Track and Field Sports

Track and Field Sports
▪ 2007


World Indoor Championships.
      At the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world indoor championships, held in Moscow on March 10–12, 2006, Russia and the U.S. divided up a majority share of the gold medals. American men won 6 of 13 events and 9 medals in all, while Russian women took 7 golds and 13 medals.

       Shot putter Reese Hoffa of the U.S. spun out a 21.41-m (70-ft 3-in) first throw—only one rival had thrown farther all winter. His second throw flew 22.11 m (72 ft 61/2 in), the longest indoor shot put since 1989. American triple jumper Walter Davis's historic win came after some initial confusion. After his first attempt the distance was posted at just 17.30 m (56 ft 9 in). Davis protested that officials had measured from an old mark in the sand. A provisional measurement was made from the spot where Davis actually landed; the video was reviewed; and midway through the competition his mark was updated to 17.73 m (58 ft 2 in), just 10 cm (4 in) short of the world indoor record.

      Russian Olesya Krasnomovets won the women's 400 m in 50.04 sec, the only meet record of the championships. Krasnomovets also ran the third leg for the winning Russian 4 × 400-m team, timed in 3 min 24.91 sec. The gold-medal U.S. men's 4 × 400-m team posted a time of comparable excellence: 3 min 3.24 sec. Mozambican Maria Mutola, age 33, extended her record for most world indoor championship gold medals to seven with her 800-m win.

      Russian high jumper Yelena Slesarenko capitalized on the injury-forced absence of indoor world-record setter Kajsa Bergqvist of Sweden to win with a 2.02-m (6-ft 71/2-in) jump. Conversely, Russian women who set indoor world records earlier in the year lost in upsets. New 1,500-m world-record holder Yelena Soboleva succumbed to the finishing kick of teammate Yuliya Chizhenko and lost by 0.51 sec. Liliya Shobukhova and teammate Olesya Syreva had both broken the old 3,000-m world record in February, but Ethiopian Meseret Defar thoroughly dominated their event in 8 min 38.80 sec.

International Competition.
 Although Jamaican Asafa Powell had held the 100-m world record (9.77 sec) since June 2005, detractors had pointed to his record of failure in the 2004 Sydney Olympics and the IAAF outdoor world championships in 2005, where American Justin Gatlin won. In 2006 Powell silenced his critics. At the outdoor Commonwealth Games, held in March in Melbourne, he easily captured the 100 m (10.03) and anchored Jamaica to gold in the 4 × 100-m relay. Gatlin equaled Powell's world record in May at the IAAF Super Grand Prix meet in Doha, Qatar, and the table appeared set for an epic clash between the two men. At the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., Gatlin won the first 100-m section in 9.88 sec, and Powell took the second in a wind-aided 9.93 sec. A scheduled meeting in Gateshead, Eng., was scotched by Gatlin's withdrawal, but Powell ran and again recorded 9.77 sec. In Zürich in August, Powell equaled his world record again. Powell's only loss came at season's end in Yokohama, Japan, in September, when he disqualified himself with a false start.

      Gatlin did not race after the U.S. championships in June, citing a leg injury. On July 29 it was revealed that he had tested positive for banned exogenous testosterone or its precursors after a relay race in Lawrence, Kan., in April. Gatlin, who faced a lifetime ban because he had tested positive previously in an incident involving doctor-prescribed medication, denied that he had cheated but agreed to the validity of the test. In exchange, the U.S. Anti- Doping Agency (USADA) imposed a maximum suspension of eight years and agreed to consider a reduction should Gatlin provide useful information about doping. Gatlin's coach, Trevor Graham, claimed that the athlete had been sabotaged by a disgruntled masseur. Gatlin's attorneys distanced their client from the assertion but vowed to present a defense in 2007. Graham, who had previously coached several athletes who were banned for doping, had also set in motion the investigation of Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO) in 2003 by mailing to authorities a syringe containing the then-undetectable steroid tetrahydrogestrinone (THG). The IAAF announced that it would investigate doping allegations against Graham.

      American sprinters rewrote the 200-m all-time lists. Xavier Carter, a 20-year-old Lousiana State University sophomore who turned professional in June after becoming the first athlete to win a 100-m/400-m double at the National Collegiate Athletics Association championships, shocked with a 19.63-sec 200-m win, the second fastest ever, at a meet in Lausanne, Switz. Second in the race (19.70 sec) was 23-year-old Tyson Gay, who improved to 19.68 sec at the IAAF World Athletics Final in Stuttgart, Ger., in September.

      Earlier in the Lausanne meet, China's Liu Xiang had cut the world record in the 110-m hurdles to 12.88 sec. The time, a 0.03-sec improvement on the old world best, amazed all the more because American Dominique Arnold, in second place (12.90 sec), also eclipsed the old mark.

      Shot put competition was fierce. Hoffa was undefeated indoors and took the World Athletics Final, the year's premier IAAF outdoor event, but fellow American Christian Cantwell had the longest throw of the year (22.45 m [73 ft 8 in]) and won 14 of 17 outdoor meets. Adam Nelson, the reigning outdoor world champion, beat both Hoffa and Cantwell at the U.S. championships.

      The IAAF revised its $1 million Golden League jackpot format in 2006, splitting $500,000 among athletes who won their event in all six Golden League meets and dividing another $500,000 among those with at least five wins. Powell and Jeremy Wariner of the U.S. won six times and collected $249,999. Wariner won 11 finals at 400 m but, like Powell, lost his final race, failing to finish in Shanghai owing to a muscle strain. Ethiopian distance man Kenenisa Bekele and Panamanian long jumper Irving Saladino each won five Golden League events and claimed $83,333 in prize money on top of awards paid by the individual meets.

      In women's competition, American sprinter Marion Jones returned to victory podiums in 2006 after three seasons in which childbirth and her controversial connections to the BALCO scandal had garnered more headlines than her running. Jones scored six major 100-m wins, including the U.S. title, but lost in Rome and London to the year's top sprinter, Sherone Simpson of Jamaica. Simpson ran a year-leading 10.82 sec at the Jamaican championships, lost to Jones in Paris, and then won nine straight, including the World Athletics Final and the World Cup. In mid-August news leaked that Jones had tested positive for erythropoietin (EPO) at the U.S. championships. The B-sample test was negative, exonerating Jones, who canceled her remaining races and said she was considering retirement.

       Sanya Richards of the U.S. won 17 finals at 400-m. Her only defeat at the distance was in the semifinals of the world indoor championships, when she was ill with food poisoning. Richards won both the World Athletics Final and the World Cup, setting an American record (48.70 sec) and adding a 200-m win in the latter meet. She was the only woman to win six Golden League events and earned a $249,999 jackpot share. Ethiopian distance runner Tirunesh Dibaba arrived at the Golden League final in Berlin with five wins, but she lost a tactically paced 5,000-m race to Defar, who had broken the world record in June. Dibaba left Berlin with only an $83,333 jackpot share.

       Isinbayeva, working with a new trainer, Vitaly Petrov, the coach who had guided men's world-record holder Sergey Bubka, set a world indoor pole-vault record of 4.91 m (16 ft 11/4 in) in her first meet of the year, but she did not advance her outdoor standard. The Russian even incurred two losses. Since July 4, 2004, Isinbayeva had lost just one other meet.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      In January 2006 the organizers of the Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, and New York City marathons formed the World Marathon Majors series. They agreed that the five marathons, plus the world championships and Olympic marathons, would constitute a circuit in which runners could earn points for top-five finishes. Because top runners typically raced just two or three marathons a year, the series would split a $1 million prize between the top male and female point scorers on the basis of two years' worth of performances in the races.

      At the halfway point in the 2006–07 edition, Kenyan Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot (Cheruiyot, Robert Kipkoech ), the winner in both Boston and Chicago, led the men's standings. (See Biographies.) Latvia's Jelena Prokopcuka led women's scoring after placing second at Boston and winning in New York City.

      Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie set a half-marathon world record of 58 min 55 sec in January, but when he targeted the marathon record in London in April, he finished a disappointing ninth in 2 hr 9 min 5 sec. His 2-hr 5-min 56-sec victory in Berlin in September missed Kenyan Paul Tergat's world record by more than a minute. Gebrselassie's frustrated third try, at Fukuoka, Japan, in December, resulted in a 2-hr 6-min 52-sec win.

      At the world cross country championships in Fukuoka, Bekele won the long- and short-course races for a fifth straight year. This competition marked the last staging of short-course (4-km) races, a fixture for nine years. Bekele said that he would skip the championships in 2007.

Sieg Lindstrom

▪ 2006

      The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world outdoor championships highlighted the schedule in 2005 as four world records were set and a young American team collected a record 14 gold medals. Ethiopian runners and Russian field-event athletes dominated the season in setting records.

World Outdoor Championships.
      For its 10th staging, on August 6–14, the world outdoor championships returned to Helsinki, where the first edition of the meet had been held 22 years earlier. Cold rainstorms challenged athletes at times and forced the rescheduling of some finals. Justin Gatlin of the U.S., the 100-m champion at the 2004 Athens Olympics, won a sprint double in the 100 m and 200 m in Helsinki. His 9.88-sec winning time in the 100 m led silver medalist Michael Frater of Jamaica by 0.17 second, the largest margin ever in a world championships men's 100 m. In the 200 m, Gatlin's 20.04-sec time led the U.S. to the first 1–2–3–4 sweep by one nation in a world championships event. Gatlin and his American teammates Jeremy Wariner (men's 400 m), Bershawn Jackson (men's 400-m hurdles), Lauryn Williams (women's 100 m), Allyson Felix (women's 200 m), Michelle Perry (women's 100-m hurdles), and Tianna Madison (women's long jump) all won gold in the first world championships finals of their respective careers.

 The IAAF passed a rule during the year that extended the period of international championships ineligibility for athletes who change citizenship in future years, but two athletes who had already switched made history in 2005. Rashid Ramzi, a former Moroccan competing for Bahrain, became the first man to win a world championships 800-m/1,500-m double. In the steeplechase Saïf Saaeed Shaheen, a former Kenyan competing for Qatar, repeated his victory of 2003. Although relations between Shaheen (formerly Stephen Cherono) and Kenyan athletics officials had been acrimonious, it was the eighth straight gold medal for Kenyan-born steeplechasers.

      In the men's 110-m hurdles, Ladji Doucouré's win in 13.07 sec brought France's first medal in the event. Jaouad Gharib of Morocco became the second man to defend a world championships marathon title, winning in 2 hr 10 min 11 sec. Adam Nelson of the U.S. put the shot 21.73 m (71 ft 31/2 in) to end a string of second-place finishes at the previous two world championships and two Olympic Games. Battling rain and gusty winds, Bryan Clay of the U.S. took the decathlon lead in the 400 m (the fifth event) and held it to the finish.

 Nineteen-year-old Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia won the first women's 5,000-m/10,000-m double in a global championships. Dibaba, whose cousin Derartu Tulu was twice Olympic champion in the 10,000 m, took the 10,000 m in only her second race at the distance. Dibaba covered the final 400 m in a stunning 58.4 sec for a final time of 30 min 24.02 sec. A week later her victory in the 5,000 m came with a world championships record of 14 min 38.59 sec that included a 58.2-sec time for the final 400 m and 28.1 sec for the last 200 m. In both events Dibaba led an Ethiopian sweep, with her sister Ejegayehu in third place. Olimpiada Ivanova of Russia won the 20-km walk in 1 hr 25 min 41 sec, cutting 41 seconds from the world record and 1 minute 11 seconds from the world championships record.

      With $100,000 bonuses on offer for world records, in addition to the $60,000 prizes for all champions, Russian pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva (Isinbayeva, Yelena ) (see Biographies) and javelin thrower Osleidys Menéndez of Cuba took their titles by raising their own world records. Isinbayeva won the pole vault with no misses through 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in) and then had the bar raised to 5.01 m (16 ft 51/4 in), one centimetre above her world mark, and cleared the bar on her second try by an astounding margin. She lightly brushed the crossbar on her way down, but it stayed up. Menéndez launched her javelin out to 71.70 m (235 ft 3 in) on her first throw, a 16-cm (6-in) improvement on her global standard. Germany's Christina Obergföll hurled a surprising 70.03 m (229 ft 9 in), a European record.

      Olympic heptathlon champion Carolina Klüft of Sweden triumphed in a close battle with France's Eunice Barber, the 1999 champion. The win made Klüft the first successful defender of a world championships heptathlon title. She overcame an ankle injury to take the lead from Barber in the fifth event, the long jump. Barber narrowed Klüft's lead to 18 points with a longer javelin throw, but Klüft ran faster in the 800 m to finish 63 points ahead with a final score of 6,887 points.

International Competition.
      Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell began the season with a clear intention of dethroning 100-m king Gatlin and ran a 9.84-sec race in early May. In early June Powell lost an extremely close race to Gatlin in Eugene, Ore., as both recorded a wind-aided 9.84. Powell attributed his lack of a lean at the finish line to caution over a thigh injury that he had sustained three weeks earlier, but 10 days later he stormed down the track in Athens to a new world record of 9.77 sec. An intense rivalry with Gatlin was projected for Powell, but the Jamaican's injury forced him to withdraw from competition until the London Grand Prix in late July. Ten metres into that race, which was won by Gatlin, Powell pulled up with a groin injury. He failed to finish the race and was forced to cancel the rest of his season. American Tim Montgomery, who had set the 9.78-sec 100-m record that Powell broke, had a lacklustre 2005 as a U.S. Anti-Doping Agency case alleging that he had used banned drugs dragged slowly through the international arbitration system. In December the Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled against Montgomery and his U.S. teammate Chryste Gaines, imposed a two-year ban on each, and stripped Montgomery of his record.

      Ethiopian distance star Kenenisa Bekele's fiancée, Alem Techale, the 2003 world youth 1,500-m champion, died in January from a heart attack as the couple trained in the forest outside Addis Ababa. Although Bekele said that his heart was not in the 2005 season, he came within three seconds of his world record for 5,000 m at the Paris Golden League meeting in July. In Brussels in September he ran 10,000 m in 26 min 17.53 sec to cut 2.78 seconds from his world record for that distance.

      In the elite Golden League series, which offered a share of a $1 million jackpot to any athlete who could win his or her events at six meetings (in Paris, Rome, Oslo, Zürich, Brussels, and Berlin), the field was narrowed quickly. After Rome only three women—100-m sprinter Christine Arron of France, 400-m hurdler Lashinda Demus of the U.S., and Russian triple jumper Tatyana Lebedeva—remained in the chase. Demus lost in Oslo, and Arron was eliminated in Zürich. The 29-year-old Lebedeva, whose domination of the early season included three meets in which she surpassed 15.00 m (49 ft 21/2 in), aggravated an Achilles tendon injury in the world championships qualifying trials. Although a win in Helsinki would have made her world champion for the third time in a row, she bowed out of the final in order to preserve her shot at the $1 million. Lebedeva's decision paid off richly; she kept her win streak alive through Berlin and became just the second Golden League winner (after 800-m runner Maria Mutola of Mozambique in 2003) who did not have to share the jackpot. Late in the year the IAAF announced a reduction in the number of events in its World Athletics Tour from 34 meets in 2005 to 24 in 2006. Revisions to the Golden League jackpot format were promised, but no details were announced before year's end.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      A trio of distance greats in their 30s showed that they could still win. Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, who had retired from track racing after his quest for a third Olympic 10,000-m gold came up short in 2004, ran the fastest marathon of the year. In the Amsterdam Marathon in October, Gebrselassie passed through the half-marathon in 1 hr 2 min 3 sec in an aggressive attack on Paul Tergat's marathon world record (2 hr 4 min 54 sec). In the final 12 km, Gebrselassie slowed as he ran solo through a hindering wind to finish in a personal-best 2 hr 6 min 20 sec for his first marathon victory. Tergat ran the New York Marathon, where he waged a nail-biting battle with defending champion Hendrik Ramaala of South Africa and Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi of the U.S. over the closing kilometres to snatch the win from Ramaala in the last five metres—the closest finish in race history. Tergat was timed in 2 hr 9 min 30 sec. World record holder Paula Radcliffe of the U.K. won the London Marathon in a time that only she had ever bettered, 2 hr 17 min 42 sec.

      Bekele won his fourth consecutive double at the world cross country championships. Dibaba matched Bekele's short-course/long-course double in the women's races as Ethiopia took all four senior team titles, relegating archrival Kenya to a single victory in the men's junior race.

Sieg Lindstrom

▪ 2005

      A doping scandal involving several top track and field athletes made negative headlines in 2004. Thrilling competition at the Olympic Games in Athens, however, produced 10 Olympic and 2 world records.

World Indoor Championships.
      The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) rescheduled its indoor world championships from odd- to even-numbered years. On March 5–7 Budapest hosted the event as Russians set four new indoor world records and won 7 of 14 women's events. Tatyana Lebedeva equaled the world record in the triple jump and then improved it twice to post a new indoor world record of 15.36 m (50 ft 4 3/4in); she later won a gold in the long jump, becoming the first athlete to win titles in both events. Pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva defeated Russian teammate and rival Svetlana Feofanova by breaking Feofanova's world record. The Russian women's 4 × 400-m relay squad cut 0.37 sec from the world record as Natalya Nazarova, who also set a meet record (50.19 sec) in the 400 m, ran the final leg in 49.89 sec, the fastest 400-m relay split ever run indoors. In the men's competition Swedish triple jumper Christian Olsson equaled the world record, which marked the first time since 1989 that a world record in a men's field event had been posted at the meet.

Olympic Games.
      The modern Olympics returned to Greece, the land of their birth, in August, and the shot put was contested at Olympia, site of the ancient Games. The men's shot put became the first field event in modern Games history in which the gold medalist was decided in a tiebreaker based on the second-best mark. On his first throw Adam Nelson of the U.S. put 21.16 m (69 ft 51/4 in), and Ukraine's Yury Bilonog nearly equaled the mark with two puts of 21.15 m (69 ft 43/4 in) as Nelson fouled his next three throws. In the last round Bilonog improved to 21.16 m (69 ft 51/4 in) and won the gold after Nelson increased his distance on his last throw but fouled. Russian Irina Korzhanenko dominated the women's shot put but was disqualified for a positive steroid test—the first of three doping disqualifications for first-place finishers—and the gold went to Cuba's Yumileidi Cumba.

      In the first running final, the men's 10,000 m, Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia won over teammate Sileshi Sihine in an Olympic-record 27 min 5.10 sec. The old record had belonged to Haile Gebrselassie, also of Ethiopia, who finished fifth after having won the event at the two previous Olympics.

      Moroccan runner Hicham El Guerrouj finally ended his Olympic jinx. Although he was the world record holder at 1,500 m and the mile and had won 86 of his last 91 finals at those distances, El Guerrouj had never captured an Olympic title. Just the second man, after Great Britain's Steve Cram, to have qualified for three Olympic 1,500-m finals, El Guerrouj took the lead at 900 m and held off Kenyan Bernard Lagat to take the gold in 3 min 34.18 sec. El Guerrouj competed in the 5,000-m final four nights later, and the Moroccan sprinted past Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge off the last turn and passed Bekele 60 m from the finish to win. El Guerrouj became the first man since Paavo Nurmi of Finland in 1924 to take gold in the 1,500 m and 5,000 m. In the women's competition Kelly Holmes of the U.K. also won the 1,500 m and 5,000 m, becoming the third woman to accomplish the feat. She took the 800 m in 1 min 56.38 sec as five women dipped under 1 min 57 sec for the first time since 1976.

      Isinbayeva appeared unpressed in the pole vault as she cleared the Olympic record height of 4.65 m (15 ft 3 in), but by the time the bar reached 4.80 m (15 ft 9 in), she had missed twice and needed a clearance to stay alive against Feofanova. Isinbayeva flew over that bar and the next at 4.85 m (15 ft 11 in) as Feofanova missed, and she then passed to 4.90 m (16 ft 3/4 in). When Feofanova missed, a jubilant Isinbayeva had the bar raised to a world record 4.91 m (16 ft 11/4 in) and cleared with centimetres to spare.

      China's Liu Xiang (see Biographies (Liu Xiang )) was the only man to post a world record. In winning the 110-m hurdles, he stopped the unofficial eyebeam clock at 12.94 sec and was well into his victory lap before the reading of the digital finish photo revealed he had equaled the world record of 12.91 sec.

      American pole vaulter Tim Mack (5.95 m [19 ft 61/4 in]), Lithuanian discus thrower Virgilijus Alekna (69.89 m [229 ft 3 in]), and Czech decathlete Roman Sebrle (8,893 points) also claimed men's Olympic records. American 100-m hurdler Joanna Hayes (12.37 sec), Russian high jumper Yelena Slesarenko (2.06 m [6 ft 9 in]), Russian hammer thrower Olga Kuzenkova (75.02 m [246 ft 1 in]), and Cuban javelin thrower Osleidys Menéndez (71.53 m [234 ft 8 in]) were the other women Olympic record setters. Sweeps of all three medals went to the U.S. in the men's 200 m, 400 m, and long jump. Russia's sweep of the women's long jump was the first in a women's event since 1980. Robert Korzeniowski of Poland won the 50-km walk, becoming the first athlete to have won the event three times.

      Facing rumours of banned drug use, American Marion Jones, who won five medals at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia, placed fifth in the long jump and did not compete in the 100 m or 200 m. In the 4 × 100-m relay, Jones and teammate Lauryn Williams passed the baton outside the exchange zone, and Jones went home empty-handed.

International Competition.
      Olsson and women's 400-m star Tonique Williams-Darling of The Bahamas split the jackpot from the Golden League, a series that offered shares of a $1 million prize to athletes who won their events at all of its six meets. Alekna lost only one Golden League discus competition, to Hungary's Robert Fazekas in Zürich, Switz., but Fazekas was later suspended for refusing to provide an adequate doping sample at the Olympics. This led some to posit that Alekna was unfairly deprived of one-third of the prize. Olsson had one triple-jump loss outside the Golden League, to Romania's Marian Oprea in Stockholm, which ended a 29-meet win streak. Williams-Darling won eight major meets in a row but lost her last race of the season at the IAAF World Athletics Final, held in Fontvieille, Monaco, on September 18–19. Qatar's Saif Saaeed Shaheen (formerly Stephen Cherono) had the top performance at that meet, posting the fifth fastest time ever in the steeplechase, 7 min 56.94 sec. The IAAF named Bekele and Isinbayeva its Athletes of the Year.

      The 2003 discovery of a previously undetectable anabolic steroid, tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), allegedly distributed by Bay Area Laboratory Co-operative (BALCO), an American nutritional supplements and testing company, continued to haunt track and field. Four athletes who tested positive for THG in 2003 were suspended in 2004, including world championship relay medalist Dwain Chambers of Great Britain (two years) and 1,500-m world indoor record holder Regina Jacobs of the U.S. (four years). Americans Kelli White, the 2003 women's world champion at 100 m and 200 m, and Alvin Harrison, the 2000 Olympic 400-m medalist, admitted to doping and accepted four-year bans that also annulled their results dating back to late 2001. Harrison's twin brother, Calvin, received a two-year ban for his second doping violation, and his results dating to early 2001 were nullified, which caused the U.S. to forfeit its 2003 world championship gold medal in the 4 × 400-m relay. American Tim Montgomery, Jones's boyfriend and the 100-m world record holder, was charged with doping and chose to plead his case before the international Court of Arbitration for Sport.

      Greece was embarrassed the day before the Games began by events involving Olympic sprint medalists Konstadinos Kederis and Ekaterini Thanou. After missing their second drug test in a week, the pair turned up in a hospital claiming injuries from a motorcycle accident that police called suspicious. The sprinters withdrew from the Olympics and were criminally charged, along with their coach, with obstructing a drug test and giving false information to police. The IAAF filed formal charges against all three in December 2004.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      The Olympic marathons were held on a historically appropriate course from Marathon to Athens. World record holder Paula Radcliffe of the U.K. took an early lead on a hot day in the women's race until Japanese Mizuki Noguchi surged ahead at 25 km (15.5 miles). An exhausted Radcliffe stopped at 36 km (22.4 mi), leaving Catherine Ndereba of Kenya to chase Noguchi, who won by 12 sec.

      A spectator with a history of mental illness ran onto the course just before the 36-km (22.5-mi) mark in the men's race and knocked leader Vanderlei de Lima of Brazil into the crowd. The stunned Brazilian lost 10–15 sec in the incident and was passed by Stefano Baldini of Italy and Mebrahtom Keflezighi of the U.S. Baldini won the event, and de Lima, who took the bronze, was awarded the Pierre de Coubertin Medal by the International Olympic Committee for exemplary sportsmanship. Kenyans Felix Limo (2 hr 6 min 14 sec) and Evans Rutto (2 hr 6 min 16 sec) between them had run four of the five fastest marathons of the year but were not selected from their country's deep talent pool for the Olympics.

       Ethiopia dominated rival Kenya at the world cross country championships in Brussels. Bekele won both men's senior races for the third consecutive year. Ethiopia won four of the six individual titles and five of six team titles. Kenya's only team crown was in the junior men's division.

Sieg Lindstrom

▪ 2004

      The 2003 track and field (athletics) season featured both indoor and outdoor world championships and was noteworthy for spectacular distance races and the emergence of new young champions in many events.

World Indoor Championships.
      At the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) world indoor championships, held in Birmingham, Eng., on March 14–16, Svetlana Feofanova cleared a world record 4.80 m (15 ft 9 in) in the women's pole vault. The 22-year-old Russian had set world indoor records five times before, but this win marked a decisive turning point in her rivalry with American Stacy Dragila, who failed to clear a height to qualify for the final. Mozambican Maria Mutola became the first woman to earn five world indoor gold medals as she won the 800-m final in 1 min 58.94 sec. Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie, shortly before his 30th birthday, won the 3,000-m race for an event-record third time in 7 min 40.97 sec.

      Swedish high jumpers repeated as champions when Stefan Holm took the men's gold at 2.35 m (7 ft 81/2 in) and Kajsa Bergqvist captured the women's title at 2.01 m (6 ft 7 in). Other victorious Swedes included triple jumper Christian Olsson, who won with a jump of 17.70 m (58 ft 1 in), and Carolina Klüft, who set a meet-record 4,933 points in the women's pentathlon. Klüft, 20, was part of a youth movement that also included 21-year-old American Justin Gatlin, who won the men's 60 m (6.46 sec) by the largest margin in meet history (0.07 sec). Meet records also went to a pair of veteran women as 39-year-old American Regina Jacobs took the 1,500 m in 4 min 1.67 sec and 28-year-old Russian Irina Korzhanenko won the shot put with a distance of 20.55 m (67 ft 51/2 in).

World Outdoor Championships.
      On August 23–31 the Parisian suburb of St. Denis hosted the world outdoor championships. In the men's 10,000 m, world record holder Gebrselassie met 20-year-old Ethiopian teammate Kenenisa Bekele (see Biographies (Bekele, Kenenisa )), who had beaten him once in June. After a slow first half, Gebrselassie began to push the pace, a tactic he had never before used in six world championship and Olympic 10,000-m wins. He dropped four Kenyan challengers and controlled the race until Bekele sprinted past to lead an Ethiopian medal sweep, with Sileshi Sihine third. Not only was Bekele's time of 27 min 49.57 sec a meet record, but he also ran the second half (12 min 57.24 sec) faster than the meet record for the 5,000 m. In the women's 10,000 m, Ethiopian Berhane Adere's win in 30 min 4.18 sec led a race that produced 7 of the 20 fastest times in history.

      Miler Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco wanted to distance himself from the notion that pacemakers had aided his three previous world championship 1,500-m wins. With no teammate to assist, El Guerrouj took the lead at 600 m and won by 0.54 sec over France's Mehdi Baala in 3 min 31.77 sec. Four days later, eager to become the first global 1,500-m/5,000-m double gold medalist since Finland's Paavo Nurmi at the 1924 Olympics, El Guerrouj faced Bekele in the 5,000-m final. Bekele set a hard early pace but slowed at halfway. The victory appeared to be El Guerrouj's until 18-year-old Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge outleaned him by 0.04 sec in a meet-record finish in 12 min 52.79 sec.

      Steeplechase champion Saif Saaeed Shaheen was actually a Kenyan athlete named Stephen Cherono who had switched his citizenship to Qatar (and changed his name) earlier in the summer for a sum alternately reported as $1,000,000 and $1,000 per month for life. Shaheen, whose brother Christopher Kosgei had won the 1999 steeplechase world title, set a blistering pace and then inexplicably slowed and let the field catch up before exploding past Kenyan champion Ezekiel Kemboi 50 m (164 ft) before the finish to win.

      The championships also had controversy in the sprints. American Jon Drummond refused to leave the track after a questionable false-start disqualification during the 100-m quarterfinals. He argued, lay down in his lane, and delayed the competition for more than 20 minutes. Drummond eventually gave up, but he was charged by the IAAF with having brought the sport into disrepute and voluntarily ended his season in an attempt to forestall further disciplinary action. Kim Collins of tiny Saint Kitts and Nevis won the 100-m final in 10.07 sec. American Kelli White won the women's 100 m and 200 m, but she tested positive for a mild stimulant, modafinil. White argued that the drug, which she claimed to take for narcolepsy, was not on the IAAF's banned list, but at season's end, as reports that other athletes were testing positive for the same drug began to mount, it appeared likely that she would be stripped of her medals.

Men's International Competition.
      Felix Sánchez of the Dominican Republic went undefeated in all 11 of his 400-m hurdle races during the year, although he lost four early-season races at other distances. Sánchez, whose 47.25-sec win at the world championships strengthened his position as the sixth-fastest 400-m hurdler in history, extended his winning streak since July 2001 to 28 meets. El Guerrouj won seven 1,500-m and mile finals, retaining a perfect record in those events since the 2000 Olympics. The IAAF changed the name of its annual Grand Prix Final meet to the World Athletics Final and expanded the competition to include all the standard Olympic events except the road races, 10,000 m, and multidiscipline events. El Guerrouj, citing fatigue, skipped the meet, but he still won the $100,000 IAAF men's Athlete of the Year title, which was based for the first time on points earned in the IAAF world rankings. Shaheen never lost in eight steeplechases and beat El Guerrouj in a 5,000-m race, where his winning time of 12 min 48.81 sec made him the third fastest ever. For a 10.05-sec 100-m win in Moscow in September, Gatlin won $500,000, the largest prize purse ever at a standard track meet.

      A drug scandal surfaced late in the year when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) revealed that an anonymous informant had turned in a sample of a previously undetectable anabolic steroid, tetrahydrogestrinone (THG), for which it had developed a test. USADA and international doping officials said that several men and women athletes had tested positive for the substance and were likely to be suspended for two years. British sprinter Dwain Chambers became the first to admit taking THG and claimed that he had believed it was not banned. Kenyan Bernard Lagat, an Olympic and 2001 world championships 1,500-m medalist, suffered an emotional blow as well as one to his career when the news was leaked that he had tested positive for banned synthetic erythropoietin in August. A test of the second part of Lagat's sample exonerated him, but not before he had missed the world championships and other meets.

Women's International Competition.
      Mutola won the Golden League, a series that offered shares of a $1 million prize to athletes who won their events at all six Golden League meets. Her last challenger, sprinter Chandra Sturrup of The Bahamas, lost at the penultimate meet in Berlin, which allowed Mutola to collect the entire jackpot when she won at the last Golden League meet in Brussels. Mutola ran 19 finals, indoors and out, at 800 m and 1,000 m without a loss. Mexico's Ana Guevara also went undefeated in seven races at 400 m plus a race at the rarely run 300-m distance in Mexico City, where she ran the fastest time ever (35.30 sec). Feofanova won 9 of 16 pole vaults, losing once to Dragila and six times to other Russians. At the London Grand Prix in July, Yelena Isinbayeva of Russia lifted Dragila's outdoor world record to 4.82 m (15 ft 93/4 in). South African high jumper Hestrie Cloete, victorious in 22 of 26 meets, won the IAAF women's Athlete of the Year title.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      Men's and women's marathon world records set by Kenyan Paul Tergat and Briton Paula Radcliffe were the performances of the year. Radcliffe raced through the London Marathon in April in 2 hours 15 min 25 sec to clip a stunning 1 min 53 sec from her own standard set in Chicago in 2002. The magnitude of the achievement was underscored by Radcliffe's victory margin of 4 min 30 sec over former world record holder Catherine Ndereba of Kenya. In the fall Radcliffe ran the fastest half-marathon ever, over a slightly downhill course that was ineligible for record consideration, and won her third world half-marathon title.

      At the Berlin Marathon in September, in his sixth try at the distance, former track 10,000-m world-record holder Tergat got his first marathon win and the record. Even Tergat was surprised by the time—2 hours 4 min 55 sec, a 43-sec reduction of the standard set by Khalid Khannouchi of the U.S. in London in 2002. Within sight of the finish, Tergat paused momentarily, unsure of which portal of the famed Brandenburg Gate he should run through. Sammy Korir, Tergat's pacemaker who had elected to finish the race, caught up and forced Tergat to sprint at the end. Korir finished just one second behind.

      At the world cross country championships in Avenches, Switz., Bekele repeated as double champion in the men's long- and short-course races. Kenya's Edith Masai defended her short-course title, and Ethiopian Worknesh Kidane took the women's long-course crown. Kenya won four of the six team battles, and Ethiopia took the women's long-course and junior women's team titles.

Sieg Lindstrom

▪ 2003

      In 2002 the men's and women's world records in the longest standard running event, the marathon, and a men's record in the shortest, the 100 m, stood out in a season in which the absence of a global title meet focused the efforts of many top competitors on the Golden League series.

Golden League.
      The format of the Golden League circuit of super-elite outdoor track competitions remained in flux in its fifth season, as the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had mandated that in 2002 athletes had to win at all seven meets in the series (Oslo, Paris, Rome, Monaco, Zürich, Switz., Brussels, and Berlin) in order to share in the jackpot of 50 kg (110 lb) of gold. Seven of the 12 winners in Oslo fell from contention before the meet in Monaco, and in Zürich 100-m hurdler Gail Devers of the U.S. lost, which whittled the field to four contenders, who retained clean slates through Berlin. The final four—Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj (1,500 m), Mexico's Ana Guevara (400 m), American Marion Jones (100 m), and Felix Sánchez (400-m hurdles) of the Dominican Republic—each won gold worth about $100,000. In addition, each victory in the series brought €15,000 (about $15,660) for “premium event” competitors El Guerrouj, Jones, and Sánchez and €7,500 (about $7,800) for “classic event” runner Guevara. Substantial appearance fees negotiated on an individual basis imparted further financial lustre, but El Guerrouj and Jones, citing fatigue, said that they doubted they would contest the entire Golden League in 2003. At season's end the IAAF pared the 2003 series to six meets, with Monaco withdrawing to host a new two-day version of the Grand Prix final, the World Athletics Gala, in the coming season.

World Cup.
      At the quadrennial World Cup, held in Madrid on September 20–21, the African men's squad (134 points) won for a record fourth straight time, with the U.S. (119) as the runner-up. The women's title went to Russia 126–123 over Europe. The outstanding individual men's performance belonged to discus thrower Robert Fazekas of Hungary, who established a World Cup record of 71.25 m (233 ft 9 in). Guevara won the women's 400 m in 49.56 sec, and Jones took the 100 m on a rain-soaked track in 10.90 sec. Maria Mutola of Mozambique won the 800 m (1 min 58.60 sec), her fourth at a World Cup.

Men's International Competition.
      American 100-m sprinter Tim Montgomery began the season as a man frustrated by a narrow loss to teammate Maurice Greene in the 2001 IAAF world championships. Over the course of the 1997–2001 seasons, Greene had won Olympic gold medals and three world titles in his specialty and had set the world record (9.79 sec). Montgomery announced in May 2002 that he wanted what Greene had, and by season's end he had taken Greene's world record.

      Greene won the U.S. championship, running a wind-aided 9.88 sec to best Montgomery by 0.01 sec. Briton Dwain Chambers won in Oslo and at the Grand Prix in Sheffield, Eng., before Greene came roaring back in July with three fast Golden League wins in Paris, Rome, and Monaco. The stage was set for a Chambers-Greene showdown in Zürich in August, but it was Montgomery who sped across the line first, in 9.98. Chambers stole back the spotlight momentarily with a win at the London Grand Prix, but Montgomery triumphed in 9.91 sec in Brussels, where Greene managed only sixth place. At the Grand Prix final in Paris on September 14, everything went Montgomery's way. He reacted to the gun in 0.104 sec, less than an eye blink from triggering an automatic recall. The wind at his back blew at exactly the legal limit, and Montgomery flew down the track in 9.78 sec, clipping 0.01 sec from Greene's record.

      El Guerrouj remained unassailable in the 1,500-m and mile runs. Undefeated in 12 races, the Moroccan ran 1,500-m times of 3 min 26.89 sec and 3 min 26.96 sec in Zürich and Rieti, Italy, respectively. Only El Guerrouj himself (in 2001) had previously matched the depth of quality exhibited in six sub-3-min-30-sec 1,500-m times. Sánchez, unbeaten in nine top-level 400-m hurdles races, ran his best in Zürich (47.35 sec). In two meets thereafter, he added the flat 400-m to his workload, winning a double in London with times of 48.08 over the hurdles and 45.14 on the flat. At the Grand Prix final, Sánchez placed fifth in the 400 m. Going into the Grand Prix final, El Guerrouj and Sánchez had been tied atop the men's standings, but the bonus points Montgomery scored for his record catapulted him from sixth in the standings to first and $250,000—including a $100,000 bonus.

      In the field events, all-time performance lists were altered notably by throwers. In Szombathely, Hung., on July 14, Fazekas, who won 16 of his 18 meets, threw the discus 71.70 m (235 ft 2 in). He also won the European title and became just the third man ever to have thrown beyond 71 m at two meets in a season. At the Sheffield Grand Prix on June 30, Sergey Makarov of Russia launched his javelin 92.61 m (303 ft 10 in), defeating Britain's Steve Backley and Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic. Backley captured his fourth consecutive European title, knocking Makarov into second place with an 88.54-m (290-ft 6-in) throw. Makarov rebounded to win at the World Cup. Shotputter Adam Nelson of the U.S. threw 22.51 m (73 ft 101/4 in), the longest throw since 1990, at the Portland, Ore., Grand Prix on May 18. He lost his next meet, the Eugene, Ore., Grand Prix, as fellow American Kevin Toth reached 22.19 m (72 ft 93/4 in). Three-time world champion John Godina threw near his career best in Eugene and at the USA Track & Field (USATF) championships in Palo Alto, Calif., in June, but he could not defeat Nelson, who also won at the World Cup.

      Triple jumpers clashed intensely all season. American Walter Davis eliminated British world record holder Jonathan Edwards from Golden League contention in Rome, and Christian Olsson of Sweden triumphed over Edwards at the European championships and the Grand Prix final. At the Commonwealth Games in Manchester, Eng., on July 25–August 4, however, the graying 36-year-old Edwards leaped 17.86 m (58 ft 71/4 in) to defeat countryman Phillips Idowu. Edwards also won at the World Cup.

      Moroccan steeplechaser Brahim Boulami's apparent improvement of his world record (by more than two seconds) in Zürich was erased when his prerace-drug-test results, released two weeks later, showed the presence of banned synthetic erythropoietin.

Women's International Competition.
      British distance runner Paula Radcliffe (see Biographies (Radcliffe, Paula )) hoped after many near misses to win gold at a major track championship and sandwiched races at the Commonwealth Games (5,000 m) and the European championships (10,000 m) between the London and Chicago marathons. In Manchester Radcliffe tore away from her competition to win the 5,000 m by more than 100 m in 14 min 31.42 sec. At the European championships Radcliffe aimed to break Norwegian Ingrid Kristiansen's 10,000-m European record of 30 min 13.74 sec. She did, but drenching rain slowed her just enough to prevent her from becoming the second woman ever to run the distance in under 30 min. She crossed the line in 30 min 1.09 sec, leaving defending champion Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland almost a lap behind. Radcliffe's time was the second fastest in history, inferior only to Wang Junxia's 29 min 31.78 sec at the Chinese national games of 1993, a meet that produced so many anomalous performances that the legality of the marks had since been questioned by most experts.

      Svetlana Feofanova of Russia soared to the top in the women's pole vault, breaking the indoor world record three times in a single February week and culminating with a clearance of 4.73 m (15 ft 61/4 in) in Ghent, Belg. She added another centimetre to the record in Liévin, France, two weeks later, and then in March she won the European indoor championship with her fifth record of the season, 4.75 m (15 ft 7 in). Although Feofanova missed American Stacy Dragila's outdoor world record of 4.81 m (15 ft 91/4 in) and lost twice during the year, she won the European title and amassed a perfect record against Dragila in their nine meetings.

      Golden League co-winners Guevara and Jones capped undefeated seasons at the World Cup. Jones's first perfect campaign at the elite level was largely attributable to her not having participated in the long jump—the only event in which she lost in 1998—since the 2000 Olympics. At the London Grand Prix, Jones avenged her 2001 world championships 100-m loss to Zhanna Pintusevich-Block of Ukraine. In London the American, timed in 10.97 sec, left her rival more than a metre behind. Pintusevich-Block false-started at the Grand Prix final, where Jones won the women's overall Grand Prix crown.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      The London Marathon, in April, and the Chicago Marathon, in October, were arguably the two greatest marathons ever. Khalid Khannouchi of the U.S. and Radcliffe each won twice, and each set a world record. Although he had held the world record since 1999, Khannouchi received little attention before London, as the meeting of Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie and Kenyan Paul Tergat, the two fastest 10,000-m runners of all time, drew the spotlight. Khannouchi's powerful low stride, however, carried him to the line first in 2 hr 5 min 38 sec and made him the first male marathoner since Derek Clayton in 1969 to break his own world record. Tergat (2 hr 5 min 48 sec) became history's second fastest marathoner. At Chicago, the first-ever marathon in which five men broke 2 hr 7 min, Khannouchi won in 2 hr 5 min 56 sec, and at year's end he held three of the four fastest times in history.

      In her marathon debut in London, Radcliffe ran a near-record 2 hr 18 min 56 sec. In Chicago she finished in 2 hr 17 min 18 sec, cutting a whopping 89 sec from Kenyan Catherine Ndereba's world record, set at the same venue in 2001. Ndereba placed second in 2 hr 19 min 26 sec in the first marathon with two women under 2 hr 20 min.

      At the world cross country championships in Dublin, 19-year-old Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia became the first man ever to win both short- and long-course titles. Radcliffe defended her women's long-course crown, while Kenya's Edith Masai won the women's short-course race. Kenya scooped up four of the six team titles, with Ethiopia taking the women's short-course and long-course team victories.

Sieg Lindstrom

▪ 2002

      The year 2001 was highlighted by both indoor and outdoor world championships, as well as high-profile world records. A Czech decathlete, Roman Sebrle, took the global standard in track and field's “jack-of-all-trades” event from his countryman Tomas Dvorak; American Stacy Dragila, the reigning queen of the women's pole vault, rewrote the record books eight times; and a single autumn week saw the first two women's marathon clockings under 2 hours 20 minutes. The year also saw the farewell tour of Michael Johnson, the American world-record holder at 200 m and 400 m and history's most successful championship long sprinter.

World Indoor Championships.
      At the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) world indoor championships, held in Lisbon on March 9–11, long jumper Iván Pedroso gave his answer to the question of how well Olympic champions could rebound less than six months after the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia. The Cuban gold medalist jumped 8.43 m (27 ft 8 in) to become the first athlete to win five world indoor golds in a career. Only two other Sydney champions—Mozambican Maria Mutola in the women's 800 m and Tereza Marinova of Bulgaria in the women's triple jump—won titles in Lisbon.

      Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, dominant in the 1,500-m and mile runs since 1997 (with the exception of his loss at the Sydney Olympics), set his eye on the 3,000 m. He had run the second fastest indoor two-mile in history, 8 min 9.89 sec, just two weeks before. In Lisbon he made winning look easy again with a time of 7 min 37.74 sec. Hoping to defend her 3,000-m title on the heels of a women's world record 8 min 32.88 sec three weeks earlier, Romania's Gabriela Szabo wound up more than two seconds behind Russian Olga Yegorova's final-lap burst of speed.

World Outdoor Championships.
      On August 3–12 Edmonton, Alta., hosted the first world outdoor championships held in North America. In the men's and women's 100-m sprints, two Americans sought to extend their winning streaks in world and Olympic dashes. Men's world-record holder Maurice Greene succeeded, hobbling the last 15 m as his left thigh muscles cramped painfully. His 9.82-sec clocking into a minor headwind (−0.2 m/sec) was the third fastest in history, inferior only to two of his own times, and it led a United States medal sweep in the men's event.

      Marion Jones had won 42 consecutive 100-m finals dating back to a loss in September 1997. In Edmonton, however, Zhanna Pintusevich-Block, a Ukrainian whose training was guided by her American husband in Johnson City, Tenn., bested Jones by 0.03 second, at 10.82 sec. Pintusevich-Block had celebrated what she at first thought was a victory over Jones before, at the 1997 world championships in Athens, only to learn when official times were posted that the American had edged her by 0.02 second. After that disappointment, Pintusevich-Block had gone on to win the world 200-m title in Athens. This time, as Pintusevich-Block limited herself to the 100 m, Jones won the 200-m gold in 22.39 sec and ran the anchor leg on the victorious U.S. 4 × 100-m relay.

      The men's throwing events were the province of experienced champions and fierce competition. American John Godina, the outdoor world shot-put champion in 1995 and 1997, scored a third gold, throwing 21.87 m (71 ft 9 in). German discus thrower Lars Riedel picked up his fifth world title. The 34-year-old Riedel stood fourth after the third round, in which 2000 Olympic champion Virgilijus Alekna of Lithuania had thrown a meet record 69.40 m (227 ft 8 in). In rounds four and five, though, Riedel whirled off throws of 69.50 m (228 ft) and 69.72 m (228 ft 9 in), the longest marks ever in world championships or Olympic competition. Javelin world-record holder Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic showed the form that had won him two previous world titles and three Olympic golds since 1992. Finnish rival Aki Parviainen opened with a meet record, 91.31 m (299 ft 7 in), but Zelezny answered with an arching throw of 92.80 m (304 ft 6 in) to win his third world gold at age 35.

      Australian pole vaulter Dmitri Markov's 6.05-m (19-ft 101/4 -in) clearance equaled the second highest vault of all time. In a tense women's vault, Dragila jumped 4.75 m (15 ft 7 in), higher than any woman other than herself had ever gone, and then watched as Russian Svetlana Feofanova matched her. Dragila won the gold on the basis of fewer misses.

      Men's 10,000-m world-record holder Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia had not raced in more than 10 months since Sydney. He thought he would prevail again in Edmonton, but 23-year-old Kenyan policeman Charles Kamathi outsprinted him to gold in 27 min 53.25 sec. Gebrselassie took bronze for his first 10,000-m loss in eight seasons and his first defeat at any distance above 1,500 m since 1996. Pedroso, on the other hand, kept his streak going and won the long jump for his fourth outdoor world title.

      Drug-testing controversies enveloped the men's and women's 5,000-m races but not men's winner Richard Limo. Stung that their nation had failed to win a medal at that distance in Sydney, Limo and his Kenyan teammates used team tactics to blunt the finishing speed of opponents, and Limo took gold in 13 min 0.77 sec. Ali Saïdi Sief, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist, finished second, but later came word that the Algerian had tested positive for the banned steroid nandrolone. Pending an appeals process likely to take months, Saïdi Sief faced disqualification.

      Yegorova arrived for the women's 5,000 m under the cloud of a positive test for banned synthetic erythropoietin (EPO) following a win at the Paris Golden League meet. French drug testers, however, had failed to administer a required blood test along with the urinalysis, and the IAAF exonerated her on that basis. Among others in the final, Yegorova met 1,500-m winner and defending 5,000-m champion Szabo, who at one point threatened to withdraw if the Russian competed. Szabo, looking fatigued, faded to eighth place as Yegorova sprinted to victory in 15 min 3.39 sec. Jeers rained down from the stands, and Yegorova skipped the customary victory lap, claiming she had forgotten. Regarding the question of EPO use, she maintained her innocence in a postrace press conference.

Men's International Competition.
      The decathlon world record had belonged to a Czech since Dvorak scored 8,994 points in 1999. At Götzis, Austria, in May, Sebrle, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist, outdid Dvorak, scoring 9,026 as the first decathlete in history to surpass 9,000 points. The new champion produced personal bests in the long jump, discus, and javelin and equaled his fastest-ever 100-m time; no decathlete had ever matched his 8.11 m (26 ft 71/4 in) with legal wind. A groin injury hampered Sebrle at the world championships, however, and he placed 10th as Dvorak defended his world title and Olympic gold medalist Erki Nool of Estonia finished second.

      Moroccan Brahim Boulami finished 10th in the steeplechase at the world championships, but he followed up at Grand Prix events in Zürich, Switz., and Brussels with wins in 7 min 58.50 sec and a world-record 7 min 55.28 sec, respectively. El Guerrouj assuaged in part his Olympic disappointment with an undefeated year. Briton Jonathan Edwards, the triple-jump world-record holder, won 13 straight meets between June 17 and September 9, including European Cup and world championships victories.

      Swiss runner André Bucher, victor in the overall men's IAAF Grand Prix worth $150,000, won 11 of 12 outdoor meets at 800 m and 1,000 m, including the 800-m world title. Young Russian Yury Borzakovsky had to run the fifth fastest 800 m in history (1 min 42.47 sec) to hand Bucher his only defeat in Brussels. Bucher and El Guerrouj, along with American hurdler Allen Johnson, each garnered one-fifth shares in the Golden League series jackpot of 50 kg (110 lb) of gold. Only 100-m man Greene went undefeated through the season in world-class competition. While he technically placed third at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Ore., replays of the race showed that winner Patrick Jarrett had false-started, which moved statisticians to disregard the race entirely. Greene's four straight sub-10-second finals culminating in Edmonton matched the best such streak ever.

Women's International Competition.
      For consistent excellence Dragila, with 25 meets and just three losses, stood out. She matched four indoor world records with four outdoors, topped by a 4.81-m (15-ft 91/4-in) vault in Palo Alto, Calif., in June. From May through the season-ending Grand Prix final in Melbourne, Australia, she never lost.

      Dragila's season also lacked the drug taint, whether fair or unfair, that hung over Yegorova, who went undefeated at 5,000 m, with just one 3,000-m loss. Her one championship failing was to lose the European Cup 1,500-m final to Romanian Violeta Szekely, herself the past recipient of a drug ban. Szekely won 11 of 12 outdoor 1,500-m races and the women's overall Grand Prix title. She and Yegorova each earned a one-fifth share of the Golden League gold. Jones, supreme star of the three preceding seasons, went undefeated except for her world championships loss, compiling 14 wins in 15 finals at 100 m and 200 m.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      In Berlin on September 30, Olympic champion Naoko Takahashi of Japan became the first woman to break 2 hr 20 min in the women's marathon, knocking 57 seconds from the previous world record. The 2-hour 20-minute barrier had loomed ever since Norwegian Grete Waitz broke 2 hours 30 minutes in 1979, but Takahashi held the record for just a week before Catherine Ndereba of Kenya ran 2 hr 18 min 47 sec at the Chicago Marathon. So strong was Ndereba's finish that she ran from 40 km (24.9 mi) to the finish faster than the top male finishers, Kenyans Benedict Kimondiu and Paul Tergat.

      As the second fastest 10,000-m runner of all-time, Tergat drew attention with his marathon debut in April, when he ran 2 hr 8 min 15 sec to place second in London. In Chicago his victory hopes were sunk when Kimondiu, in the race as a pacemaker, elected to finish and defeated him by 4 seconds in 2 hr 8 min 52 sec. Tergat's longtime track rival Gebrselassie won the world half-marathon title in Bristol, Eng., in October. Briton Paula Radcliffe repeated as women's champion.

      At the world cross country championships in Ostend, Belg., Kenya won four of six team titles, and Ethiopia captured the other two. Belgian Mohamed Mourhit repeated as men's long-course champion. Radcliffe won the women's long-course race over Ethiopian Gete Wami, with positions reversed and Wami defeating Radcliffe in the short-course race.

Sieg Lindstrom

▪ 2001

      Olympic dreams danced in the heads of top track and field competitors in 2000, and the effect of many athletes holding their best efforts in abeyance for the Games, held in late September in Sydney, Australia, was noticeable throughout the season.

Olympic Games.
      Superlative head-to-head competition ruled over record setting at the Sydney Olympics, the first since 1948 in which no world records were broken. Despite the dearth of global marks—attributable to cooler weather and, some would speculate, tightened drug testing—new Olympic records were established in six events: the men's 1,500 m, the 20-km walk, and the javelin and the women's 5,000 m, 10,000 m, and marathon. Three new events were added to the women's program: the pole vault, the hammer throw, and the 20-km walk, which replaced the 10-km walk.

      Leading the way was American Marion Jones. (See Biographies (Jones, Marion ).) In her first Olympics, the 24-year-old Jones became the first track and field athlete ever to win five medals in events on the modern program. Jones's effort fell short of her goal of winning five golds, but she won the 100 m, the 200 m, and the 4 400-m relay and collected bronze medals in the long jump and the 4 100-m relay.

      In the third round of the long jump, Jones leaped 6.92 m (22 ft 81/2 in), inferior to Heike Drechsler of Germany's 6.99 m (22 ft 111/4 in) and equal to the best of Fiona May of Italy. Jones's tie with May was broken on the basis of May's superior second best jump. Jones fouled her remaining three efforts. The swift, sure passing of the Bahamian and Jamaican teams proved too much for the U.S. in the 4 100-m relay, and although Jones made up ground on the final leg, The Bahamas won in a season-leading 41.95 sec, with Jamaica timed in 42.13 sec and the U.S. in 42.20. Forty-year-old Merlene Ottey, the anchor runner for Jamaica, won her eighth Olympic medal, a record women's total in track and field.

      U.S. male sprinters made history. World-record holder Maurice Greene won the 100 m in 9.87 sec, a metre ahead of his training partner Ato Boldon of Trinidad (9.99 sec) and Obadele Thompson of Barbados (10.04 sec). Michael Johnson became the first man to win two Olympic 400-m titles. Greene and Johnson did not meet in the 200-m final, however. That hoped-for prospect was dashed two months earlier when both athletes pulled up injured in the 200 m at the U.S. Olympic Trials and failed to qualify at that distance.

      For emotional impact no champion rivaled Cathy Freeman in the women's 400 m. For four years the aboriginal Australian, who finished second in the 400 m at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga., had carried the hopes of her people and her nation. Freeman lit the Olympic torch during Sydney's opening ceremony. In her 400-m final, she lit up the homestretch to win in 49.11 sec before an Olympic-record crowd of 112,524 screaming spectators.

      Noah Ngeny of Kenya, age 21, had run hot on the heels of 1,500-m and mile world-record holder Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco for two seasons. In the 1,500-m final in Sydney, Ngeny charged past El Guerrouj in the last 50 m to win in an Olympic-record 3 min 32.07 sec. The devastated El Guerrouj (3 min 32.32 sec) had waited four years for the race, in which he hoped to make up for having fallen in 1996. In running races of 800 m and longer African-born men took all the medals except the 800-m gold, which was captured by Nils Schumann of Germany.

      The men's 10,000 m developed as a rematch between Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie and Kenya's Paul Tergat, gold and silver medalists, respectively, in Atlanta and the two fastest men ever in the event. Tension built for 24 of 25 laps until Tergat, in what he said would be his last track race, sprinted ahead 250 m from the finish. With a lean into the finish, Gebrselassie managed to defend his title by a mere 0.09 sec.

      Javelin thrower Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic won in his third consecutive Olympics. Atlanta silver medalist Steve Backley threw an Olympic-record 89.95 m (294 ft 9 in) but saw his hopes crushed when Zelezny, who had not won a major title since 1996, answered with an Olympic record of his own, 90.17 m (295 ft 10 in).

      Polish racewalker Robert Korzeniowski was the only man to win two individual events. He crossed the line in the 20-km race 4 sec behind Mexico's Bernardo Segura. It was not until Segura was on a cell phone receiving congratulations from Mexican Pres. Ernesto Zedillo that officials delivered the disqualifying red card for illegal technique. That gave the gold to Korzeniowski, whose time of 1 hr 18 min 59 sec was an Olympic record. A week later Korzeniowski won the 50-km walk in 3 hr 42 min 22 sec.

      Drug-testing developments played a part in Sydney. Ottey's participation had been in doubt since a positive test for the banned drug nandrolone in 1999, but the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) overthrew the test result on technical grounds and lifted her two-year suspension before the Games. After her 100-m victory, Jones had to cope with news that her husband, world-champion shot-putter C.J. Hunter, was under investigation for four positive nandrolone tests earlier in the year. Hunter professed his innocence. Women's hammer throw world-record holder Mihaela Melinte of Romania was allowed onto the field for her qualifying round and then promptly escorted off. Melinte, it turned out, had tested positive earlier in the year.

      After the International Olympic Committee announced a new test would be used in Sydney for the previously undetectable endurance-boosting hormone erythropoietin (EPO), Chinese officials canceled the Olympic trips of athletes in several sports, including six distance runners trained by coach Ma Junren. Officials admitted that most of these athletes had tested positive for banned drugs.

      While no IAAF drug-testing official disputed the validity of high jump world-record holder Javier Sotomayor's positive test for cocaine in 1999, the IAAF Council nonetheless lifted the Cuban's suspension in August, citing an otherwise clean record. Reports later surfaced that at least one out-of-competition test on Sotomayor in 2000 was cocaine-positive, but since the drug was only proscribed during competition, the Council was not informed. Free to compete, Sotomayor placed second in Sydney's high jump.

Men's International Competition.
      Wilson Kipketer of Denmark, holder of the indoor and outdoor world records for 800 m, broke the indoor 1,000-m standard in Stuttgart, Ger., in February, racing the distance in 2 min 15.25 sec. That cut just 0.01 sec from the previous record, set by Noureddine Morceli of Algeria in 1992. Two weeks later in Birmingham, Eng., Kipketer lowered the mark to 2 min 14.96 sec. In Pretoria, S.Af., in March Johnson broke the world record for the rarely run 300 m, running 30.85 sec, a 0.63 sec improvement. Thin, high-altitude air in Pretoria helped Johnson, and a video showed he ran the second 100 m of the race in a mind-boggling 9.43 sec.

      The IAAF's Golden League and Grand Prix series of meets played second fiddle to Sydney. The Golden League's jackpot was reduced from its former $1 million to 50 kg (110 lb) of gold, and athletes were given the reduced task of winning at five of the seven meets, rather than at all seven, in order to share in that prize. Greene and El Guerrouj won five times, but each skipped the Grand Prix final, held in Doha, Qatar, on October 5. El Guerrouj cited injury, and Greene claimed fatigue. The overall men's Grand Prix title thus went to 400-m hurdler Angelo Taylor of the U.S.

Women's International Competition.
      Pole-vaulter Stacy Dragila, who won the inaugural Olympic competition in her event in September, set indoor world records of 4.61 m (15 ft 11/2 in) and 4.62 m (15 ft 13/4 in) in February and March, respectively. In May she also elevated the outdoor record to the latter height. Two weeks later, Dragila cleared 4.70 m (15 ft 5 in) in an exhibition on a beach, unacceptable for record purposes due to the use of a raised wooden runway. She won the U.S. Olympic Trials, however, with a new record of 4.63 m (15 ft 21/4 in).

      Specifications were changed for the women's javelin effective in 1999, with the centre of gravity moved forward so the spears would always land point first. Recognition of world records with the new implement began in January 2000. Norway's Trine Hattestad raised the record twice, to 68.22 m (223 ft 10 in) in Rome in June and to 69.48 m (227 ft 11 in) in Oslo in July.

      With Greene and El Guerrouj out of the Grand Prix final, that left Hattestad, 100-m hurdler Gail Devers of the U.S., and Russian long jumper Tatyana Kotova to share in the Golden League's 50 kg (110 lb) of gold. As the women's overall Grand Prix champion, Hattestad earned an additional $200,000 in Qatar, edging out Jones.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      As the year began, 11 of the 12 fastest marathon times ever had been run in either 1998 or 1999. Not surprisingly, given that many athletes chose to focus primarily on Olympic gold rather than on fast times, the pace slowed slightly in 2000. The only man to add his name to the all-time top-10 list was Antônio Pinto. The 34-year-old Portuguese won the London Marathon in April with a time of 2 hr 6 min 36 sec.

      In October Khalid Khannouchi returned to the Chicago Marathon, where he had set a world record in 1999, and won in 2 hr 7 min 1 sec, which became the third-fastest time of the year. In May the Moroccan-born Khannouchi had acquired U.S. citizenship, but due to injuries he was forced to withdraw from the U.S. Olympic Trials race just days before it was run. He was thus ineligible to run in the Olympics.

      At the Olympics, an Ethiopian man was victorious for the first time since 1968. Gezahenge Abera, at age 22 the youngest Olympic marathon champion ever, finished in 2 hr 10 min 11 sec. Naoko Takahashi reigned in the women's marathon and became the first Japanese woman to win Olympic gold in track and field. Her time of 2 hr 23 min 14 sec in Sydney broke the Olympic record by an astounding 1 min 38 sec.

      At the world cross country championships in Vilamoura, Port., Kenya won four of six team crowns in the various divisions, but Tergat failed in his bid to win a sixth consecutive long-course title. He placed third, just 2 sec behind winner Mohamed Mourhit of Belgium. In the women's long-course competition, Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia won for the third time and led her country to its second straight women's team title.

Sieg Lindstrom

▪ 2000

      New claimants to the unofficial titles of “world's fastest human” and “world's greatest athlete”—as well as new world records in many events, including the men's 100 m, 400 m, mile, marathon, and decathlon and the women's marathon—stamped 1999 as a year of records. In November Primo Nebiolo, the powerful president of the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), died at age 76. (See Obituaries (Nebiolo, Primo ).)

World Indoor Championships.
      A pair of distance doublers—Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia and Gabriela Szabo of Romania—made the biggest headlines at the world indoor championships, held in Maebashi, Japan, on March 5–7. Gebrselassie won the men's 3,000 m and 1,500 m, and Szabo turned the same feat in women's competition. Gebrselassie's victories were all the more impressive because he had journeyed 40 hours from Addis Ababa, Eth., just one day before the 3,000-m final. In the 1,500-m final, the African star outkicked Kenyan Laban Rotich in a meet-record 3 min 33.77 sec. The 23-year-old Szabo won the 3,000 m with the fourth fastest indoor time ever, 8 min 36.42 sec. Two nights earlier, she, too, set a meet record in the 1,500 m, 4 min 03.23 sec.

      Rulings by officials stirred controversy in two other events. Jean Galfione of France won the pole vault even though he appeared to steady the crossbar with his hand while clearing the winning height of 6.00 m (19 ft 81/4 in). An appeal by the U.S. on behalf of silver medalist Jeff Hartwig was denied, as officials decided Galfione had not deliberately replaced the bar in violation of the rules. The Russian women's 4 × 400-m relay team won with a world-record 3 min 24.25 sec, but second-place Australia unsuccessfully protested that Russia's anchor runner, Natalya Nazarova, had violated a rule against “failure to compete honestly with bona fide effort.” Nazarova had jogged off the track during her open 400-m semifinal before racing the baton event.

World Outdoor Championships.
      Americans Maurice Greene and Michael Johnson made history at the seventh world outdoor championships, held in Seville, Spain, on August 21–29. Greene became the first athlete to win gold in both the 100 m and 200 m. The 25-year-old sprinter's time of 9.80 sec in the shorter race was the second fastest in history, and Canadian Bruny Surin in second place ran 9.84 sec, equal to the third fastest time ever. After taking the 200-m title in 19.90 sec, Greene sprinted the fourth leg on the U.S. team's gold-medal 4 × 100-m relay.

      Johnson, who had set the 200-m world record at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga., added the 400-m record with his fourth consecutive title. His time of 43.18 sec eclipsed the former standard of 43.29 sec set by American Butch Reynolds 11 years before. Johnson likewise earned a relay gold, anchoring the U.S. 4 × 400-m squad to a 2-min 56.45-sec win. Gebrselassie won his fourth consecutive 10,000-m title, and Wilson Kipketer of Denmark added a third 800-m gold to his collection.

      Despite hot summer weather, distance runners set new meet records. Emblematic of the high performance levels was the successful 1,500-m title defense of Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco. (See Biographies (El Guerrouj, Hicham ).) His time, 3 min 27.65 sec, surpassed by almost 5 sec the previous record for major championships competition. The next four finishers followed El Guerrouj under the former standard, 3 min 32.53 sec, set by Sebastian Coe of the U.K. at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

      In women's distance competition, Szabo won the 5,000 m in a meet-record 14 min 41.82 sec. The three 10,000-m medalists, Gete Wami of Ethiopia (30 min 24.56 sec), Paula Radcliffe of the U.K. (30 min 27.13 sec), and Tegla Loroupe of Kenya (30 min 32.03 sec), respectively, ran the fourth, fifth, and sixth fastest times ever.

      Pole vaulter Stacy Dragila of the U.S. equaled the women's world record of 4.60 m (15 ft 1 in) on her first try to overtake Ukraine's Anzhela Balakhonova. For human drama, however, no event topped the women's 100-m hurdles. The 1996 Olympic champion, Ludmila Engquist of Sweden, underwent breast cancer surgery earlier in the year and amazed everyone by returning to competition while still receiving chemotherapy treatments. The 35-year-old Russian emigré led the qualifying with her 12.50-sec semifinal time. In the final, however, another past champion, American Gail Devers, swept to the title in 12.37 sec. Engquist finished an emotional third with a time of 12.47 sec.

      In Seville, U.S. star Marion Jones aimed to win four gold medals in the 100 m, 200 m, long jump, and one of the two relays as a prelude to an attempt to win five golds at the 2000 Olympics. With a meet-record 10.70 sec, Jones won the 100 m, defending the title she had won two years before. She showed poor technique in the long jump, however, and earned only a bronze. Jones's fortunes fell further in the 200 m, as she crashed to the track wracked by back spasms during her semifinal, forcing her to withdraw from the final and from the U.S. relay pool. In Jones's absence, her teammate Inger Miller improved her 200-m best by 0.33 sec in the final to triumph in 21.77 sec.

Men's International Competition.
      On June 16 in Athens, Greene brought the 100-m standard down to 9.79 sec and took the mythical title of “world's fastest human.” His 0.05-sec reduction of the old mark, Canadian Donovan Bailey's 9.84 sec from the 1996 Olympics, was the largest since auto-timed records were first accepted in 1968. In his 13-finals season at 100 m, Greene lost only once, to training partner Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago at Lausanne, Switz., on July 2. Greene raced 10 times at 200 m, losing only to Boldon after breaking the 100-m record earlier the same day and to Brazilian Claudinei da Silva in his last meet of the campaign, the IAAF Grand Prix final, in Munich, Ger., on September 11.

      Next up with a grand world record was El Guerrouj, who ran the mile in 3 min 43.13 sec in Rome on July 7, removing Algerian Noureddine Morceli's six-year-old mark from the books. While supplanting the former mile king, El Guerrouj simultaneously weathered a challenge from Kenyan Noah Ngeny, whose second-place time of 3 min 43.40 sec was itself almost a full second faster than Morceli's former standard of 3 min 44.39 sec. El Guerrouj went on to an undefeated year. Ngeny later broke the longest still-extant world record on the list of standard events. Ngeny's 1,000-m time of 2 min 11.96 sec, run in Rieti, Italy, on September 5, shaved 0.22 sec from a record Coe had established in 1981.

      On July 3–4 in Prague at the European Cup championship, Tomas Dvorak claimed the moniker of “world's greatest athlete” with a new decathlon world record of 8,994 points. While battling the heat, the 27-year-old Czech trailed the en route point totals set by record holder Dan O'Brien of the U.S. (8,891) until the penultimate event. Dvorak's javelin throw of 72.32 m (237 ft 3 in) and his 1,500-m time of 4 min 37.20 sec brought him to the finish with a 103-point margin. Dvorak won all four major decathlons he contested.

      Sharing in a jackpot of $1 million for winning all seven of his races in the IAAF's Golden League series was 800-m star Kipketer. Steeplechaser Bernard Barmasai of Kenya amassed a perfect Golden League record but was ejected from the jackpot chase after telling a BBC radio reporter that countryman Christopher Koskei had colluded to let him win at the series meet in Zürich, Switz. Barmasai took some consolation in earning $200,000 as the men's overall Grand Prix champion.

      Doping news marred an otherwise brilliant year. British sprinter Linford Christie, the 1992 Olympic 100-m champion, tested positive for the steroid nandrolone at an indoor meet, even though he was in semiretirement. American 100-m champion Dennis Mitchell's entire season was expunged as the IAAF imposed a retroactive two-year ban for a doping violation in April 1998, and Cuban high-jump star Javier Sotomayor was found positive for cocaine use after winning at the Pan American Games held in Winnipeg, Man., in July. After the season, 1992 Olympic 5,000-m champion Dieter Baumann of Germany failed a random drug test; authorities discovered traces of nandrolone in a toothpaste tube in his home. All four professed innocence.

Women's International Competition.
      Although small in stature—just 1.58 m (5 ft 21/4 in) tall and 43 kg (93 lb)—Szabo netted a record $1,015,000 in prize money in a nearly perfect season. She lost her first race, a 1,500-m event in February, but set an indoor world record of 14 min 47.35 sec in her next race and won all 14 finals she contested thereafter, typically with a blistering sprint finish. A Golden League participant, Szabo split that series' jackpot with Kipketer. Four days later, she picked up $200,000 as the women's overall Grand Prix winner. Szabo entered the Grand Prix final tied with 800-m specialist Maria Mutola of Mozambique. Because both women won their events at the final, a tiebreaking formula that assessed Szabo's performance as superior earned her the top prize.

      The women's hammer throw, an event still in its infancy internationally, belonged to another Romanian, Mihaela Melinte, who set two world records, topping the year at 75.97 m (249 ft 3 in). Thirty-nine-year-old Jamaican sprinter Merlene Ottey, a 14-time medalist at past outdoor world championships, tested positive for nandrolone. Ottey pleaded her innocence but faced a likely suspension as the season ended.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      African runners continued to lead in a dramatic rewriting of all-time performance lists for the men's and women's marathons. In Berlin on September 26, Loroupe cut four seconds from the women's world record she had held since April 1998 with a 2 hr 20 min 47 sec clocking. Loroupe, who had won the Rotterdam Marathon earlier in the year, bounced back just a week after her record run to win her third title in as many years at the world half-marathon championships in Palermo, Italy.

      Men's marathoning saw Moroccan Khalid Khannouchi reduce the world record by 23 sec to 2 hours 5 min 42 sec in Chicago on October 24. In the oppressive heat of the world championships in Seville, the marathon titles went to defending men's champion Abel Antón of Spain and Jong Song Ok of North Korea. Jong's gold medal was the first ever for her nation at world-level championships.

      The world cross country championships were held in Belfast, N.Ire., amid speculation that the chilly, muddy conditions might slow runners from equatorial climes. East Africans destroyed that illusion, however. Paul Tergat of Kenya won an unprecedented fifth straight long-course title, as runners from Ethiopia or Kenya triumphed individually in all six junior and senior races. Kenya captured the three men's team titles, and only France in the senior women's race broke up an Ethiopian sweep of the women's team titles.

Sieg Lindstrom

▪ 1999

      A revamping of the European summer circuit to include a distinct Golden League of super-elite competitions made news in track and field in 1998, as did a large number of world records in the long-distance runs.

Golden League.
      In 1998 the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) elevated six of the top invitational meetings (Oslo, Rome, Monte-Carlo, Zürich, Brussels, and Berlin) of its annual Grand Prix series into a new and elite circuit of competitions called the Golden League. In its first season the Golden League awarded shares of a $1 million jackpot to all athletes in 12 designated events who won their competitions at each of the six meets plus the Golden League/Grand Prix final, which was held in Moscow on September 5. Several top athletes signed contracts with the IAAF guaranteeing that they would contest all seven Golden League meets, but competitors outside this superstar group met a payment structure that rewarded competition performance rather than appearances. Each individual Golden League event at the six meets paid prize money ranging from $15,000 for first place down to $1,000 for eighth.

      At the conclusion of the final, 1,500-m runner Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, distance runner Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia, and sprinter Marion Jones of the U.S. split the jackpot three ways for the biggest payday ever on the formerly amateur circuit. Each athlete augmented the take with additional prize money for Grand Prix leaderships and payouts based on winning at the final itself. Jones pocketed $633,333, El Guerrouj won $583,333, and Gebrselassie received $483,333.

      American 400-m hurdler Bryan Bronson, who had won his six previous Golden League races, entered the final with a chance to share in the million dollars as well, but lost out when he finished sixth in his event. He had achieved his last victory just four days earlier in Berlin by the narrowest of margins when he defeated world champion Stéphane Diagana of France by just 0.01 sec. At the final it was Diagana who proved Bronson's undoing, winning in 48.30 sec to the American's 48.94 sec. Bronson earned $7,000 for the sixth-place race finish and $50,000 for his third-place finish in the overall men's Grand Prix standings, but the loss cost him well over $300,000.

      A number of prominent athletes and their agents criticized the new emphasis on pay-for-play events and contended that the physical and mental demands of winning so many times in a two-month period were too high. At season's end, however, IAAF Pres. Primo Nebiolo announced plans to expand the Golden League in future years.

World Cup.
      At the World Cup, held in the thin high-altitude air of Johannesburg, S.Af., on September 11-13, Jones capped a phenomenal season by winning the 100 m in 10.65 sec and the 200 m in 21.62 sec. These were World Cup meet records and the fastest sprint times of 1998. Both marks had been bettered previously only by world-record holder Florence Griffith Joyner (see OBITUARIES (Griffith Joyner, Florence )) in her stunning Olympic season in 1988. Jones produced the 200-m time despite running into a head wind of 0.6 m (2 ft) per sec. On the meet's chilly, wet last day, she faced German star Heike Drechsler in the long jump. The 33-year-old Drechsler, who had won her first World Cup long jump title in 1985, leaped 7.07 m (23 ft 2 1/2 in). Jones jumped 7.00 m (22 ft 11 3/4 in) and had to accept her only loss of the season. Jones, nonetheless, was the undisputed key performer as the U.S. women's squad defeated Europe 96-94 for its first World Cup win ever. She also picked up $120,000, as the meet awarded prize money along with medals for the first time.

      In the men's competition the African squad won its third consecutive team crown, despite the fact that Europe led 107-105 when runners lined up for the final event, the 4 400-m relay. The African relay squad had to finish at least three places ahead of Europe to secure the overall win. While the U.S. won the event in 2 min 59.29 sec, Africa (at 3 min 1.08 sec) placed third to Europe's seventh (3 min 3.95 sec) and achieved a one-point victory, 110-109.

      The outstanding men's individual performance came from Obadele Thompson of Barbados, who won the 100 m in 9.87 sec. Like Jones in the women's sprints, Thompson was helped by the lowered wind resistance at Johannesburg's high altitude.

Men's International Competition.
      El Guerrouj and Gebrselassie put their stamp on the year with new world records. In January at Karlsruhe, Ger., Gebrselassie lowered the indoor 3,000-m record to 7 min 26.14 sec—an improvement of more than 4 sec on his own two-year-old world record. Gebrselassie's indoor campaign also included a 2,000-m world record of 4 min 52.86 sec. In the outdoor season Gebrselassie set a record in his first race—at Hengelo, Neth., on June 1—when he covered 10,000 m in 26 min 22.75 sec to regain the world record that Paul Tergat of Kenya had taken from him nine months earlier. Twelve days later in Helsinki, Fin., Gebrselassie took back the 5,000-m world record that he had lost to another Kenyan rival, Daniel Komen; he finished in 12 min 39.36 sec, chipping 0.38 sec from the mark set by Komen in 1997. With these records in his possession once more, Gebrselassie successfully concentrated on winning Golden League races.

      Hampered by a groin injury early in the year, miler El Guerrouj made his second Golden League 1,500-m win—on July 14 in Rome—one to remember, with the first outdoor world record of his career. El Guerrouj knocked 1.37 sec from the standard Nouredine Morceli of Algeria had set in 1995, running virtually the whole race ahead of Morceli's pace and then sprinting his last lap in 53.10 sec to finish in 3 min 26.00 sec. Racing twice more in the next four days, El Guerrouj ran the mile in 3 min 44.60 sec to come within 0.21 sec of the record and the 2,000 m in 4 min 48.36 sec, just 0.48 sec short of the record.

      A hypercompetitive sprint campaign featured no single commanding athlete, but a plethora of fast times. Maurice Greene of the U.S. set a world record of 6.39 sec for 60 m during the indoor season, ran 9.90 sec for 100 m outdoors, and won 11 of 16 races at 100 m and 200 m. Greene's training partner, Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago, added to his own reputation with a blistering one-day double of 9.86 sec for 100 m and 19.88 sec for 200 m in Athens in June. Boldon also ran the 100 m at the Commonwealth Games in 9.88 sec, the fifth sub-9.90-sec clocking of his career—a record for consistency at that level matched by no other sprinter in history. Bronson dominated in the 400-m hurdles, with victories in 17 of 18 races, losing only at the Golden League/Grand Prix final.

      On the field, shot-putter John Godina competed 17 times and never lost in 1998, winning the Grand Prix final and World Cup titles among other honours. At a meet in Salinas, Calif., in May, he put the shot 21.58 m (70 ft 9 3/4 in) and threw the discus 69.91 m (229 ft 4 in) for the longest one-day combination ever.

      In July American Michael Johnson, who had run on world-record-setting 4 400-m relay teams in 1992 and 1993, turned his speed in that direction again at the Goodwill Games in New York City. The U.S. team of Jerome Young, Antonio Pettigrew, Tyree Washington, and Johnson reeled off a world record few expected, trimming 0.09 sec from the old 4 400-m mark with their time of 2 min 54.20 sec.

Women's International Competition.
      Jones continued as track and field's most distinguished woman athlete in 1998. The 22-year-old former basketball player contested 37 finals in 16 countries at 100 m, 200 m, 400 m, the long jump, and the indoor 60 m. She led the seasonal list in her technically weakest event, the long jump, spanning 7.31 m (23 ft 11 3/4 in) and losing only once—by less than 7.6 cm (3 in)—in her World Cup matchup with Drechsler. On the track Jones was untouchable. In 19 outings at 100 m, of which 17 were finals, she averaged faster than 10.80 sec. With a pair of 10.71-sec clockings and her altitude-aided World Cup victories in both dashes, Jones firmly established herself as history's second fastest woman, after Griffith Joyner. When rising French talent Christine Arron positioned herself to challenge Jones with a speedy European Championships 100 m in 10.73 sec, Jones raced her in Brussels and left Arron 1.5 m (5 ft) behind. Jones's total prize money and appearance fees for the year were estimated to total some $2,000,000.

      Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan set the standard for doubling in 1998. On consecutive days in March she won world cross country titles at 4 km and 8 km. At the European Championships, held in Budapest on August 18-23, O'Sullivan won gold at 10,000 m and 5,000 m. At the World Cup O'Sullivan held herself to just one race and won the 5,000 m.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      The tide of world-record setting that swept through distance running also reached the men's and women's marathon events. At Rotterdam, Neth., in April, Tegla Loroupe of Kenya dropped the women's record to 2 hr 20 min 47 sec. A 19-sec improvement on the standard set by Ingrid Kristiansen of Norway in 1985, Loroupe's run was not without controversy, as she was paced for the entire race by two male runners who blocked the wind for her.

      The surprise destroyer of Ethiopian runner Belayneh Dinsamo's 10-year-old men's world record was Ronaldo da Costa, an unheralded Brazilian running just his second marathon. His 2 hr 6 min 5 sec clocking at the Berlin marathon in September improved the record by 45 sec. Da Costa, who became the first marathoner in history to average over 20 km/h (12.5 mph), ran the second half of his race in an awe-inspiring 1 hr 1 min 23 sec.

      The world cross country championships, held in Marrakech, Mor., in March, included short- and long-course races for the first time, doubling the number of senior events. While O'Sullivan monopolized the women's individual titles, Tergat, a long-course specialist, won his fourth individual crown in a row.


▪ 1998

      A year in which African distance runners produced a flurry of new world records, 1997 also featured indoor and outdoor world championship competition and a pair of highly publicized million-dollar match races.

World Indoor Championships.
      Wilson Kipketer was the star of the world indoor championships, held in Paris on March 7-9. A Kenyan immigrant to Denmark, the 800-m champion took full advantage of the first world-title event—indoors or out—to pay prize money to medalists and world-record setters. Kipketer scored his bonus in the first of three rounds of competition, with a 1-min 43.96-sec clocking that lowered the previous world record, set by Paul Ereng of Kenya in the 1989 championships, by 0.88 sec. After an easy 1-min 48.49-sec semifinal, Kipketer ran the final in 1 min 42.67 sec. Only five other men had ever run the race faster, and they had done it on outdoor tracks. The championships inaugurated a new world-title event for women: the pole vault. American Stacy Dragila won the event, at 4.40 m (14 ft 5 1 /4 in), tying the world record while defeating record holder Emma George of Australia.

World Outdoor Championships.
      Organizers of the world championships, held in Athens on August 1-10, put on a memorable event that boosted their city's ultimately successful bid to serve as host of the 2004 Olympic Games. The sixth edition of the championships—the first to award prize money—yielded a number of new champions but no world records, despite the enticement of $100,000 world-record bonuses.

      Ukrainian pole vaulter Sergey Bubka, who because of injury had competed just four times in 1997 before the championships, won his sixth consecutive world title with panache. When the bar reached 5.96 m (19 ft 6 1 /2 in) and only three vaulters remained in the competition, he could have taken the lead with a first-attempt clearance. Instead, he boldly elected to pass and raise the bar to 6.01 m (19 ft 8 1 /2 in), a height he had not cleared since May 1996. This time Bubka cleared with room to spare, and no competitor could match him.

      Merlene Ottey, the 37-year-old women's sprint star from Jamaica, placed third in the 200 m to collect a record 14th world outdoor championship medal. The athlete with the next largest collection, American Carl Lewis (10 medals), did not compete in Athens and closed out his illustrious career at the conclusion of the 1997 season.

      Repeat champions, however, were few and far between, as just 13 winners from the 1995 meet and 10 of 44 champions from the 1996 Olympics prevailed. To boost participation, the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) issued "wild card" invitations to defending world champions. The move was precipitated largely by the fact that two defending world and Olympic champions, Michael Johnson (200 m and 400 m) and Dan O'Brien (decathlon), missed the U.S. championships, citing injuries, and did not qualify for their country's team. Several defending champions accepted the invitations, and for the first time at a major world-level championship since the 1928 Olympics, a nation was allowed to field more than three athletes in an individual event. A quartet of runners from the U.S. made the 400-m final, and Johnson rebounded from his thigh injury to win the world title for a third consecutive time.

Men's International Competition.
      Perhaps the biggest news in 1997 was that Olympic 100-m champion Donovan Bailey of Canada would race Johnson over 150 m in the Toronto Skydome. The made-for-television spectacle would ostensibly settle the question of which man was the "world's fastest human." It would also pay the two sprinters a guaranteed $500,000 each to appear, with the winner taking an additional $1 million. In the event, however, the June 1 meet treated approximately 25,000 attendees and millions more television viewers to an anticlimactic race. Bailey strode to an early lead on the specially constructed track. Shortly after entering the straight, Johnson grimaced and then clutched his left thigh before stopping. Bailey finished alone in 14.99 sec and in the race's aftermath accused Johnson of feigning injury and of cowardice. Bailey later apologized.

      A day before the Bailey-Johnson showdown, in Hengelo, Neth., promoters underwritten by shoe manufacturer adidas put up a $1 million purse for a two-mile race between two other Olympic champions, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia and Noureddine Morceli of Algeria. The payout, however, was contingent on the winner's covering the two miles in less than eight minutes. Morceli, the 1,500-m and one-mile world-record holder, proved far from up to the task, and Gebrselassie, the 5,000-m world-record holder, ran the last three laps alone. Gebrselassie's time of 8 min 1.08 sec lowered the old world best (two miles was not an officially recognized world-record distance) by 2.46 sec but did not earn the $1 million.

      For Gebrselassie, who had run a two-mile world best in 1995 only to see it surpassed by Daniel Komen of Kenya in 1996, the race began a back-and-forth flurry of record breaking that continued through the summer. On July 4 in Oslo the Ethiopian cut almost seven seconds from the 10,000-m world record with a 26-min 31.32-sec clocking. Komen promptly took back the two-mile standard on July 19 in Hechtel, Belg., lowering it to 7 min 58.61 sec.

      At the world championships Gebrselassie won his third consecutive title at 10,000 m, and Komen won the 5,000 m. Three nights after Komen's gold-medal race, in a 5,000-m event at the Weltklasse Invitational in Zürich, Switz., Gebrselassie sprinted away from Komen and Paul Tergat of Kenya in the final 200 m to win in a world-record 12 min 41.86 sec. In Brussels nine days later, Gebrselassie watched from the stands as first Komen in the 5,000 m (12 min 39.74 sec) and then Tergat in the 10,000 m (26 min 27.85 sec) erased his world records.

      The event most thoroughly dominated by one man was the 800 m, which Kipketer never lost in 1997. He equaled British runner Sebastian Coe's 16-year-old outdoor mark of 1 min 41.73 sec, the oldest world record on the books, in Stockholm on July 7 and subsequently broke it on August 13 in Zürich. Kipketer won the indoor and outdoor world titles with ease and then displayed astonishing tactical versatility in subsequent meets. His 1-min 42.98-sec victory at the Grand Prix final in Fukuoka, Japan, raised his 1997 total of races faster than 1 min 43 sec to eight, one more than the record of seven he had established in 1996.

Women's International Competition.
      The most startling development early in the summer season was the emergence of sprinter Marion Jones of the U.S., a former high-school track star, who at age 16 had missed qualifying for the 1992 Olympics in the 200 m by a single place (and just 0.07 sec). Although Jones had excelled as a basketball player through three seasons at the University of North Carolina, her progress in track had stalled until she reeled off a 10.92-sec 100-m race in the semifinals of the 1997 U.S. championships and followed it up by winning the final in 10.97 sec. She then handed Jackie Joyner-Kersee her first long-jump defeat at the U.S. championships or U.S. Olympic trials since Joyner-Kersee's first such title in 1987, but Jones failed to qualify for the world championships final in that event.

      She went on to win 11 of her 14 major 100-m and 200-m races in Europe and Japan, defeating two-time Olympic 100-m champion Gail Devers in two of three meetings and Ottey in six of eight races. Jones also won the world 100-m title and produced the year's fastest times in the 100 m (10.76 sec) and 200 m (21.76 sec).

      The $250,000 IAAF Grand Prix circuit points leadership for 1997 went to shot-putter Astrid Kumbernuss. The 27-year-old German lost the world indoor championship to rival Vita Pavlysh of Ukraine, snapping a streak of 53 consecutive wins for the Olympic champion since February 1995. After losing to Pavlysh once more in early May, Kumbernuss was perfect—winning 27 times in succession, including nine Grand Prix circuit meets and the outdoor world title. Cathy Freeman, the 1996 Olympic runner-up and Australia's first Aboriginal track star, was undefeated at 400 m in nine meets, including the world championships, which she won in 49.77 sec. BIOGRAPHIES. (Freeman, Cathy ))

      China's national games in October shocked the track and field world, much as that sports festival's 1993 edition had, with world records and stunningly high-level performances, often by athletes previously unknown outside China. The 1,500-m heats and final yielded the 13 fastest times of the year, although no Chinese athlete had even entered that event at the world championships. In the heats alone, four teenage girls surpassed the previous world junior record of 3 min 58.91 sec (set by Wang Yuan at the 1993 national games), and each ran yet faster in the final. Winner Jiang Bo's 3-min 50.98-sec clocking missed the world record by 0.52 sec. The 5,000-m world record fell twice during the meet, with Jiang lowering it the farthest with her 14-min 28.09-sec win in the final. Ma Junren, coach to many of the barrier-smashing distance runners, denied widespread speculation that he had given his athletes banned drugs and instead credited secret nutritional supplements and hard training.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      At the world cross country championships, in Turin, Italy, in March, Tergat won the men's individual title for the third year in a row. Derartu Tulu of Ethiopia claimed the women's crown, and her nation won the women's team title. Kenya won three of the four team championships (junior and senior men and junior women), bringing its tally to 28 of 32 titles awarded in the 1990s.

      At the world championships in Athens, Spain's Abel Antón outkicked his countryman, defending champion Martin Fiz, to win the men's marathon in 2 hr 13 min 16 sec. The women's gold medal went to Hiromi Suzuki of Japan in 2 hr 29 min 48 sec.

      The men's and women's winners of other major marathons were: Osaka, Japan, women's, Katrin Dörre-Heinig (Germany) 2 hr 25 min 57 sec; Tokyo, Koji Shimizu (Japan) 2 hr 10 min 9 sec and Makiko Ito (Japan) 2 hr 27 min 45 sec; Fukuoka, men's, Josiah Thugwane (South Africa) 2 hr 7 min 28 sec; Nagoya, Japan, women's, Madina Biktagirova (Belarus) 2 hr 29 min 30 sec; Paris, John Kemboi (Kenya) 2 hr 10 min 14 sec and Helena Rozdrogina (Russia) 2 hr 29 min 11 sec; London, Antonio Pinto (Portugal) 2 hr 7 min 55 sec and Joyce Chepchumba (Kenya) 2 hr 26 min 51 sec; Rotterdam, Neth., Domingos Castro (Portugal) 2 hr 7 min 51 sec and Tegla Loroupe (Kenya) 2 hr 22 min 7 sec; Boston, Lameck Aguta (Kenya) 2 hr 10 min 34 sec and Fatuma Roba (Ethiopia) 2 hr 26 min 23 sec; Berlin, Elijah Lagat (Kenya) 2 hr 7 min 41 sec and Catherina McKiernan (Ireland) 2 hr 23 min 44 sec; Chicago, Khalid Khannouchi (Morocco) 2 hr 7 min 10 sec and Marian Sutton (U.K.) 2 hr 29 min 3 sec; New York City, John Kagwe (Kenya) 2 hr 8 min 12 sec and Franziska Rochat-Moser (Switzerland) 2 hr 28 min 43 sec.


▪ 1997

      As the year of the Centennial Olympic Games, 1996 featured fierce track and field competition both at the Games in Atlanta, Ga., and in invitational meetings before and after the quadrennial championships event.

Olympic Games.
      Despite the scheduling of biennial world championships, the Olympics retained their lustre for track and field athletes, and the Atlanta Olympics yielded performances of the highest calibre. The highlights included two sprint world records and new Olympic records in 17 events. Donovan Bailey of Canada (see BIOGRAPHIES (Bailey, Donovan )), the reigning world champion in the 100 m, won the gold medal in his event with a 9.84-sec performance that cut 0.01 sec from Leroy Burrell's two-year-old world record.

      With his record run, Bailey defeated a powerful field that included Linford Christie of the U.K. and Michael Marsh of the U.S., the 1992 Olympic 100-m and 200-m champions, respectively. Neither Christie nor Marsh earned a medal, however, as Frank Fredericks of Namibia (9.89 sec) and Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago (9.90 sec) claimed silver and bronze.

      The 36-year-old Christie reaped disappointment and stirred controversy in what he claimed would be his final Olympic 100-m race. Christie was called for false starts twice. After the disqualifying second call, he delayed the competition for several minutes as he argued in vain with the starter over his ejection.

      Michael Johnson of the U.S. set the second world record of the Games, racing a stunning 19.32 sec in the 200 m as he became the first man to win both the 200 m and the 400 m at the same Olympics. In the span of six days, Johnson ran eight races, including an Olympic-record 43.49-sec clocking in the 400-m final that was the fourth fastest time in history. Although Johnson had run a 19.66-sec 200 m at the U.S. Olympic trials in June for the first individual outdoor world record of his career, his Olympic final record far exceeded anyone's expectations. Fredericks raced 19.68, the third fastest time in history, yet lost by nearly five metres. Repeating the silver and bronze medal ordering of the 100 m, Boldon (19.80 sec) placed third.

      Johnson was not alone as a two-event gold medalist. Marie-José Pérec of France (see BIOGRAPHIES (Perec, Marie-Jose )) became the first athlete in Olympic history to win back-to-back Olympic 400-m titles and then followed up with a victory in the 200 m. She took the longer race in an Olympic-record 48.25 sec, the sixth fastest woman's time in history. In the 200 m Pérec surged from fifth place at the halfway mark to take the gold in 22.12 sec. In both the 800 m and 1,500 m, Svetlana Masterkova of Russia won with unanswerable bursts of speed in the final homestretch.

      Merlene Ottey of Jamaica, the 200-m silver medalist in 22.24 sec, also made history, as the first woman to reach the final of any event in five Olympics. The 36-year-old Ottey remained unrewarded in her quest for an Olympic gold medal, although she earned two silvers plus a bronze in the 4 × 100-m relay to match the career record total of seven track and field medals attained in previous Games by Shirley de la Hunty and Irena Szewinska.

      In the 100 m Ottey came agonizingly closer to a gold than ever before, achieving the same time as defending champion Gail Devers (10.94 sec) but placing second. Jamaican officials appealed the race's result, but reexamination of the finish photo upheld Devers's status as the second woman to repeat as Olympic 100-m champion.

      Perhaps the preeminent feat of Olympic longevity, however, was that of Carl Lewis of the U.S., who won a fourth consecutive long-jump title to join discus thrower Al Oerter as a four-time gold medalist in a single event. Unlike his previous Olympic long-jump wins, in which he never trailed after the first round of the final, Lewis had to battle throughout the Atlanta event. The 35-year-old star did not reach the final until his third and last qualifying-round jump of 8.29 m (27 ft 2 1/2 in), and in the final, Lewis did not hit his winning leap of 8.50 m (27 ft 10 3/4 in) until the third of six rounds.

      Basking in golden glory, Lewis announced that he would be available if called upon to run on the U.S. 4 × 100-m relay team. His selection for the relay would have allowed Lewis a shot at a record 10th gold. Lewis, however, had placed eighth and last in the U.S. Olympic trials in the 100 m. Ultimately, he was not selected for the relay, and Canada, anchored by Bailey, won easily in 37.69 sec.

      Besides Lewis, Devers, and Pérec, javelin thrower Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic successfully defended his Olympic title with an 88.16-m (289-ft 3-in) throw in the third round. Two U.S. relay teams, in the men's 4 × 400 m (2 min 55.99 sec) and women's 4 × 100 m (41.95 sec), won gold for the fourth consecutive Olympics.

      For track and field, Atlanta was the most international modern Olympics yet, with a record 45 nations sharing in the medals. Typical of this expanding globalization were Jefferson Pérez of Ecuador, who won the 20-km-walk gold, his nation's first Olympic medal in any sport, and Vénuste Niyongabo, who inaugurated Burundi's Olympic participation with a win in the 5,000 m.

      African male distance runners strengthened their already formidable reputations in the long-distance runs. On a warm, humid evening on a hard Atlanta track designed for sprinters, Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia set an Olympic record in the 10,000 m (27 min 7.34 sec). In a stirring battle with Paul Tergat of Kenya (27 min 8.17 sec) and Salah Hissou of Morocco (27 min 24.67 sec), Gebrselassie covered the race's second half in 13 min 11.4 sec, faster than the winning time in every previous Olympic 5,000-m race except Said Aouita's 1984 victory. The top eight places in the race were filled by Africans. After the Games, Hissou exacted some measure of revenge by breaking Gebrselassie's 14-month-old 10,000-m world record with a 26-min 38.08-sec clocking in a meet in Brussels.

      In the Olympic marathons Africans made history as well. Unheralded Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia became the first African woman to win a major championships marathon, charging into the lead one hour into the race to win in 2 hr 26 min 5 sec from the 1992 Olympic gold and silver medalists, Valentina Yegorova of Russia and Yuko Arimori of Japan. In the men's marathon Josia Thugwane earned South Africa its first track and field gold medal with a 2-hr 12-min 36-sec win.

      Two women's events, the 5,000 m and triple jump, debuted on the Olympic program, with the gold medals going to holders of world records. Wang Junxia of China, bearer of the world standards for 3,000 m and 10,000 m, won the Olympic 5,000-m title in 14 min 59.88 sec. She later lost the 10,000 m when world champion Fernanda Ribeiro of Portugal passed her in the final stretch to take gold. Triple-jump record holder Inessa Kravets of Ukraine hopped, skipped, and jumped a season-leading 15.33 m (50 ft 3 1/2 in) to win her event.

Men's International Competition.
      The Olympic season brought out extraordinary efforts in pre- and post-Games competition from those who triumphed in Atlanta, as when Zelezny launched his javelin to a world-record 98.48 m (323 ft 1 in) in May. There were, however, unprecedented achievements by athletes who had been denied Olympic participation. Chief among them was 20-year-old Daniel Komen of Kenya, a distance runner who placed fourth in his nation's Olympic trials in the 5,000 m and thus failed to qualify for Atlanta. Disappointed but not defeated by his misfortune, Komen raced to a record in the infrequently contested 2-mi run with an 8-min 3.54-sec clocking in Lappeenranta, Fin., in July. After the Olympics he was unbeatable, missing Noureddine Morceli's 3,000-m world record by only 0.05 sec in Monaco on August 10 and by 0.76 sec in Brussels on August 23. On September 1 in Rieti, Italy, Komen again attacked the 3,000-m standard, this time successfully setting a new mark of 7 min 20.67 sec. His 4.44-sec reduction of the record was the largest since Kip Keino chopped 6.4 sec from it in 1965.

      Wilson Kipketer, a Kenyan immigrant to Denmark, missed the Olympics because he lacked the requisite Danish citizenship. An 800-m runner, Kipketer asserted his dominance in other meets. He raced 1 min 41.83 sec, the third fastest time in history and the swiftest clocking since 1984, won all his races, and dipped under 1 min 43 sec a record seven times during the season.

      Although he placed second to a pair of world-record setters in Atlanta, sprinter Fredericks defeated Michael Johnson twice during the year and surpassed significant barriers in both the 100 m and 200 m more times in one season than any other man in history. He ran three sub-9.90-sec 100-m races and nine sub-20-sec 200-m clockings.

Women's International Competition.
      In the immediate aftermath of the Olympics, two women, Masterkova and Pérec, appeared equally poised to claim the 1996 season as hers. Masterkova, however, settled the issue when she posted world records at the mile (4 min 12.56 sec) and 1,000-m (2-min 28.98-sec) distances. Masterkova was pushed to the 1,000-m standard by the record's former owner, Maria Mutola of Mozambique. Mutola stayed less than 0.10 sec behind Masterkova after 800 m but succumbed in the final half lap to finish second in 2 min 29.66 sec, the third fastest time in history.

      Ludmila Engquist, the Olympic 100-m hurdles champion, won $250,000 as overall Grand Prix points leader. The Russian-born Engquist obtained Swedish citizenship as the season began, and her Olympic win was that nation's first by a woman track and field athlete. Olympic shot-put champion Astrid Kumbernuss of Germany finished the year with 30 wins in 30 meets. Kumbernuss, in fact, had not lost since February 1995.

Cross Country and Marathon Running
      Kenya's Paul Tergat won the men's individual title at the world cross country championships in Stellenbosch, S.Af., in March, while Ethiopia's Gete Wami took the women's crown. As in 1995, Kenya won all four team championships (seniors and juniors for both men and women). The African nation thus stretched its number of consecutive senior men's team crowns to 11 and its string of junior men's crowns to 9.

      In the Olympic Games at Atlanta, Ga., Josia Thugwane of South Africa won the men's marathon in 2 hr 12 min 36 sec. The women's gold medal went to Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia in 2 hr 26 min 5 sec.

      The world half-marathon championship was won by Stefano Baldini of Italy, who raced the 21.1-km (13.1-mi) road course in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, in 1 hr 1 min 17 sec. Italy won the team title. Ren Xiujuan of China took the women's championship in 1 hr 10 min 39 sec as Romania won its fourth consecutive team crown.

      The men's and women's winners of other major marathons in 1996 were: Osaka women's, Katrin Dörre-Heinig (Germany) 2 hr 26 min 4 sec; Tokyo men's, Vanderlei de Lima (Brazil) 2 hr 8 min 38 sec; Boston, Moses Tanui (Kenya) 2 hr 9 min 16 sec and Uta Pippig (Germany) 2 hr 27 min 12 sec, for her third consecutive victory; Rotterdam, Belayneh Dinsamo (Ethiopia) 2 hr 10 min 30 sec and Lieve Slegers (Belgium) 2 hr 28 min 6 sec; London, Dionicio Cerón (Mexico) 2 hr 10 min 0 sec and Liz McColgan (U.K.) 2 hr 27 min 54 sec; Berlin, Abel Antón (Spain) 2 hr 9 min 15 sec and Colleen de Reuck (South Africa) 2 hr 26 min 35 sec; New York City, Giacomo Leone (Italy) 2 hr 9 min 54 sec and Anuta Catuna (Romania) 2 hr 28 min 18 sec; Tokyo women's, Nobuko Fujimura (Japan) 2 hr 28 min 58 sec; and Fukuoka men's, Lee Bong Ju (South Korea) 2 hr 10 min 48 sec. (SIEG LINDSTROM)

▪ 1996

      One year before the 1996 Olympic Games, track and field did not lack for championship-calibre competition. Foremost on the season's schedule was the outdoor world championships; the biennial event was staged in Göteborg, Sweden, in August. The other major tournament was the world indoor championships in Barcelona, Spain, in March.

World Outdoor Championships.
      Many of the world's best athletes convened in Göteborg on Sweden's west coast, and the pressure-cooker atmosphere helped produce four world records. One man set two marks; triple jumper Jonathan Edwards of Great Britain hopped, stepped, and jumped 18.16 m (59 ft 7 in) on his first leap to better the world record of 17.98 m (59 ft) he had set earlier in the summer. On his next leap, however, Edwards went one better, reaching 18.29 m (60 ft 1/4 in) to break the event's long-sought 60-ft barrier. The new record highlighted Edwards' undefeated 14-meet season, in which he produced the four longest leaps in history.

      The pair of women's records were established by Kim Batten of the U.S. in the 400-m hurdles (52.61 sec) and by triple jumper Inessa Kravets of Ukraine, who jumped 15.50 m (50 ft 10 1/4 in). In a thrilling finish Batten just edged U.S. teammate Tonja Buford, whose time of 52.62 sec also bettered the former mark of 52.74 sec set in 1993 by Sally Gunnell of the U.K. Kravets saved herself from possible elimination from the final by sailing to her record distance on her third jump in the preliminary round. Her first two attempts had been fouls.

      The largest medal haul was claimed by U.S. sprint superstar Michael Johnson (see BIOGRAPHIES (Johnson, Michael Duane )), who first defended his global crown at 400 m with the second fastest time in history, 43.39 sec. Next he sped 200 m in 19.79 sec to reclaim the title of that distance, which he had won at the 1991 championships in Tokyo but surrendered two years later in Stuttgart, Germany, when he concentrated on just the 400. Johnson capped his trying schedule of nine races in as many days by anchoring the United States' 4 × 400-m relay team to a comfortable victory in 2 min 57.32 sec.

      Men from Africa won every track race from 800 m through 10,000 m. Algeria's Noureddine Morceli easily won his third consecutive world championship at 1,500 m with a time of 3 min 33.73 sec. Moses Kiptanui of Kenya made it three consecutive wins in the 3,000-m steeplechase, his time of 8 min 4.16 sec the third fastest ever in this event.

      The 1993 winners at 5,000 m and 10,000 m both defended their titles. Ismael Kirui of Kenya ran the shorter distance in 13 min 16.77 sec, while Ethiopian star Haile Gebrselassie sprinted home strongly to win the 10,000 m in 27 min 12.95 sec. The other African winner was Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer, who won the 800 m in 1 min 45.08 sec for his newly adopted nation of Denmark, giving that nation its first-ever world champion.

      In the pole vault Ukrainian superstar Sergey Bubka became the only athlete to have won his event in all five editions of the world championships. He reached a height of 5.92 m (19 ft 5 in) to claim gold medal number five.

      Other U.S. men winners included hurdlers Allen Johnson (13.00 sec over the 110-m high barriers) and Derrick Adkins (47.98 sec in the 400-m event), shot putter John Godina (21.47 m [70 ft 5 1/4 in]), and Dan O'Brien (8,695 points for his third consecutive decathlon title). U.S. women to strike gold included 100-m hurdles defending champion Gail Devers (12.68 sec) and also the 4 × 100-m (42.12 sec) and 4 ×400-m (3 min 22.39 sec) relay teams.

      Stunning disqualifications eliminated two women after each ran several steps on the lane stripe. U.S. sprint star Gwen Torrence won the 100-m dash in 10.85 sec and crossed the finish line first in the 200-m event. But judges detected that she had stepped on the lane line around the turn. Similarly, Mozambique's Maria Mutola, heavily favoured to repeat as 800-m champion, stepped outside her lane in her semifinal race and was disqualified, ending her string of consecutive victories at 42.

World Indoor Championships.
      U.S. men to win at the indoor world championships included Darnell Hall at 400 m (46.17 sec), Allen Johnson in the 60-m hurdles (7.39 sec), and the 4 ×400-m relay team of Rod Tolbert, Calvin Davis, Tod Long, and Frankie Atwater (3 min 7.37 sec). The lone U.S. woman to score a victory was Regina Jacobs at 1,500 m (4 min 12.61 sec).

      The women's triple jump again produced a world record as Russia's Yolanda Chen extended the mark to 15.03 m (49 ft 3 3/4 in). Russian sprint star Irina Privalova, who had set indoor records at 50 m and 60 m, stepped up to the 400 m and won easily in 50.23 sec.

Men's International Competition.
      The African trio of Morceli-Kiptanui-Gebrselassie all had set world records before the world tournament at Göteborg, and the latter pair also set records after the worlds. Gebrselassie began his season spectacularly in late May, running the seldom-contested two-mile distance in a record 8 min 7.46 sec to trim Kiptanui's two-year-old record of 8 min 9.01 sec. Gebrselassie termed the two-mile race as just a "warm-up" for an attempt on the 10,000-m record nine days later—and he made good in that attempt as he ran the distance in 26 min 43.53 to lower the mark by almost 10 full seconds. Kiptanui chimed in just three days later with a 5,000-m best of 12 min 55.30 sec, breaking Gebrselassie's 1994 record of 12 min 56.96.

      Morceli got in his licks twice in a span of nine days, first in the 2,000 m with a clocking of 4 min 47.88 sec and then at his 1,500-m specialty. His 3 min 27.37 sec broke his own record of 3 min 28.86 sec.

      At the prestigious Zürich (Switz.) invitational meet in August, both Kiptanui and Gebrselassie produced stunning performances. Kiptanui broke through the steeplechase's fabled barrier of eight minutes as he ran virtually solo to a record 7 min 59.18 sec. Shortly afterward, however, Gebrselassie one-upped the Kenyan by regaining the 5,000-m record. His blistering 12 min 44.39 sec lowered Kiptanui's earlier mark by 10.91 sec, the widest margin by which the record had been broken in more than 50 years.

      The pair met in a climactic 5,000-m race in Berlin at the beginning of September. They were together after four kilometres, but Gebrselassie's surge over the final 1,000 m was so strong that he came home almost 10 seconds ahead of Kiptanui with a time (12 min 53.19 sec) second only to his own record. Kiptanui finished in 13 min 0.90 sec. Kiptanui, however, scored $130,000 worth of revenge, gaining that amount as overall points winner in the Grand Prix circuit of top-level European invitational meets.

      In the long jump Cuba's Ivan Pedroso appeared to have set a new world record when he leaped 8.96 m (29 ft 4 3/4 in) in the rarefied air of the Italian Alpine city of Sestriere, but videotapes showed that an official had inadvertently stood in front of the wind-measuring gauge on each of Pedroso's attempts, which negated any wind-speed measurement necessary for acceptance of a record. As a result, Pedroso's mark could not be eligible for record consideration.

Women's International Competition.
      Distance runners also starred in women's events. Portugal's Fernanda Ribeiro clocked a 5,000-m record of 14 min 36.45 sec, although she ended up losing that distance in Göteborg to Ireland's Sonia O'Sullivan. Ribeiro did claim the 10,000-m world crown, however. Maria Mutola atoned to some degree for her world championship disqualification at 800 m by clocking a record 2 min 29.34 sec for 1,000 m. Mutola was the women's overall Grand Prix champion and winner of the $130,000 prize.

      Two new record events were contested in 1995, the best marks in the pole vault and hammer throw at the end of the season being recognized as world records. In the vault former gymnast Daniela Bartova of the Czech Republic achieved 4.21 m (13 ft 9 3/4 in). That mark was exceeded late in the season by four higher leaps. The highest was by Australia's Emma George at 4.28 m (14 ft 1/2 in), which awaited ratification. In the hammer Russia's Olga Kuzenkova set a mark of 68.16 m (223 ft 7 in).

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      Kenya's Paul Tergat won the men's title at the world cross country championships in Durham, England, in March, while Ethiopia's Derartu Tulu took the women's crown. Kenya won all four team titles (seniors and juniors for both men and women).

      The world championship marathon victories went to Spain's Martin Fiz (2 hr 11 min 41 sec) and Portugal's Manuela Machado (2 hr 25 min 39 sec). The women's race was 400 m short, as officials erroneously directed the runners out of the stadium after only three laps of the track, rather than the necessary four.

      The world half-marathon championship was won by yet another Kenyan, Moses Tanui, who covered the 21.1-km (13.1-mi) distance on the road in 1 hr 1 min 46 sec. The women's title went to Russia's Valentina Yegorova, the 1992 Olympic marathon champion, in 1 hr 9 min 58 sec. Kenya's men and Romania's women successfully defended their team titles.

      The men's and women's winners of other major marathons in 1995 were: Boston, Cosmas N'Deti (Kenya) 2 hr 9 min 22 sec, for his third consecutive victory, and Uta Pippig (Germany) 2 hr 25 min 11 sec; Rotterdam, Neth., Martin Fiz (Spain) 2 hr 8 min 57 sec and Monica Pont (Spain) 2 hr 30 min 34 sec; London, Dionicio Cerón (Mexico) 2 hr 8 min 30 sec and Malgorzata Sobanska (Poland) 2 hr 27 min 43 sec; Berlin, Sammy Lelei (Kenya) 2 hr 7 min 2 sec (second fastest time in history) and Pippig 2 hr 25 min 36 sec; and New York, German Silva (Mexico) 2 hr 11 min and Tecla Loroupe (Kenya) 2 hr 28 min 6 sec.


▪ 1995

      The even-numbered years between Olympic Games provide U.S. track and field athletes with a break from championship-level competition. Two years before the Olympics and with no world meets on the schedule, 1994 was such a respite year.

      While U.S. athletes were free to focus on the series of high-powered invitational meetings that constitute Europe's Grand Prix circuit each summer season, Europeans aimed for the quadrennial European championships, staged in 1994 in Helsinki, Fin. In addition, athletes from nations composing the Commonwealth of Nations looked toward their own championships, held in Victoria, B.C.

Men's International Competition.
      The records set during 1994 could be summed up as "the short and long" of the sport. A U.S. sprinter lowered the world mark in the 100-m dash, while runners from three African nations achieved record performances in the long distances. Leroy Burrell regained the 100-m record when he sped 9.85 sec in Lausanne, Switz. Burrell snipped the record from the 9.86 run in 1991 by Carl Lewis, his teammate on the Santa Monica (Calif.) Track Club. Lewis' effort in 1991 had bettered the 9.90 Burrell had run only two months earlier. In mid-April, Burrell and Lewis had helped set the season's first outdoor world record. The renowned pair joined their Santa Monica clubmates Michael Marsh and Floyd Heard to clock 1 min 18.68 sec in the 4 × 200-m relay, bettering the time of 1 min 19.11 sec run by the same quartet in 1992.

      Both Burrell and Lewis, however, suffered early ends to their European summer seasons. A foot injury sidelined Burrell, while Lewis contracted a stomach virus from contaminated water. Both returned to their homes in Houston, Texas, and missed a number of major invitational meets at the height of the season.

      The African distance runners all set their records in Europe. First to turn the trick was Haile Gebresilasie of Ethiopia in early June in Hengelo, Neth. The 1993 world champion at 10,000 m, Gebresilasie covered half that distance in a 5,000-m record time of 12 min 56.96 sec, eclipsing the mark of 12 min 58.39 sec run in 1987 by Morocco's Said Aouita. Some six weeks later in Oslo, Norway, Kenya's William Sigei—known more for his prowess in cross country—produced a surprising record in the 10,000 m. With his time of 26 min 52.23 sec, Sigei lowered the 1993 mark of 26 min 58.38 sec run on the same track by fellow Kenyan Yobes Ondicki—set in a race in which Sigei had placed second in his previous best time of 27 min 16.81 sec.

      The third distance record, in the 3,000 m, was set in Monaco at the start of August by Algerian star Noureddine Morceli (see BIOGRAPHIES (Morceli, Noureddine )). Already the record holder at 1,500 m and one mile, Morceli clocked 7 min 25.11 sec to slash nearly four seconds off the 1992 mark of 7 min 28.96 sec established by Kenya's Moses Kiptanui. The 1994 campaign was the first season since 1978 in which world records were set at 3,000, 5,000, and 10,000 m. Kenya's Henry Rono had set the marks at all three distances in 1978.

      Morceli later capped his season at the Grand Prix final in Paris. His victory in the 1,500 m gave him the highest point total in the season's overall Grand Prix standings—worth a total of $130,000. Even though Kiptanui lost his official 3,000-m record, he broke the record at an unofficial distance, covering two miles in 8 min 9.01 sec. The Kenyan trimmed more than three seconds off the old best of 8 min 12.17 sec, run in 1993 by Khalid Skah of Morocco.

      The lone field event record setter was no newcomer to that level of achievement. The peerless Ukrainian pole vaulter Sergey Bubka set his 17th outdoor mark when he cleared 6.14 m (20 ft 1 3/4 in) in the helpful altitude of Sestriere in the Italian Alps. It was the 35th career record for Bubka, the other 18 having been set indoors. His highest indoor vault, in 1993, measured one centimetre higher at 6.15 m (20 ft 2 in).

      At the European championships Linford Christie of Great Britain won his third consecutive title at 100 m, while countrymen Colin Jackson (110-m high hurdles) and Steve Backley (javelin) successfully defended their titles. Olympic champions Fermin Cacho of Spain (1,500 m) and Dieter Baumann of Germany (5,000 m) added European victories to their collection of titles. At the Commonwealth Games Christie and Backley (competing for England), as well as Jackson (representing Wales), retained the titles they had first won in 1990. Earlier in the year, during the winter indoor season, Jackson twice set records over the 60-m high hurdles (7.36 sec, then 7.30). Russia's Leonid Voloshin bounced to a triple-jump mark of 17.77 m (58 ft 3 3/4 in).

      In race-walking events on the track outdoors, records for both official distances were set in the same Norwegian competition in early May. Mexico's Bernardo Segura covered 20,000 m in 1 hr 17 min 25.5 sec, while France's René Piller cut the best for 50,000 m to 3 hr 41 min 28.2 sec.

      The outdoor track season concluded with the seventh staging of the World Cup, a team competition for national and continental squads. In London, two years after the previous World Cup in Havana. Africa's men's team retained its title, while an all-star team representing Europe won the women's crown. The U.S. teams produced the worst American placings in the meet's 17-year history—the men finishing sixth and the women eighth and last.

Women's International Competition.
      Frequent meetings among leading performers highlighted women's competition in 1994, just as it had the men's. The long jump produced repeated clashes between Jackie Joyner-Kersee of the U.S., the 1988 Olympic champion, and her career-long rival Germany's Heike Drechsler, who had won the 1992 Olympic title and the world championship in 1993.

      Joyner-Kersee started her season in fine form in late May with a U.S. record leap of 7.49 m (24 ft 7 in), the second-longest women's jump in history, behind only the world record of 7.52 m (24 ft 8 1/4 in) set in 1988 by Galina Chistyakova of the Soviet Union. Joyner-Kersee then scored Grand Prix meet wins over Drechsler in Oslo; Brussels; Cologne, Germany; and finally at the Grand Prix final. Her total point score gave her the overall Grand Prix title and the $130,000 first prize. For good measure Joyner-Kersee matched her U.S. record distance of 7.49 m (24 ft 7 in) at the meet in Sestriere.

      Despite her losses to Joyner-Kersee, Drechsler's season was not at all a failure. She won her third consecutive long-jump title at the European championships and then closed her season by competing in her first heptathlon since 1981. At the end of that two-day, seven-event discipline at Talence, France, in September, she had totaled 6,741 points, which was the highest score of the season. There now loomed the tantalizing prospect of a future meeting between Drechsler and the acknowledged master of the heptathlon, the world-record holder and two-time Olympic champion Joyner-Kersee.

      On the track standout runners were Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland and Maria Mutola of Mozambique. O'Sullivan produced the season's fastest times at 1,500 m (3 min 59.10 sec), one mile (4 min 17.25 sec), the infrequently contested 2,000 m (a world-record 5 min 25.36 sec), and the 3,000 m (8 min 21.64 sec).

      The latter pair of efforts were contested against leading rival Yvonne Murray of Great Britain. O'Sullivan also became the first Irish athlete, man or woman, to win a European title when she outran Murray in Helsinki. Murray rebounded to win the 10,000 m at the Commonwealth Games for her native Scotland.

      Mutola followed up her 800-m win at the 1993 world championships with an undefeated 1994 campaign and a best time of 1 min 55.19 sec at that distance. It was the fastest time ever for the 800 m by an athlete from outside the former communist Eastern European nations.

      In addition to the European championship victories of Drechsler and O'Sullivan, another star in Helsinki was Russian sprinter Irina Privalova, the only woman to win two events as she sped to victories in the 100-m and 200-m dashes.

      A number of clashes in Grand Prix meets between Privalova and U.S. rival Gwen Torrence presaged their meeting at the Grand Prix final. However, in that event they both were defeated over 100 m in an upset by 34-year-old Jamaican veteran Merlene Ottey, who had missed the first half of the summer season owing to a foot injury. Her time of 10.78 sec equaled the fastest of her career. Torrence finished second to Ottey and lowered her career-best time to 10.82 sec. Early in the year Ottey set a new indoor world record in the 50 m of 6.00 sec.

      Three other records were set in indoor competition. The Russian 4 ×800-m relay team established a new mark of 4 min 2.94 sec, and Russian triple jumper Inna Lasovskaya twice increased the distance in her specialty, to 14.78 m and then to 14.90 m. Sprinter Wilma Rudolph died in November (see OBITUARIES (Rudolph, Wilma Glodean )).

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      Kenya's William Sigei successfully defended his men's title at the world cross country championships, while teammate Helen Chepngeno won the women's crown. Their nation emphasized its domination of the sport by winning team titles for senior and junior men and junior women.

      The European championships marathon titles were won by Martin Fiz (2 hr 10 min 31 sec) as he led his Spanish teammates to a 1-2-3 finish and by Manuela Machado of Portugal (2 hr 29 min 54 sec). Commonwealth Games victories went to Steve Moneghetti of Australia (2 hr 11 min 49 sec) and Carole Rouillard of Canada (2 hr 30 min 41 sec).

      The world half-marathon championship was won by Morocco's Khalid Skah. Winner of the 10,000 m at the 1992 Olympics, Skah covered the 21.1-km (13.1-mi) distance on the road in 1 hr 0 min 27 sec. South Africa's Elana Meyer won the women's title in 1 hour 8 min 36 sec. The team victories went to Kenya's men and Romania's women.

      The men's and women's winners of other major marathons in 1994 were: Boston, Cosmas N'Deti (Kenya) 2 hr 7 min 15 sec and Uta Pippig (Germany) 2 hr 21 min 45 sec; Rotterdam, Neth., Vincent Rousseau (Belgium) 2 hr 7 min 51 sec and Miyoko Asahina (Japan) 2 hr 29 min 14 sec; London, Dionicio Ceron (Mexico) 2 hr 8 min 53 sec and Katrin Dörre (Germany) 2 hr 32 min 34 sec; New York, German Silva (Mexico) 2 hr 11 min 21 sec and Tegla Loroupe (Kenya) 2 hr 27 min 37 sec. (JON HENDERSHOTT)

▪ 1994

      The world championships, held every two years, easily developed as the most notable track and field event of 1993. Held in Stuttgart, Germany, in August, the tournament survived the early threat of a boycott by athletes who demanded that a share of television revenues be put toward prize money. Eventually the International Amateur Athletic Federation placated the athletes after private negotiations and the offer of meet sponsor Mercedes-Benz to give new automobiles to all of the winners. As at the previous year's Olympic Games, the U.S. men led the overall standings, taking 15 medals, 8 of them gold. Kenya remained in second place with nine medals. For the first time the U.S. women led the medal standings. Altogether they took 11 (5 gold), while the Russian women won 10 overall.

Men's World Championships.
      Two world records fell, and another was tied in Stuttgart. Britain's Colin Jackson capped a near-perfect season by running the 110-m hurdles in 12.91 sec, breaking Roger Kingdom's record by 0.01 sec. In the relay races U.S. sprinters were at their best. In the qualifying heats of the 4 × 100 m, Jon Drummond, Andre Cason, Dennis Mitchell, and Leroy Burrell shocked themselves when their "easy" effort yielded a clocking of 37.40 sec, tying the record set in the Olympics. In the final the foursome attempted to better their new mark but ended up with 37.48 sec, the third-fastest time in history.

      The 4 ×400 m saw what may have been the greatest relay effort of all time. The U.S. squad of Andrew Valmon, Quincy Watts, Butch Reynolds, and Michael Johnson combined to slash 1.45 sec from the old world record with their time of 2 min 54.29 sec. Johnson's split of 42.94 sec was the fastest ever recorded.

      Johnson preceded that performance with an impressive win in the 400 m. His time was 43.65 sec, the third-fastest ever. It was the first time he had contested the event in an international championship, though he had been undefeated in it since 1988.

      Sergey Bubka of Ukraine redeemed his poor showing in the 1992 Olympics by winning the pole vault as expected. He cleared 6 m (19 ft 8 1/4 in), becoming the only athlete, male or female, to have won at each of the four world championships held so far. Werner Günthör of Switzerland won the shot put with a toss of 21.97 m (72 ft 1 in), his third straight gold medal in the world championships.

      A number of Olympic champions managed to win in Stuttgart. British sprinter Linford Christie, at age 33, proved that his Olympic victory had not been a fluke when his 9.87-sec 100-m performance missed the world record by only 0.01 sec. Kevin Young of the U.S. won the 400-m hurdles in 47.18 sec, and Mike Conley, also of the U.S., dominated the triple-jump field with his 17.86-m (58-ft 7 1/4-in) effort. Javier Sotomayor of Cuba won the high jump with a leap of 2.40 m (7 ft 10 1/2 in), and Andrey Abduvaliyev of Tajikistan overcame a lacklustre year following the Olympics to win the hammer throw with 81.64 m (267 ft 10 in).

      A U.S. athlete who had been an early Olympic favourite until he met disaster at the U.S. trials, decathlete Dan O'Brien, gained success in 1993. After a victory at the U.S. championships, he won the gold medal in Stuttgart with his score of 8,817 points, the sixth-best performance in history.

      African dominance in the distance runs continued to increase. Kenyans won three events. Newcomer Paul Ruto took the 800 m in 1 min 44.71 sec. World record holder Moses Kiptanui defended his steeplechase title with a run of 8 min 6.36 sec. Ismael Kirui, only 18 years old, crushed the opposition at 5,000 m with a scintillating time of 13 min 2.75 sec, the fastest ever run in a championship meet.

      Algeria produced a champion in Noureddine Morceli, who won the 1,500 m in 3 min 34.24 sec. Haile Gebresilasie of Ethiopia won the 10,000 m in 27 min 46.02 sec after a blazing last-lap battle with Moses Tanui of Kenya. Namibia had its first winner ever, Frank Fredericks, who won the 200 m in 19.85 sec, an African record.

      The marathon was still an African domain even though a U.S. runner, Mark Plaatjes, won in 2 hr 13 min 57 sec. Plaatjes was a refugee from South Africa who had recently been granted U.S. citizenship.

Other Men's Competition.
      For much of the year, Bubka dominated the headlines with his persistent chasing of records in the pole vault. He set indoor marks of 6.14 m (20 ft 1 3/4 in) and 6.15 m (20 ft 2 in). They were his 33rd and 34th lifetime records, both higher than his outdoor mark. He eventually won the overall Grand Prix title, with a $130,000 prize for the season-long series.

      Some top athletes skipped the world indoor championships in Toronto in March in order to concentrate on training or to put pressure on the organizers to award prize money. O'Brien highlighted the meet by winning the heptathlon—the indoor counterpart to the decathlon—with a record 6,476 points.

      Outdoors, Noureddine Morceli ran undefeated in the middle distances. Prior to the world championships, he confirmed his strength with near-record runs in the 1,500 m (3 min 29.20 sec) and 3,000 m (7 min 29.24 sec). After the championships he broke the mile record with a startling run of 3 min 44.39 sec in Rieti, Italy. That was the biggest lowering of the mark (1.93 sec) since Jim Ryun's first record in 1966.

      The 10,000-m record also dipped below a historic barrier. First, Richard Chelimo of Kenya broke the standard by 0.32 sec in July in Stockholm. Five days later fellow Kenyan Yobes Ondieki (see BIOGRAPHIES (Ondieki, Yobes )) became the first man to cover that distance in less than 27 min with his time of 26 min 58.38 sec in Oslo, Norway.

      Sotomayor high jumped over the 8-ft barrier for the second time, raising his own world record to 2.45 m (8 ft 1/2 in) in Salamanca, Spain, in July. In the javelin Jan Zelezny of the Czech Republic twice set a new record, first with a throw of 95.54 m (313 ft 5 in) in Pietersburg, South Africa, in April. He followed his world championships win with a record toss of 95.66 m (313 ft 10 in) in Sheffield, England, in August.

Women's World Championships.
      Since 1988 women's world records had been rare, but Sally Gunnell of the U.K. reversed the trend in Stuttgart. Racing Sandra Farmer-Patrick of the U.S. over the 400-m hurdles, Gunnell caught her just at the finish in 52.74 sec, with Farmer-Patrick (52.79 sec) also under the old mark. In the triple jump—a new event for an international championship—newcomer Ana Biryukova of Russia leaped 15.09 m (49 ft 6 1/4 in) to win the gold unexpectedly and break the record.

      Gail Devers of the U.S. made history by winning the sprint/hurdle double that she had attempted unsuccessfully in the Olympics. First she won the 100 m in 10.82 sec, later enduring a storm of controversy when runner-up Merlene Ottey of Jamaica (also 10.82 sec) insisted that she was the true champion. Ottey had to wait several days before she finally won her first gold medal in global competition, a quest that had frustrated her for 13 years. She triumphed in the 200 m in 21.98 sec, much to the delight of the Stuttgart crowd.

      Devers returned to win the 100-m hurdles—the event in which she fell just before the finish in the Olympics—with a lifetime best of 12.46 sec. She also ran on the 4 × 100-m relay for the U.S., which narrowly lost to the Russians as both teams set national records of 41.49 sec. The U.S. won the 4 ×400-m relay in 3 min 16.71 sec, anchored by Jearl Miles, who earlier had won the 400 m in a lifetime best 49.82 sec.

      Germany's Heike Drechsler won the long jump with a distance of 7.11 m (23 ft 4 in), regaining the title she had last won as a teenager 10 years earlier. Mozambique's Maria Mutola overpowered her 800-m rivals in 1 min 55.43 sec, her 1.67-sec margin of victory the largest ever in a world final.

      Jackie Joyner-Kersee did not enjoy the luxury of a big margin. She scored 6,837 points in the heptathlon to regain the title she had lost two years earlier. Her 40-point bulge over Sabine Braun of Germany was the closest finish she had endured since 1984.

      In the marathon Junko Asari of Japan won in 2 hr 30 min 3 sec, leading her teammates to a 1-3-11 finish. That underscored the rise of the Japanese women to primacy among the world's marathoners, a position put in jeopardy by the sudden explosion of the Chinese.

      The Chinese distance runners went to Stuttgart shrouded in mystery but soon asserted their place at the top of the world's hierarchy. In the 3,000 m three Chinese ran away from undefeated favourite Sonia O'Sullivan of Ireland to sweep the medals. Qu Yunxia won in 8 min 28.71 sec, finishing with the fastest closing rush ever recorded by a woman. In the 10,000 m two Chinese easily triumphed over the best the rest of the world had to offer. Wang Junxia won in 30 min 49.30 sec after another unbelievably fast finish. In the 1,500 m Liu Dong won in 4 min 0.50 sec, crushing her competition on the last lap. The ensuing excitement and controversy was only a prelude to the biggest development of the year in the sport.

China's National Games.
      In mid-September in Beijing (Peking), the Chinese women unleashed a powerful display of distance running that was unprecedented in the history of track and field. On the first day, Wang slashed more than 41 seconds from the 10,000-m record, becoming the first woman to break 30 minutes with her 29-min 31.78-sec performance. Even more shocking, she ran the last 5,000 m of that race faster than the 5,000-m world record, and the last 3,000 m faster than the record at that distance—a nine-year-old mark that many had considered unbeatable.

      On the fourth day, Qu shattered the record for 1,500 m with a startling run of 3 min 50.46 sec. Wang (3 min 51.92 sec) also broke the record. Unbelievably, a total of seven Chinese broke the 4-minute barrier in that race. Only two other women in the world had done so all year. On the fifth day, in the qualifying heats of the 3,000 m, Zhang Linli broke the record with a run of 8 min 22.06 sec. Teammate Zhang Lirong also bettered the old mark. Just 14 minutes later, Wang broke the record (as did teammates Qu and Ma Liyan) with a run of 8 min 12.19 sec.

      On the sixth and last day, Wang shattered the 3,000-m mark again, clocking 8 min 6.11 sec. All told, six women exceeded the old world records a total of 14 times. Adding to the shock was the depth of performance in every race. Dozens of Chinese, many of them unheard of before 1993, achieved world-class performances as national records fell in every running event. The Chinese angrily denied charges that the performances were aided by a systematic national doping program. Many international experts responded with deep skepticism.

Cross Country and Marathon Running.
      Lynn Jennings of the U.S. failed in her attempt to win a fourth straight world cross country title, placing third behind Albertina Dias of Portugal and Catherina McKiernan of Ireland. In the men's race Kenyans took the first five places. Kenya won all four team titles available at the meet, three with perfect scores.

      In marathon running the most notable race took place in April in Boston, where Cosmas N'Deti of Kenya won in 2 hr 9 min 33 sec over South Korea's Kim Jae Ryong (2 hr 9 min 43 sec). Olga Markova, who had been a favourite in the Olympics until the Russians decided to leave her off their team, attempted a record pace but had to slow down. She still clocked an impressive victory, nonetheless, at 2 hr 25 min 27 sec.

      In early April the Chinese served as host for a race in Tianjin (Tientsin), in which eight women ran under 2 hr 27 min; seven of them had never raced the distance before. Because of the unprecedented speed with which winner Wang finished the race (2 hr 24 min 7 sec), the course was widely thought to be short. After Beijing's national games, however, most experts decided that Wang was indeed capable of such a feat.

      The men's and women's winners of other major marathons in 1993 included: Rotterdam, Neth., Dionicio Ceron (Mexico) 2 hr 11 min 6 sec and Anne van Schuppen (The Netherlands) 2 hr 34 min 15 sec; London, Eamonn Martin (U.K.) 2 hr 10 min 50 sec and Katrin Dörre (Germany) 2 hr 27 min 9 sec; and New York, Andrés Espinosa (Mexico) 2 hr 10 min 4 sec and Uta Pippig (Germany) 2 hr 26 min 24 sec. (JEFF HOLLOBAUGH)

* * *

Universalium. 2010.

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