The american sprinter Marion Jones and men's sprint champion Maurice Greene have made an early trip to Edmonton to help promote the World Championships and contemplate their prospects.
"I see it as part of the job," Jones said. "I'm not naive, in terms that I know it's a business and they're trying to sell tickets, and bringing in Maurice and myself might help sell a couple extra tickets. If we can help promote the sport, that's great.
Jones and Greene, two of the greatest sprinters in history, are expected to bring the most exposure to the championships at the refurbished Commonwealth Stadium.
Jones might get a chance to accomplish the goal she missed at the last World Championships two years ago in Seville and win an unprecedented four gold medals.
Jones opened those championships by winning the 100m in 10.70 seconds, equalling the fifth-fastest time ever, but her hopes for a gold medal sweep ended quickly when she finished third in the long jump. She then pulled up lame in the semi-finals of the 200m, knocking her out of the 4x400 relay.
This time, she is skipping the long jump, her weakest event, and running the 100m and 200m, and possibly the 400m and 4x400m relays. If she runs all four and wins them all, she would be the first athlete to win four golds at one championships.
Jones has not lost a 100m final since 1997, and has not lost a 200m final since 1995, a total of 25 races. Included in this streak are victories in both events at last year's Olympics, where she won a women's record five medals – three golds and two bronzes. She is also unbeaten in three 400m finals in the past three years.
Greene has not been as invincible, but he has been dominant. He won the 100 and 200 at the 1999 World Championships, the first sprint double in a global meeting since Carl Lewis swept both events at the 1984 Olympics. He won the 100 at last year's Olympics and he set the world record of 9.79 in 1999.
Greene is eligible to try another double this year but might not defend his 200 title. He is bothered by tendinitis in his left knee, and won't make his decision on the 200 until he arrives in Edmonton.
"As of now I'm not going to run [the 200] if I'm not 100 per cent," he said recently. "I've been training on the curve and my knee feels a lot worse than it does on the straight while I'm running." In the 100, Greene has lost only once this year, beaten by the emerging Jamaican Patrick Jarrett at the Prefontaine Classic in May, but the fastest time of the year belongs to the American Tim Montgomery, who ran 9.84 at Oslo.
The Jamaican track authorities have decided to reconsider their two-year ban on Jarrett, who tested positive for steroids at the Jamaican National Championships last month.
Alfred Sanger of the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association said they had agreed to grant Jarrett a new hearing on the suspension in September.Reuse content