U.S. men won the 400-meter relay in each of the previous four track and field World Championships, but their drive for five might be stalled here.
With injuries to Dennis Mitchell and the first two alternates, Leroy Burrell and Carl Lewis, U.S. coaches are looking at either Tony McCall or Jeff Williams, the seventh- and eighth-place finishers in the 100 meters at the national championships, to team with Mike Marsh, Jon Drummond and Maurice Greene.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Marsh said. “Our best sprinter after Jeff is Gwen [Torrence].”
Another possibility is Michael Johnson, who already plans to run nine races over the next eight days in the 200, 400 and 1,600-meter relay. What’s one more?
“There’s a very outside chance we might do that,” U.S. Coach Harry Groves said. “That would be asking the guy to do a heck of a lot.”
Told that Johnson said Saturday he would do it if asked, Groves said, “That says a lot for him, doesn’t it?”
Lewis, who has a hamstring injury, eliminated himself from consideration for the relay but said he still hopes to compete in the long jump.
“I feel better today than yesterday,” he said. “There’s still a chance.”
There were only two finals on the opening day of competition at Ullevi Stadium. Portugal’s Manuela Machado won the women’s marathon in 2 hours 25 minutes 39 seconds, a personal best. However, officials learned afterward that the course was 400 meters short, so the time will not count. Germany’s Astrid Kumbernuss won the women’s shotput at 69 feet 7 1/2 inches. For the first time, two U.S. women advanced to the shotput final, Ramona Pagel finishing seventh and Connie Price-Smith ninth.
Regina Jacobs, indoor world champion at 1,500 meters, withdrew from the 1,500 because of a leg injury and will be replaced by 38-year-old Ruth Wysocki.