in the 100m, but after his exertions in Seville, he didn't think a record- breaking run was on the cards: "My body needs to recover because I used up every ounce of my energy in my body last week, so don't expect a world record."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Trainer / IT Trainer

£30 to £32k : Guru Careers: We are seeking a Trainer / IT Trainer to join an a...

Recruitment Genius: Fence Installer - Commercial

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This privately owned Fencing Co...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £22,000

£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you answer yes, this company...

Recruitment Genius: Project / Account Manager and IT Support

£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This world leader in Online Pro...

Day In a Page

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Attwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works
Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation' over plans to overhaul reverse-chronological timeline

Twitter accused of 'Facebookisation'

Facebook exasperates its users by deciding which posts they can and can’t see. So why has Twitter announced plans to do the same?
Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag - but what else could the fashion house call it?

Jane Birkin asks Hermès to rename bag

The star was shocked by a Peta investigation into the exotic skins trade
10 best waterproof mascaras

Whatever the weather: 10 best waterproof mascaras

We found lash-enhancing beauties that won’t budge no matter what you throw at them
Diego Costa biography: Chelsea striker's route to the top - from those who shared his journey

Diego Costa: I go to war. You come with me...

Chelsea's rampaging striker had to fight his way from a poor city in Brazil to life at the top of the Premier League. A new book speaks to those who shared his journey
Ashes 2015: England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

England show the mettle to strike back hard in third Test

The biggest problem facing them in Birmingham was the recovery of the zeitgeist that drained so quickly under the weight of Australian runs at Lord's, says Kevin Garside
Women's Open 2015: Charley Hull - 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

Charley Hull: 'I know I'm a good golfer but I'm also just a person'

British teen keeps her feet on ground ahead of Women's Open
Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'