Sprinter Montgomery hires new coach
By Elliott Almond Mercury News World-record holder Tim Montgomery has taken the unusual step of
switching coaches six weeks before the U.S. Olympic track and field trials.
The 100-meters record holder, Montgomery has reunited with college
coach Steve Riddick of Norfolk, Va., a 1976 Olympic gold medalist. He left
Dan Pfaff, who continues to coach Montgomery’s girlfriend, Marion Jones, in
``He still has another Games in him,'' Riddick said Thursday,
referring to Montgomery’s appearances in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
The change comes at a time Montgomery is facing increasing pressure
over his connections to Balco Laboratories, the Burlingame nutrition company
at the center of a scandal involving performance-enhancing drugs. A U.S.
Anti-Doping Agency lawyer met with Montgomery’s attorney Wednesday to
discuss evidence implicating the sprinter.
Cristina Arguedas, who represents Montgomery, said none of the
documents she has seen are compelling enough to keep the sprinter from
competing in this summer’s Olympics in Athens. Officials from the
anti-doping agency, a quasi-independent organization that handles Olympic
drug testing in the United States, declined to comment.
Riddick said he has discussed only technique with Montgomery as the
North Carolina sprinter tries to regain the form that led to the world
record of 9.78 seconds in September of 2002.
Some have discounted Montgomery's chances of making the 2004 team in
the 100 meters because of recent lackluster results. He ran 10.24 seconds in
Mexico City a week ago, but Montgomery has run the second-best legal time
this season – 10.08 in April in Martinique. Only rival Maurice Greene has
run faster. Greene also ran the second-fastest 100 in any conditions Monday
with a wind-aided 9.78 seconds at Stanford.
``He is a couple weeks away from running 9.90,'' Riddick said of
Montgomery. ``He is all over the track. We’re not trying to make him run
9.6. We’re trying to help him understand what is wrong with his technique.’’
The U.S. Olympic trials begin July 9 in Sacramento.