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|August 30, 2000||
Aussies and Americans compete for track space
The track and field teams of Australia and the United States, the two biggest at the Olympics, are sharing the same facilities for their preparations, but at this stage it's the locals who have the most track space.
About 100 Australians are already going through their paces at Nudgee College, north of Brisbane, but at the moment only 13 from the powerful U.S. team are with them ahead of the September 15 to October 1 Games.
The early-bird Americans moved up to Brisbane from their initial base on the Gold Coast on Tuesday but most of the sport's dominant team will not arrive for at least another week.
Many will remain in Europe, taking part in high profile meetings in Italy and Germany over the next few days, while others will continue to train at home.
U.S. head coach John Chaplin expects around 50 to arrive by September 7 but said he did not yet know whether Maurice Greene and Marion Jones would be coming to Brisbane or go directly to Sydney.
The two sprint world champions are the biggest draw in the team but will remain in Europe and will probably race in Rieti in Italy and Berlin.
Greene produced the fastest 100 metres of the season in Brussels on Friday, a wind-assisted 9.88, but was sluggish and well beaten by Briton Dwain Chambers at a wintry Gateshead on Sunday.
Michael Johnson, world record holder and Olympic champion over 200 and 400 metres, is expected to join the training camp around September 12 but will be staying in private accommodation.
Australian favourite Cathy Freeman will also be staying at a secret location as she continues her preparations for an assault on the 400 metres crown.
An impressive win in the 200 metres in Gateshead has fired local hopes that she might double-up in Sydney but head coach Chris Wardlaw said the decision would not be made until shortly before the 200 metres begins.
Freeman wore an all-in-one hooded bodysuit in the rain of Gateshead and while she might not need it for Queensland, she might be advised to at least keep her tracksuit handy.
The expected warm weather has been on hold for a couple of days with clouds and cool winds forcing athletes to wrap up but forecasters expect a return to sunshine over the next three weeks.
The athletes of both countries appear happy to be training together and will race on a formal basis on September 10 and 17 in organised meets at the Gold Coast's Runaway Bay sports centre run by former Australian distance star Ron Clarke.
Mail Sports Editor
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