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Another title for Linford: Coach Christie

July 30, 1997

ATHENS, Greece (AP) _ Linford Christie is back at the world championships. Not for one last chance at a title in the 100 meters at age 37, but as a coach.

As a former Olympic and world champion, Christie reveled in leaving his rivals behind. Now he’s having fun pushing other athletes to finish first.

If British sprinter Darren Campbell and 400-meter runner Jamie Baulch and Jamaican speedster Juliet Cuthbert do well at the championships, Christie will be almost as delighted as if he’d run himself.

``It gives me the same sort of adrenaline as when I am competing,″ said Christie, who has retired from international competition and will quit for good after the season. ``When I see people like Jamie and Darren doing things right it gives me a good feeling.″

Christie, who contends the British media don’t give him enough respect, also will be working in Athens as a television analyst for the British Broadcasting Corp.

The 1992 Olympic and 1993 world champion is happy he’s not on the starting blocks this time.

``I haven’t been in this situation before but I’ve no regrets,″ he said. ``I’m enjoying the fact that there’s no pressure on me.″

But what makes Christie so different from other coaches?

``I’ve got a lot of experience,″ he said. ``The difference between me and many young athletes is that my eyes are always open.

``A lot of young athletes are just happy to warm up, do their session and go home. I know what Michael Johnson does, how Carl Lewis trains. I have studied these people because they are the people I am competing against.″

Christie is particularly upbeat about Baulch, who won the silver medal at the world indoor championships in Paris in March and gained a 400-meter place in Athens at the expense of Olympic runner-up Roger Black.

``Jamie’s a worker,″ Christie said. ``My biggest problem is telling him to slow down. He doesn’t know when to take it easy.″

Although he doesn’t directly coach Ian Mackie, the 22-year-old Scottish sprinter who is his successor as the top European 100-meter challenger, Christie has had a big effect on him.

Mackie was invited by Christie to join some of the big stars such as Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks and British hurdler Colin Jackson for warm-weather practice in Australia.

``The training wasn’t all that different from what I’d done with my full-time coach John McDonald,″ Mackie said. ``But to be able to do it alongside such great athletes with the sun on my back was unbelievable.

``Just to train and run alongside Linford was so helpful,″ said Mackie, the first British runner in 10 years to beat Christie over 100 meters. ``He was able to pass on little tips along the way and introduce all the good habits he had picked up over the years.″

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