André Lowe, Senior Staff Reporter
American male sprinters have been playing catch-up to their Jamaican rivals in recent years. And as far as United States (US) great Maurice Greene is concerned, the current crop of US sprinters have a long way to go before reclaiming the sprint crown.
"It's going to take a couple of years to get back to really compete with Jamaica," said Greene during an interview with The Gleaner. "It's going to take a lot of work and a lot of years, but more importantly, it's going to take a lot of athletes who really want to work and get better."
Eight Jamaican men ducked under the 10-second barrier in the 100m last season, compared to six Americans, while five Jamaican men ran below 20 seconds in the 200m, with only one American doing likewise.
Additionally, the five fastest times recorded in the 100m in 2012 were posted by Jamaicans, who also accounted for nine of the top 10 times registered in the 200m over the period.
Jamaica also swept the medals in the 200m at the London Olympic Games and won the top two medals in the 100m. In fact, of the 36 medals on offer in the men's 100m, 200m and 4x100m relays at global meets since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, Jamaica won 15 compared to the eight won by Americans.
"It's hard for American sprinting now, and I say it all the time that America has been lucky to always have the success that we have had and to always have a group of young athletes coming up.
"Now the time has changed where this new era of athletes is not the same," said Greene, a former 100m world record holder, Olympic 100m champion and World Championships 100m and 200m champion.
"Especially in America, the athletes expect it to come a lot easier than it is, and that's wrong. They never see all the hard work that we put into it, they just saw us performing and people loving us and I think that's what's wrong with US sprinting today," added Greene, who reigned during one of the most dominant spells for US sprinters.
Now a popular television pundit and coach at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Greene weighed in further on the situation.
"It's a big turnaround, and it used to be the other way around, but it's going to take a few years and a lot of work ... before the US can really compete with Jamaica again," Greene added.
Greene won nine medals - including seven gold - for the United States at the Olympics and World Championships.