American Oliver chases world record in Monaco

Updated: July 21, 2010, 11:35 AM ET
Associated Press

MONACO -- American David Oliver will take another shot at the world record at the Monaco Diamond League meeting.

Oliver shaved 0.01 second off the American record last week at the Paris Diamond League meet where he clocked 12.89, just 0.02 short of Dayron Robles' world record.

The powerfully built Oliver posted the fastest time this year in Paris, just two weeks after equaling Dominique Arnold's previous American record at the Prefontaine Classic.

Only two men have run faster than Oliver in the event, Robles (12.87) and Liu Xiang (12.88).

Oliver, whose website states that his personal goal is to one day set a time of 12.85, will largely run against the clock in Monaco after Robles withdrew because of leg pains.

Robles also pulled out of the Paris meet with the same problem and the two men are not expected to go head-to-head before the London meet on Aug. 14.

"It's always disappointing when a competitor like Dayron is not there," Oliver said at a news conference on Thursday. "But it doesn't make such a difference. I'll still have to go out and handle my 10 hurdles."

Oliver also joked about the time of 12.85 he mentioned on his website, saying he set this goal about three years ago.

"Now that I'm getting closer to the world record, I should maybe change it to 12.70 or something like this," he said.

Tyson Gay will also be missing his expected biggest rival in the men's 200 after fellow American Walter Dix withdrew from the meet. Organizers said Dix did not agree to the financial terms he was offered.

Gay had been hoping to avenge his loss to Dix at the Prefontaine Classic. Gay, who was sidelined with a hamstring injury this season, returned with a win over Asafa Powell in the 100 at Gateshead this month.

Powell and Usain Bolt, the Olympic and world champion in both the 100 and 200, are both skipping the meet.

"I feel pretty good, my body feels good, I'm healthy," Gay said. "I do want to run fast. I'm about 90%, but I'm healthy."

Gay added he is convinced he still can beat Bolt. Both sprinters are expected to meet on Aug. 6 in Stockholm along with Powell for a much-anticipated showdown.

Gay swept the 100 and 200 at the 2007 world championships and owns the American record in the 100.

In the women's competition, Carmelita Jeter of the United States and Veronica Campbell-Brown of Jamaica will headline the 100 meters.

Campbell-Brown posted the best time in the world this year in 10.78 seconds at the Prefontaine.

"I'm in a very good shape this year and I'm looking forward to execute well," she said. "I've been working on improving the first phase of my races, that was my weakest phase."

Oliver, the Olympic bronze medalist in Beijing, missed much of last season with a left calf injury but returned to take bronze in the 60-meter hurdles at the world indoor championships in Doha.

Oliver said he is not obsessed with breaking the world record and just hopes he will run a better race than in Paris, where he hit several hurdles on his way to victory.

"I don't really worry about the world record. If it happens, it happens, if not, that's fine too," he said. "I just want to win. If you don't win, you can't be great. I want to be great."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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