Greene records fastest time of the year

Overcoming a false start and a smattering of boos, Maurice Greene fulfilled his promise -- he ran fast.

Greene, competing in only one round of the 100 metres at the U.S. outdoor track and field championships in protest of the national governing body's rule that he must run in order to be eligible for the world championships this summer in Edmonton, was timed in 9.90 seconds, the fastest in the world this year.

The time tied the meet record set by former world record-holder Leroy Burrell in 1990, and matched by Greene in 1997.

After Greene's scintillating performance, most of the fans cheered him loudly, although there still were some boos. The spectators had booed him during the introductions. After that, the unnerved Greene false-started.

"I talked to a lot of people in Eugene who say they stand behind me 100 per cent and understand what's going on," Greene said, adding that he heard the booing.

On the restart, he was relatively slow out of the blocks, but quickly accelerated and burst down the centre of the track in his usual aggressive style.

That would be the only time the fans would see him on the track.

Greene originally was told by the world governing body, the International Amateur Athletic Federation, that he would have a free pass into the worlds as defending champion in the 100 and 200. Then, USA Track & Field reversed the IAAF's decision.

Greene said that was unfair and a breach of contract with the IAAF. He said he had earned the bye and shouldn't have to run in the national championships.

Forced to appear at least once, the Olympic gold medallist and world record-holder said he would make his one race memorable.

He did.

"I'll give them a good race Thursday, the best race I can," Greene said before the race.

"I haven't run as fast as I would like this year. My fastest is 9.91. I should consistently be running in the 9.80s."

Greene called this race special.

"My last race here wasn't too pleasant," he said, referring to last month's Prefontaine Classic when he finished third. "I was determined to come out and do something special."

He said his time could have been faster, but he slowed near the finish and looked at the crowd.

By Bert Rosenthal