Hart: Jeremy & Me

Jeremy Wariner back together with coach Clyde Hart
By Dick Patrick,

After a one-year breakup, Jeremy Wariner, the runner formerly ranked No.1 in the world in the 400 meters, has reunited with coach Clyde Hart.

They began working together two weeks ago after Wariner, second at the Beijing Games to LaShawn Merritt, approached Hart. Hart, the former Baylor coach, had trained Wariner since 2002.

“It was out of the blue,” Hart said. “I was impressed the way he admitted a mistake and wanted help. I probably wouldn’t have consented to come back if I had been approached any other way than the way he did. I felt a real sincerity he wanted to regain what he was, the No.1 400-meter runner in the world, which he was four years with me.”

Under Hart, Wariner won the 2004 Olympic title plus world championships in 2005 and 2007. He improved every year, running his personal-best 43.45 seconds in 2007. Remaining in Waco, Texas, and training under Baylor assistant Michael Ford last year, Wariner had a best of 43.82.

To regain, the No.1 spot, Wariner will have to unseat Merritt, who has shown early season signs of being better than ever. Merritt has a 400 best of 43.75, set last year in the Olympic final.

“My big goal is to get back on top,” Wariner said. “I know it’s going to take a little bit of time. I can’t rush it. I know with hard work and focus I’ll be able to do it. LaShawn is a great athlete and is going to make it difficult for me.”

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Merritt is faster at 200 than Wariner, 19.96 to 20.20. “It’s a case of we can’t get Merrittitis,” Hart said. "Merritt can outrun him to a certain point on the track. But we’re not talking 200 or 300. We’re talking about the 400. It’s a whole different ball game.

“Today’s deal in the 200 is you’ve got more powerful kids. It’s an explosive event. Jeremy’s 6-foot-2, 145 pounds. He’s not going to have that strength and explosiveness that some of those bigger kids have. But those same kids are not going to have his relaxation and fluid running style in the latter part of the race, either. You capitalize on your strengths and don’t worry about their strengths.”

Hart has gotten Wariner in shape before. Wariner decided on a switch after talking to his advisor, two-time Olympic 400 champ Michael Johnson, who was also coached by Hart. Wariner also discussed it with his family and close friends.

“Michael brought it to my attention that I didn’t seem to be getting what I needed at workouts,” Wariner said. "I was strong and had foot speed but there were a few things that Coach Hart could give me that Coach Ford hadn’t understood yet.

“A lot of it had to do with what workouts work and what workouts don’t, and what I need when I need it at certain times of the year. Coach Hart is the one who can give that to me being that he’s experienced and has been there before.”

Hart accepted after talking to his wife, Maxine.

“To be honest, if you asked me six months ago if I’d be Jeremy’s coach again, I’d have said no,” Hart said. “But he did it with an apology. He said he was sorry and he made a mistake. He was immature and full of himself. We all get that way at times.”

Hart, an emeritus coach at Baylor who handles quarter-milers, has talked to Ford since the switch.Ford will oversee workouts if Hart can’t attend them. The idea, Wariner said, is for Ford to gain experience so he can take over if Hart, 75, retires.

Wariner and Merritt are scheduled to compete at the Reebok Grand Prix May 30 in New York, with Wariner running the 200 and Merritt in the 400. They won’t meet in the 400 at the USA Championships in June in Eugene, either. Wariner will run the 200; he doesn’t have to qualify in the 400 because he’s defending world champ.

When asked when they might meet, Wariner said, “I have no idea. It may be in Europe. It may not be until the world championships (in August in Berlin). When it comes time to race each other, it’s going to be a great race.”

Ain’t this some shit. Merrit has worked harder, worked smarter, and performed at his best when it counted the most, yet all we ever hear about is Wariner. The Great White Hope…lol

Hope? He isn’t just hoping- he’s already done it!
He’s just been a greedy prick and it blew up in his face.