Olympics 1992 Monday 3 August: Peaking: John Regis - 200 metres: Round 1 8.35am, round 2 5.45pm

Click to follow
The Independent Online
When John Regis held off Linford Christie to win the Olympic trial a month ago, he was well pleased. His time was 20.27 sec, Regis's first hint of real form this season, and a reversal in positions with Christie from the previous week. 'Give me a few more races, and I'll give you 20.2,' Regis said.

Better than that will be needed, but in little over a week Regis had already run quicker than his projection; quicker than he had run since winning the European title two years before. It's a higher standard still that has to be attained in the Olympic arena. The top performer in the event, Michael Johnson, ran 19.79 sec in the US trial. Mike Marsh was also under 20 seconds. The third spot looks like a medal opening.

Johnson's invincibility over the distance has ended, though. When he won the world championship by a clear four metres it looked as if the rest of the world would need more than a year to catch up. But the nearest of his Tokyo challengers, Frankie Fredericks, did that and more before the US trials. Christie was also on the same time.

For speed and technique Regis relies on the coaching of the former top sprinter Mike McFarlane, but he spent much of the winter in the company of Roger Black, Kriss Akabusi and their coach, Mike Whittingham. 'He did a lot more speed endurance work this year with Kriss and Roger,' says Whittingham. He has now run a good series of consistent times. It's all very well to run one-off, but if you are peaking towards a championship you want consistency.'

(Photograph omitted)