Carl Lewis and Florence Griffith-Joyner have some unfinished business at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, despite the record-shattering world marks they already achieved at the meet.
Griffith-Joyner and Lewis each want the chance to win four gold medals at the Seoul Olympics. But they both must qualify in the 200-meter dash later this week to earn that opportunity.Lewis, who won four gold medals at the 1984 Games, has earned the chance to defend his titles in the 100 meters and long jump. He is likely to repeat as the anchor leg of the 400-meter relay team after taking the 100 in 9.78 seconds, a wind-aided mark that was the fastest ever recorded.
The men's 200-meter semifinals and finals are Wednesday night, with Lewis the fastest qualifier so far. He won preliminary heats in 20.32 seconds and 20.03, easing up at the end of both races to save strength for the long jump finals he won later Monday night.
Lewis said he will not start thinking about defending four Olympic gold medals until he qualifies in the 200 meters, despite his preliminary times.
"(My chances are) lukewarm because the 200 is going to be a tough event. Quite a few people looked good in the heats," he said.
Wednesday's other finals include the pole vault, women's 400 meter hurdles and men's 400 meters, where Steve Lewis will try to approach the world record of 43.86 seconds set by Lee Evans in the 1968 Olympics. Lewis, a UCLA freshman, set a world junior record of 44.11 seconds in the semifinals.
"I could never imagine running that fast. Now I've run almost that fast and I believe it's a reality. Come Wednesday night, it will be even more of a reality. Having a rest day is real incentive to try and go under 44," he said.
Griffith-Joyner will be a favorite when the women's 200-meter competition begins Friday. She won the 100-meter trials and set a world record of 10.49 seconds in a quarterfinal heat, smashing the previous mark of 10.76 seconds. Her target in the 200 meters will be the world record of 21.71 seconds shared by East Germans Heike Drechsler and Marita Koch.
"I plan to give the 200 my best performance ever," she said. "I plan to run the hardest curve I've ever run in my life. If I do what I'm supposed to do, the record will fall."
Gwen Torrance, another 200-meter entrant, believes Griffith Joyner can smash the world record. "She's ready to run. The 200 is more her event than the 100," Torrance said.