• London Olympics 2012

Greene unfazed by American jibes

ESPN staff
May 30, 2012

British hurdler Dai Greene has escalated his growing feud with his American rivals ahead of a showdown at London 2012.

Greene, the reigning world champion in the 400 metre hurdles, has become embroiled in something of a war of words with his primary American rivals for gold at the forthcoming Olympic Games - Bershawn Jackson and Angelo Taylor.

Jackson kicked off the controversy by claiming Greene would be lucky to finish on the podium this summer, while Greene has never hidden his contempt for US 400m runner LaShawn Merritt, who was banned for 21 months after failing three drugs tests in the winter of 2010.

Greene could come up against Merritt in the 4x400m relay, and insists he will give him short shrift.

"I don't find any excuses for him," Greene told the Guardian. "I've never spoken to him before in my life. All I know is that I'll probably see him around the competition, but I'm not concerned about anything he has to say. He got banned, and it seems to me that the ban was pretty soft.

"It's just disappointing that if I am running the relay, I will have to run against somebody who has taken drugs in the past. And I know that he has. He purposely did it."

Greene is disappointed that a recent Court of Arbitration for Sport decision forced the British Olympic Association to align its drugs policy with the World Anti-Doping Agency.

"The truth is that Britain has higher standards on drug-testing than anybody," Greene said. "The rest of the world should be in line with us.

"We shouldn't lower our standards to accommodate drugs cheats at the Olympics. Athletes should speak out if they feel strongly about this. I'm fortunate that I'm in a position where I can."

The decision means Dwain Chambers could compete at the Olympics this summer. Greene is willing to show the sprinter more forgiveness than Merritt, in part because he has shown regret for his indiscretions.

"I've spoken to Dwain and he's such a nice guy, a genuine guy. I've nothing but praise for the way he is conducting himself. He has been hung out to dry by a lot of organisers. I suppose that's the way it should be, but it's not for many others," Greene noted.

"Dwain was very young when he did it, and he has gone a long way to help combat drugs cheats since then. And yet he has come off much worse."

Greene does not want to be distracted by such issues, however, not with a gold medal to be won. Taylor attempted to needle the Welshman by claiming his winning time in Daegu last year (48.26) would not even get him on the podium later this year, but Greene insists that is fine - he will just up his game.

"I want to try to run about 47.5 at the Olympics," Greene said. "I felt I could have gone under 48 last year, but there were a few chinks [including a hip injury] in a performance that I could have worked out.

"Who knows how fast I could have gone if I hadn't had that problem?"

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