GOLD PROSPECTORS: OUR 20 TIPS FOR THE TOP IN ATLANTA
Monday 15 July 1996
Andre Agassi has said playing in the Olympics will be his most exciting experience - his father boxed in the Games for Iran. Add the euphoria which greeted American success in Los Angeles in 1984 and, despite his moderate run this year, the Glitz-Kid could be donning gold.
Germany's Ludger Beerbaum and the mare Ratina are among the most thrilling partnerships seen in show jumping. If luck is with them, they could prove impossible to beat in the arena.
The 20-year-old Russelsheim High School Student is already a household name with over 50 caps. He is a fearless striker with exceptional speed and powerful shooting, particularly his reverse-stick sweep. He owes his success to his flair for the unexpected and his passion to score.
The man who transformed the triple jump last season looks capable of adding an Olympic title to his world championship gold now he has overcome a mid-season wobble. He is unbeaten since June last year and won again at Crystal Palace on Friday night.
Egerszegi was unbeaten at backstroke for five years until the world championships in 1994. Defeat to He Chong made "the little mouse" decide to return for her third Games in an attempt to deny the Chinese and add to her collection of four Olympic golds.
Aged 24 and coming to the end of her career, Evans could be the one American to challenge the threatened Chinese domination. She won three golds in Seoul and retained the 800m freestyle title in Barcelona. There will be no greater reception than if she were to make it a hat-trick in front of the partisan crowd.
Upsurge of form this season makes him a real threat to Michael Johnson over 200m, having beaten him this month in Oslo. For good measure he tops the 100m ranking.
Captured the world's imagination at Barcelona when as a 13-year-old her dives posted the most decisive victory for 60 years. She then confessed she did not know what her father did for a living because she had been taken away from home to a sports academy when she was nine.
Two stunning world records at 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres last season make him the clear favourite to win gold medals at both events in Atlanta. He is the natural inheritor of a great tradition of Ethiopian distance runners.
Twelve years ago he raced for Spain in the Olympic road race in Los Angeles. Now he gets a second chance that two years ago would have been only a dream for the winner of the last five Tours de France.
The Olympic programme has been rearranged to accommodate his ambition of becoming the first man to complete the double at 200 metres and 400 metres. Of the two, the 400 looks the safer bet for him.
The world's pre-eminent talent from 1,500 through to 3,000 metres, he is ready to claim the 1500m title he missed in Barcelona despite the growing claims of Venuste Niyongabo, of Burundi, and Hicham El Guerroudj, of Morocco.
A legend will make a comeback now that mixed doubles has been accepted into the Olympic schedule for the first time. Park Joo-Bong, the 31-year- old South Korean former world and All England champion, makes one last unexpected tilt for gold, in partnership with young Ra Kyung-Min.
Small, powerful and determined, the 17-year-old world and European champion badly wants to win the gold medal. As Olympic champion, commercial success would enable her to move her mother, siblings and grandparents out of the cramped Donetsk apartment they all share.
The surprise winner of both sprint freestyle events in Barcelona, at 24 and 6ft 6in tall Popov comes to the Games in Atlanta at the height of his powers. He broke Matt Biondi's 100m world record two years ago and is now aiming to become the first man to swim the distance in under 48sec.
He is so good that he is making four gold medals at successive Olympics seem almost a formality, even though it means he has been at the top of a most demanding sport for at least 12 years. Unbeaten with Matthew Pinsent since Barcelona, and likely to remain so here.
Cuban heavyweight Felix Savon should equal compatriot Teofilo Stevenson's three consecutive Olympic titles at Atlanta. A double Olympic and world champion, amateur superstar Savon is still tougher than the rest.
On the verge of winning his third successive gold medal when he begins his challenge in the 64kg category, which would be an Olympic weightlifting record. The 29-year-old has collected 22 World Championship medals in the past 12 years.
The 19-year-old double world champion is, at 45kg, the lightest fighter in the lightest category, but her remarkable technical ability should see her through to the gold. Fighting her is like fighting a wraith - you don't know where she is until she suddenly appears, in throwing position. Frightening, but the essence of judo.
Her failure to qualify for the US 200 metres team because of a muscle injury will force her to concentrate her energies on the shorter sprints, where she leads the world.
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