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Olympic champ Wariner lands a new coach

30 January 2008

Olympic and world 400-meter champion Jeremy Wariner will be coached by Michael Ford after parting company with his long-time trainer Clyde Hart, Ford said on Wednesday.

Hart said on Tuesday that he and Wariner had parted ways because of a contract dispute.

"We haven't worked out any details yet but I have been working with him the past couple of weeks," Ford told Reuters by telephone from his office in Waco, Texas.

Ford, who worked with Wariner at Baylor University, said the athlete would continue to train in Waco at the Baylor track. "I don't think anything is going to change much," said Ford, an assistant coach under Hart at Baylor for the past eight years. "I learned a lot under coach Hart, and I think that's probably a reason Jeremy asked me to work with him."

Wariner started training again with Darold Williamson, his partner on the gold medal winning 4 x 400 meter relay team at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The two were teammates at Baylor and were 2004 NCAA champions in the relay. Wariner worked out alone last season, and wanted to train again with Williamson as they prepare for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

During the fall, Wariner was coached by Hart and Williamson was coached by Ford. "They wanted to go back to the way they trained for the 2004 Olympics," Deon Minor, Wariner's representative, said today by phone. "And Jeremy wanted to work with Clyde, but when that fell through, it made sense for him to work with Michael. That's the best choice, not moving Jeremy away from Waco."

Ford said Wariner's ambitions remained the same. "The ultimate goal is to try to win the gold medal [at the Beijing Olympics] and do well," he said. "I don't think his goals have changed because he has a new coach. We are going to shoot for the same things that he and coach Hart would have been doing."

Wariner, who will make a promotional trip to Beijing next week, will begin his Olympic campaign with two races in Australia, Ford said.

He will run a 200 meters in Sydney on Feb. 16 and a 400 in Melbourne on Feb. 21.

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