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Greene sets sights on Beijing

Source: www.usatf.org

18 May 2007
Three-time world champion and 2000 Olympic 100m gold medalist Maurice Greene this week was a late addition to the lineup for the adidas Track Classic, to be held Sunday as part of the Visa Championship Series. Among those he will compete against Sunday is #2 world-ranked Tyson Gay. The adidas Track Classic on Friday hosted a teleconference with Greene in advance of Sunday's meet.

Q: Why did you decide to enter this meet?

A: I figured I have to start my season at some point in time. I think L.A. is a very good track meet to come out and see where I am right now. The most important thing this year is the World Championships and making it in the Trials. I haven't run 100 meters in a race in a while, so I think it's time for me to get out there to get the competitive juices flowing and have some fun.

Q: How is your health?

A: I'm good. I haven't ever been the one to go in and say that 'this is wrong' or anything else. If I am able to get in a race, I believe I can compete pretty well.

Q: What excites you about getting out and racing again?

A: Right now I have to get back into competition mode. I haven't been in a competition in awhile [since May, 2006]. What excites me is going out there and being able to compete again. I like any form of competition. That's what gets my juices going. There's no more excitement than to put everything on the line when you're at the starting line.

Q: Why did you pull out of Osaka?

A: A week before Osaka, I went to my dentist. I got my wisdom teeth pulled. They were impacted. I got an infection and it pulled me out of training for 2 ½, three weeks. John [Smith] said no, I'm not going to let you go. I was all swelled up. They [training partners] said I looked like Klump ["The Nutty Professor"]. It's hard to keep me away from the track, but John would kick me out and tell me to sit down.

Q: How do you feel about the field, to face people like Tyson Gay and Leonard Scott?

A: You know me, I've never been one to dwell on who I'm running against or who's in the race. Sometimes I don't find out what lane I'm in until I go out there. I just have to go out there, run my race and not worry about anyone else. As long as I do that, I'll be fine.

Q: We read that part of the reason for your break from racing was you were unhappy with some things in the sport.

A: You always come to some things in your lifetime where you're not happy with some things. I'm not able to control those things that are going on or are happening in the sport. All I have control over is myself, and that's what I focus on. I'll try to better the sport the way I know how, bringing excitement, getting fans involved and putting on a show, like I always do.

Q: How do you feel about these young sprinters coming up?

A: It's good because it shows a progression of the people coming up and what they're doing, so I think it's good. I know what I'm capable of if I'm healthy and strong.

Q: Can you get back to world-record shape?

A: Oh, of course. I know I'm still capable of running the world record and running faster than I ever have. This is going to be my first race back. I want to knock out the cobwebs and get ready for what I plan on doing - putting on a great show, giving the fans what they love, competing and running fast. I think when the world championships come around, I can be in world record shape. I used to go around saying I'm going to break the world record, but I'm not putting that pressure on myself. I'm going to let the world record come back to me, I'm not going after it. And believe me, it will come back to me.

Q: With the spotlight is falling on Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay, does that give you the chance to stay out of the spotlight and do your own thing?

A: It doesn't help me or hurt me. I can do with it, or I can do without it. All of the competitors know once I run a time, they'll know 'uh-oh, now we've got to run against him.'

Q: How is your mental approach different than in your earlier days?

A: I think it's the same. Before I used to run against people, but then I got to the point where I went out to run the best race that I can. I just go out there and run the best race that I can. I know how to win. I know what it takes.

Q: What would a trip to the Beijing Olympics mean to you at this point in your career?

A: You mean, what WILL it mean? I am missing one thing in my life right now, and that is my other set of gold medals. I feel I should have gotten it in Athens, but due to my mistakes, I didn't get it. Now I must go get it in Beijing. I must get what is rightfully mine. After I win that race, I can walk off.

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