Thursday, Jul. 24, 2008

14. Jeremy Wariner

United States
Age: 24

White sprinter. It's a flat out contradiction in terms in recent Olympics, and one of the most intriguing track storylines of the Beijing games: Wariner, two-time world champion and reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 400m, seems a bit vulnerable. Since breaking with long-time coach Clyde Hart earlier this year, Wariner has lost twice to fellow American LaShawn Merritt, on June 1 in Berlin and at the Olympic trials in early July. Prior to that slump, Wariner had lost only four times in 42 pro races. Wariner dismisses the talk that the coaching change has hurt him; he backed it up by clocking the year's best 400m time on July 18. "I'm still the favorite," he says. "When it comes to the Olympic Games, I've been there before and I know what it takes to win it."