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Richards going for four golds in Beijing

20 March 2007

Sanya Richards (Image of Sport) Sanya Richards (Image of Sport)
World Championships silver medallist Sanya Richards believes she has a great chance of winning four gold medals at either the upcoming IAAF World Championships in Osaka, Japan, or the Beijing Olympic Games in Japan in 2008.

Her preparation this year will be vital as she hopes to follow in the footsteps of the legendaries Fanny Blankers-Koen, Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis, all of whom achieved four victories at a single Olympic Games.

Richards, through the USA Track & Field (USATF) governing body, requested a change in the timetable from the sport governing body the IAAF, which would allow her to attempt the target at the world championships this summer.

“This year I am going to run some 100 metres races and hopefully run the 4 x 100 and 4 x 400 in Osaka,” she was quoted as saying in the TimesOnline.

“If the 200 metres [timetable request] does not work out, I would love to have the opportunity to run both relays. If the 200 works out, I will have the opportunity to run in four events.”

The Jamaican-born sprinter, who now races in the United States colours, was outstanding last season - a commanding year which saw her capturing the IAAF World Athlete-of-the-Year award after running unbeaten in the 400m and she is hoping to carry that form over into the forthcoming campaign.

Her schedule change request, however, for Osaka may not materialised as it is reported that the application came too late and media outlets and advance ticket sales have already scheduled their time using original timetable. However, her wish could likely to be granted for the Olympics.

“We have changed programmes in the past, but it was for Olympic champions, world champions or world record holders,” said Pierre Weiss, the IAAF secretary.

“All the athletes have already started their preparations according to the existing schedule.”

Meanwhile, her coach Clyde Hart, who also coached Michael Johnson, when he won the 200m and 400m double at the Olympics in 1996, is hoping the scheduled can be change to give athletes the option.

“The IOC does not get it that the 200/400 should be separated, that to do the overlap makes no sense,” Hart said. “It has been proven by (Marie-Jos?) P?rec and by Michael. The Olympic champion should be the best in that event, not because somebody else could not run it."

“They do not do that to the 100-metre kids — they do not pull the 200 into the middle of the 100. They do not throw a 1,500 into the middle of the 800. The Olympic Games are a big enough schedule that the 200 and 400 can be separated.”

Should the timetable changed it could also tempt another 400m speciallist, Jeremy Wariner, who also trains with Hart, to try his luck at both the 200/400 double too. But this would only be attempted in Beijing.

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