Olympics 1992 Saturday 1 August: Step Up: Roger Black - 400 metres: Heats 9.0am

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The Independent Online
When Michael Johnson, world best performer last year at both 200 metres and 400 metres, opted to concentrate on the shorter event in Barcelona it was to John Regis's loss and training partner Roger Black's gain. In his absence last year Black was just overtaken by Antonio Pettigrew for world championship gold, and there are plenty more top performers where he came from.

In the US Olympic trials the 44-second barrier was broken for the first time since Butch Reynolds set the world record in 1988, two years before testing positive for anabolic steroids. Reynold's court action for early reinstatement, in time for Barcelona, severely disrupted the US trials 400 metres, but the performances recorded there put the US on course for another clean sweep.

But medals are won on particular performances, not in the form books. American 400m runners will be the first to appreciate this after their humiliating defeat by the British quartet in the 4 x 400 metres relay in Tokyo. Black was one of the winning squad, and he has proved himself capable of rising to the occasion in the individual event.

Injury problems have been reflected in some of Black's performances, but one from which Black can take heart was into a strong wind in Lausanne when he was caught on the line by Quincy Watts. It could be different when Olympic positions are up for grabs.

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