Ethiopian aims to become first to win at three Olympics

ATHENS, Greece -- The final 10,000-meter race of Haile Gebrselassie's storied career could be over before it even begins.

A nagging Achilles tendon injury might force the Ethiopian star
to miss the Athens Games, his manager, Jos Hermens, told The
Associated Press on Monday.

"It's not looking all that fantastic," Hermens said.

One of the greatest distance runners of all time, Gebrselassie,
31, is the two-time defending Olympic gold medalist in the grueling
10,000. He is seeking to become the first individual athlete to win
the same running event at three Olympics.

"He may have to miss the games, he's been carrying the injury
for three-four weeks now," Hermens said.

Gebrselassie recently went to see a German specialist,
Hans-Wilhelm Mueller-Wohlfahrt.

"It's gotten a little better, but it may not be enough,"
Hermens said. ``He's looked good in training but it's the left
Achilles' tendon, it's hard to predict."

"It's not only up to Haile, it also depends on what the
Ethiopian federation has to say," Hermens said.

The Ethiopian team was slated to arrive in Athens on Wednesday.

Gebrselassie, the subject of the 1999 Disney documentary
"Endurance,'' has been eclipsed this season by his young
compatriot Kenenisa Bekele, who has taken both of his training
partner's world records, in the 5,000 and 10,000.

The 10,000 final is Friday. It was to be the last of
Gebrselassie's career before he focuses full-time on the marathon.

"We have a bit of time," Hermens said, "but not too much."

French heptathlete withdraws, long jump in jeopardy, too
French star Eunice Barber, holder of the
1999 world heptathlon title, won't take part in the event in
Athens, and hasn't decided if she'll be in the long jump.

"In my head I'm 150 percent, even 200 percent, but my body is
still slowing me down a little, and I have to respect it," Barber
told reporters in Paris.

Barber has been suffering from a torn muscle in her right leg
for weeks.

"I trained this morning, but there are still some things that
ought to happen and that aren't happening yet," she said.

Barber won the long jump at last year's World Championship in
Paris and earned the silver medal in the heptathlon.

She was fifth in the 1996 Atlanta Games heptathlon and dropped
out of the two-day event four years later in Sydney.

Ethiopia drops Adere from Olympic team
Ethiopia's 10,000-meter world champion Berhane Adere was dropped from the Olympic squad because of a
lingering injury.

The Ethiopian Federation confirmed Monday that Adere would be
replaced by Ejigayehu Dibaba, the African 10,000-meter champion.

Adere has struggled with an Achilles tendon injury since she
broke the world indoor 5,000-meter record in Stuttgart, Germany, in

Because Dibaba doesn't want to compete in two events, the
federation said she would be replaced in the 5,000 by Meserat
Defar, the world indoor 3,000-meter champion.