Maurice Greene, 2004 Athens, gold medal, 100 meters, photo by PhotoRun.net
For the next two months, Nike is sponsoring a daily homage to the World Indoors. From Monday to Friday, we feature athletes from US, UK, Europe, Africa and Asia. On Saturdays and Sundays, we feature a great moment from World Indoor Championship history, again thanks to sponsor, Nike. We hope that you like this series.
Today, we feature that amazing Maurice Greene, winning the 1999 World Indoor 60 meters in Maebashi, Japan.
Maurice Greene is one of our most successful American sprinters of all time. From 1997 to 2004, Maurice Greene picked up a boatload of medals: 4 Olympic medals and five World Championship medals.
What did I love about him? His domination of the track, his focus and his ability to pull out fine performances when the goings were tough. Maurice Greene held world records at 50 meters (5.56), 60 meters (6.39) and 100 meters (9.79). In fact, Maurice Greene was the only sprinter to hold the 60 meters and 100 meters world records at the same time.
Today we will write about Maurice Greene and his fine performances at the 1999 World Indoor Athletics Championships in Mabaeishi, Japan.
Remember, Maurice Greene was very fit. He had run his first 6.39 over 60 meters in March 1998 (his second was in March 2001). The first round was nothing to jump at, as Tim Harden lead qualifiers with 6.51, Donovan Powell of Jamaica at 6.52 and Matt Shirvington, Australia, running 6.52, an Area Record! Maurice qualified with a relaxed 6.56 meters.
What I always loved about Maurice Greene was his antics while qualifying. He could shut down halfway and move on. It was a bit of a face to his competitors, but that was part of his modus operandi. Sprinting was, and is, a battle ground. Nobody won the sprints being nice during the race or the qualifying.
Maurice Greene was, and is, a sports entertainer. In his racing, his ebullance, his jocularity would either entrance you or annoy you. In retrospect, Maurice was a poker player, and he used his self control to get him out of some amazingly tight races.
In the semi-finals, Maurice Greene was all business. He ran 6.45 and dominated the semi-finals. Tim Hardin took second in 6.47, with Jason Gardener, GB in 6.49, a PB and in third.
Remember this all business focus of Maurice Greene? Well, in the final, that was Maurice!
In the final of the 60 meters at the 1998 World Indoor Athletics, Maurice Greene inched the win over Tim Harden, 6.42 to 6.43, with Jason Gardner, GBR, taking bronze. But, here is what stands out in this race: the top four ran PBs or CR.
Maurice Greene ran 6.42 for the gold, a Championship record. Tim Harden took the silver in a PB of 6.43, and Jason Gardner, GBR, took the bronze in 6.46, with Matt Shrivington, Australia in 6.52, equalling his AR once again.
In 2001, Maurice Greene ran 6.39 for 60 meters once again. He took gold in 2000 for the 100 meters and a bronze in 2004. Maurice Greene retired in 2008, with his place assured in the athletics history books. His tattoo notes GOAT, “greatest of all time”.