Athletics: Legendary Moses seeks Olympic trial place at 48

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The Independent Online

Ed Moses, the greatest 400 metre hurdler in history, is making a return to the track - at the age of 48. The American legend has set himself a target of qualifying for the United States 2004 Olympic trials next summer.

Moses, the Olympic 400m hurdles gold medallist in 1976 and 1984, who once went unbeaten for nine years, nine months and nine days and retired 14 years ago, made the surprise announcement in Paris yesterday on the final day of the World Championships.

Yesterday was also the 20th anniversary of his fastest ever 400m hurdles race in Koblenz, Germany, when he set the last of his four world records with a time of 47.02sec.

Moses revealed he would compete in selected meetings during the spring and summer to achieve the US Olympic qualifying time of 49sec and win a place in the trials next July.

"I am in excellent physical condition and my technique is as sound as it was when I was competing full time," he said. "I can still run my 13-pace stride pattern and I have already started a training programme. I believe with the right application, motivation and technique this is something I can achieve.

"I'm not looking as far ahead as Athens. Realistically some of these young guys are going to get in the team ahead of me, but if I can get to the trials then who knows what could happen? I have an urge to return to the track and see what I can do but this is not going to be a full-scale comeback.

"I am not returning to the athletics circuit and I'm not going to run in major Grand Prix meetings. I have a specific goal which I want to achieve, not only for myself but also as a personal statement that will hopefully motivate others to overcome their own hurdles in life."

Although the qualifying time for the US Olympic trials is 49sec, if not enough hurdlers reach that standard there is a fall-back time of 50.50sec which Moses believes he can achieve.

"I believe it is totally reasonable for me to run 50.5 seconds. It is going to be very exciting as well as hard work," he said. "Mentally I have it, it just depends how I am physically and if it does prove physically possible to appear at the Olympic trials, it will be a great accomplishment for me."