The world's fastest woman and formerly fastest man are approaching today's Prefontaine Classic Grand Prix in decidedly different moods.
Gwen Torrence, who hopes to win Olympic gold medals in the 100 and 200 meters in her hometown of Atlanta, is cautious. Carl Lewis, a seven-time Olympic gold medalist written off by many before this season as over the hill, has found his confidence reborn after a wind-aided 9.94-second clocking in the 100 last week in Atlanta.As the list of athletes pulling out of the competition because of minor ailments grew, Torrence, the 1992 Olympic gold medalist at 200 meters and defending world champion in the 100, said her biggest goal is to finish Sunday's 100 without injury.
"I hope to have a good race," she said. "I hope to get a better start than I did last week. And the main thing is to come out healthy."
Even though she was dissatisfied with the start, Torrence's time of 10.85 last week at the Atlanta Grand Prix is the fastest in the world this year.
"Last week I didn't know where I was in terms of 100," she said. "But the 10.85 shows me I'm pretty much ready."
With less than a month before the trials and just two months before the Olympic Games, athletes are trying to work hard enough and compete often enough to become competitive while avoiding injuries that could ruin everything.
Such concerns have caused Michael Johnson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Gail Devers, Kenny Harrison and Greg Foster to withdraw from the Prefontaine meet.
Lewis, who ran a sub-10-second 100 for the first time in five years while finishing second to Dennis Mitchell in last week's Atlanta Grand Prix, had been scheduled to run against Johnson in the 200 Sunday. But Johnson pulled out with a sore right hamstring.