I think we all saw it coming but it’s always hard to say goodbye to a champion. He’s struggled with injuries and inconsistent performances over the past 5 years but there’s no questioning the guy enters the track pantheons as one of the greatest of all time. He was not only a great athlete who was always at his best under pressure (hear that Safa?) but he was a great spokesman and entertainer for the sport. I’ll never forget being 20 feet away from his fire extinguisher hijinks at the Home Depot center after he won the 100m. He’ll be missed. Here’s an article about his retirement from the Canadian Press:
Former Olympic and world champion sprinter Greene announces retirement
BEIJING – Maurice Greene sprang a little surprise on Monday – he’s retiring.
The former Olympic and world champion cited nagging injuries for his decision, making the announcement halfway around the globe and not long after the Super Bowl had ended in Glendale, Ariz.
Travelling in China inspecting Olympic facilities with a group of contenders for Olympic gold, the 33-year-old Greene said injuries forced him to retire. Coaching and business interests in the U.S. will now be his focus.
It’s a little sad for me but it’s happy at the same time because I’ve had a great career. I’ve done a lot of great things, Greene said in an interview with The Associated Press. For the last couple of years, I’ve had nagging injuries that have stopped my training. So I think it’s better to just call it quits.
Greene, a native of Kansas, was the dominant sprinter of the late 1990s and into the new century. He set a world record for the 100 metres in 1999 and won the same sprint at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
He also won world championship 100 titles in 1997, 1999 and 2001. At Seville, Spain, in ’99, he also won the 200 and 400-metre relay golds in a rare triple.
The following year, he won the 100 and anchored the victorious men’s 4×100 relay team at the Sydney Olympics, but did not run in the 200.
His world record of 9.79 seconds stood from 1999 until 2002, when Tim Montgomery ran a 9.78 – although that time was erased when Montgomery was banned for allegedly using performance-enhancing substances.
Asafa Powell of Jamaica set the record of 9.77 in 2005.
Greene still holds the indoor 60-metre world record at 6.39 seconds.
He acknowledged concerns among track and field athletes over the Chinese capital’s poor air quality, but said that shouldn’t be a barrier to victory at the Olympics.
Every athlete who is coming here is going to be going for a gold medal. And they can’t let anything get in their way, Greene said.
Every athlete is going to have to deal with air pollution, he said. You’ve got to bust the door down and take what you want.
Like many sprinters, Greene could be boastful like a heavyweight boxer. At the start of a race he’d attempt to intimidate opponents by flexing his muscles, staring them down or strutting impatiently up and down the running lanes hoping to distract rivals.
I like to say I’m the GOAT, he said. The greatest of all time – in my time.