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U.S. Track Trials Notebook

July 22, 2000

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) _ Former sprinting great John Carlos is lamenting the deterioration in the relationships between today’s U.S. sprinters.

With the sniping between Maurice Greene and Michael Johnson on his mind, Carlos said there never was that kind of talk among sprinters when he was running.

``We didn’t do trash talking in my day,″ Carlos said. ``We applied psychology to one another. Trash talking from certain individuals is kind of vindictive. It’s a vendetta against you. Vendetta means if I win, then you dislike me, you don’t want to talk to me, you don’t want to be around me, you’re going to say bad things about me.″

Carlos, a former 200-meter world record holder and 1968 Olympic bronze medalist remembered for raising his fist during the national anthem with gold medalist Tommie Smith in Mexico City, said the verbal jousting then was good-natured.

``In my day, when we did this, it was like `Who’s taking second today?′ or `Did you bring your asbestos suit because some people are going to get burned up out here today?‴ Carlos said. ``Regardless of who won the race, there was a friendship, there was a love, there was a fellowship.

``We’d be saying, `What time is the card game tonight? Are we going to the party tonight? Are we going shopping tonight?′ Then come tomorrow at the race, we’d high-five and love each other all the way until they called us to the blocks. We’d know we were giving it our best shot, but `I’ll love you when it’s over just as much as I loved you before we ran.′

``That’s something they don’t have today. In the ’60s, we ran as a unit, as a team, as a machine. I think people now are going as individuals to the Games, and that’s the wrong attitude to have.″


AMUSED ATO: Ato Boldon, attending the U.S. Olympic track and field trials, is getting a kick out of the verbal feud between Maurice Greene and Michael Johnson, since he presumably will face both of them in Sydney.

``Let these two guys kill each other. It’s that much better for me,″ said Boldon, the 100 and 200 bronze medalist for Trinidad & Tobago in the 1996 Olympics.

Boldon said he believes Greene, his teammate for the HSI spring club, was able to lure Johnson into the verbal gamesmanship.

``I understand Maurice,″ Boldon said. ``He thinks `If it’s me and Flash Gordon racing, I’m going to come off the turn and break him down.′ In this case, Flash Gordon is Michael Johnson.″

Whoever loses Sunday’s showdown will feel the heat.

``I’ve seen Maurice lose. It is not pretty,″ Boldon said. ``And Michael feels there are no heirs to his throne. Him losing would be severe.″


POWELL COMEBACK?: World record holder Mike Powell watched the long jump competition in Sacramento and wished he’d gone through with his comeback attempt.

In fact, he’s tentatively planning to return to competition for next year’s world championships in Edmonton.

``It was rough watching that,″ Powell said after he saw only one U.S. jumper go farther than 27 feet in the finals. ``It was one of those situations where experience could have taken me a long way.″

Powell, 36, said he began training in late April.

``I was out there for about six days with the intention of coming if during the way I kept hitting certain criteria,″ he said, ``but then my body was having a harder and harder time recovering from the workouts and I knew I was rushing it too late. I just didn’t want to come out here and embarrass myself.

``If I’d started in March, even, I would have definitely been out here.″

Powell won a silver medal, behind Carl Lewis’ gold, in 1992 in Barcelona. He was the favorite four years ago in Atlanta, but his hopes were ruined by a groin injury.


SPEEDING JETT: Kisha Jett has a name that reflects speed, and she also has the bloodlines.

Jett, who has qualified for Sunday’s 200-meter final, is the sister of Oakland Raiders wide receiver James Jett, who won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 as part of the men’s 400-meter relay team.

He was in Sacramento earlier in the trials to give his little sister some advice.

``The veterans around here know him and I respect them for having the respect for him that they do,″ Kisha said. ``Seeing him and how they respect him, it lets me know I have to do the same things he did to get that same respect.″


RECORD CROWDS: With a crowd of 23,361 on Saturday, Sacramento became the best-attended U.S. Olympic track and field trials ever.

With the biggest day yet to come, 163,032 had watched the seven days of competition, an average daily crowd of 23,290.

The previous record of 151,940 attended the 1996 trials in Atlanta, site of that year’s Olympics, where the average was 18.940. The No. 3 crowd was 143,826 at Los Angeles in 1984. That also was held at an Olympic site.

In Atlanta and Los Angeles, the crowds seemed small because of the huge stadiums.

At Hornet Stadium on the Sacramento State campus, the stands are filled to capacity, adding to the loud and enthusiastic atmosphere that has been praised by athletes throughout the competition.

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