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ATLANTA 1996 OLYMPICS | TODAY'S CLOSEUP : TRACK AND
FIELD

Track and Field Beginning Its Run and Will Cut to Chase With Sprints

July 26, 1996|RANDY HARVEY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ATLANTA — The Olympic track and field competition literally gets off to a slow start today. The first final is the 20-kilometer walk.

But before the day is finished, an anticipated crowd of more than 80,000 at Centennial Olympic Stadium will have seen the world's fastest sprinters.

Twice.

The first two rounds of the 100 meters for men and women are scheduled for today, with the semifinals and finals Saturday. The defending champions--Great Britain's Linford Christie and the United States' Gail Devers--are entered, but neither is favored.

Of the men expected to advance to the final, Christie has been the least impressive this season. The most impressive has been his training partner, Namibia's Frankie Fredericks.

Fredericks, a former NCAA champion in the 100 and 200 from Brigham Young, was mysterious until this week about whether he would compete in both events, saying more than once that he might conserve his strength for his challenge of world-record holder Michael Johnson in the 200.

But no one was surprised when Fredericks announced Tuesday that he also would enter the 100, considering that he has run the second- and third-fastest times ever this season with a 9.86 and a 9.87. The world record is Leroy Burrell's 9.85.

"Obviously, I'm running better 100s this year than 200s," Fredericks said. "It would be stupid for me to decide just to run the 200."

In the women's 100, Gwen Torrence, from the Atlanta suburb of Lithonia, seemed ready to add a gold medal in that event to the one she won in the 200 four years ago in Barcelona. But she still has not recovered from a thigh injury suffered last month during the U.S. trials. Devers, who lives in the San Fernando Valley, also has been injured, possibly leaving the door open for Jamaica's Merlene Ottey and Russia's Irina Privalova.

The only medalists who will be determined today other than the walkers are the men shotputters. John Godina, formerly of UCLA, won last year's world championship, but world-record holder Randy Barnes has been in better form this year.

Other preliminaries today involve Americans Johnson in the 400 and Mary Slaney in the 5,000 and Mozambique's Maria Mutola and Cuba's Ana Fidelia Quirot in the 800.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

Track And Field

Schedule of Events

Track and field begins its run at the Centennial Olympic Stadium today, with finals in the shotput and 20-kilometer walk. Michael Johnson starts his run at an unprecedented men's double with preliminaries in the 400 meters.

Today

Men's 20km race walk, final

Men's shot put, finals

*

Saturday

Women's heptathlon

Men's triple jump, finals

Women's javelin throw, finals

Women's 100, finals

Men's 100, finals

*

Sunday

Women's marathon

Women's heptathlon

Men's hammer throw, finals

Women's discus, finals

Men's high jump, final

Men's long jump, finals

Women's 5,000, final

*

Monday

Women's 10km walk, final

Women's discus, finals

Men's long jump, finals

Women's 400, finals

Men's 400, finals

Men's 110 hurdles, finals

Men's 10,000, final

*

Wednesday

Women's triple jump, finals

Men's discus, finals

Women's 400 hurdles, finals

Women's 800, finals

Women's 100 hurdles, finals

Men's decathlon, 400

*

Thursday

Men's 400 hurdles, finals

Women's 200, finals

Men's 200, finals

Men's decathlon, 1,500 (final)

*

Friday, Aug. 2

Men's 50km race walk, final

Men's pole vault, finals

Women's shot put, finals

Women's long jump, finals

Men's 3,000 steeplechase, finals

Women's 10,000, final

*

Saturday, Aug. 3

Women's high jump, finals

Men's javelin, finals

Women's 400 relay, finals

Men's 400 relay, finals

Women's 1,500, finals

Men's 5,000, finals

Women's 1,600 relay, finals

Men's 1,600 relay, finals

*

Sunday, Aug. 4

Men's marathon

Shot

Men's

5" diameter, 16 pounds

Women's

4 1/4" diameter, 8 pounds, 13 ounces

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