Cathy Freeman has an inkling as to what Ana Guevara will feel tonight when the two line up for the most anticipated race of the inaugural Banamex Grand Prix.
Freeman has already experienced it herself.
“I know when I came into the Olympic Stadium I was overwhelmed,” said Freeman, who won Olympic gold in the 400 meters in her native Australia on Sept. 25, 2000. “And as I get older, I’m 30 now, I’m starting to appreciate the Olympic movement and all it stands for.”
That Freeman and Guevara, who is as revered in her homeland as Freeman is in hers, are competing in Mexico at the atypical distance of 300 meters only adds to the intrigue.
Freeman, who took a year off from competition after winning gold and has not competed in an international solo race since the Sydney Games, admits that she is not fit enough to face Guevara, 26, this early in the season in the 400.
Freeman’s best time in the 400 this year is 51.66 seconds, which won the Australian national title, and her all-time best in the 300 is 36.43.
Guevara is the No. 1-ranked woman in the world in the 400, having won all 11 of the races in which she competed last year and finishing in less than 50 seconds seven times, with a best of 49.16.
“But we have to remember,” said Guevara, who also holds the Mexican female record for the 300 at 35.92, “there are six other runners too.”
And it’s not just Freeman versus Guevara in the Mexican capital.
Other notables scheduled to compete: men’s world-record holder Tim Montgomery (100 meters), Olympic gold medalists Noah Ngeny of Kenya (1,500), Anier Garcia of Cuba (110 hurdles) and Nouria Merah-Benida of Algeria (women’s 1,500).