Edged out of the medals in the 100 metres and runner-up in the 200 metres at last year's world championships, Frankie Fredericks has beaten his erstwhile conquerors this season. The 100 metres is a wide-open contest and even in the 200 metres, where Michael Johnson looks unassailable, Fredericks could pull off an upset.
Yobes Ondieki (Ken) - 5,000m
Yobes Ondieki has a few seconds in hand of the rest of the world in his event. His problem lies in how he can claim them. In last year's world championship 5,000m he made an irresistible early break and kept ahead. If anyone is brave enough to follow him in Barcelona he can only hope that he will have drawn the finish from them.
Mike Powell (US) - Long jump
The lengthy hiatus in the men's long jump was broken at last year's world championships when the lanky Powell inflicted defeat on Carl Lewis for the first time in 10 years and broke Bob Beamon's 23-year-old world record. With a wind-assisted improvement on that already this season, Powell can face this year's twin tasks with some confidence.
Merlene Ottey (Jam) - 100m and 200m
Merlene Ottey was given a couple of nasty surprises last year: bronze medals at the world championships. Otherwise undefeated last summer, the competition appears closer this year. American Gwen Torrance is better than her second placings of last year, and Irina Privalova is impressing, but the 32-year-old Ottey seems to be returning to form.
Tatiana Dorovskikh (UT) - 1,500m and 3,000m
Face averted and expressionless, Dorovskikh gives the impression of being alone in her races: at the finish she usually is, being able to glide, more than kick, off a fast pace. After returning from childbirth for last year's world championships she won gold and silver, near-perfect performances that she could yet improve upon.
Heike Drechsler (Ger) - Long Jump
In the aftermath of German reunification Drechsler has put her form back together of late. Edged out by the Olympic champion Jackie Joyner- Kersee at last year's world championship when Drechsler's earlier form looked superior, she has an even better chance now. A breath over the legal wind limit denied her a new world record last week.Reuse content