Outside magazine, August 1996
Here comes Gwen Torrence, America’s fastest loose cannon
Gwen Torrence promises to be among the most hyped athletes of the Atlanta Games: a hometown girl who returns to accolades and–a good bet–Olympic gold in the 100- and 200-meter sprints and the 4×100 relay. While Torrence’s home-field dominance should be amply showcased, the requisite video vignettes on the sometimes prickly sprinter probably won’t include any montages of
“The hundred meters is so explosive, and you’re competing against someone right next to you,” explains American sprinter Carlette Guidry-White. “There’s no room for being friendly.” Over the last half-decade, Torrence and her main rival, Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey, 36, have made that truism the foundation of their
If anybody’s going to get ambushed on the track in Atlanta, though, it’s Ottey. “Right now there’s no one that can touch Torrence,” McMicken says. Some see Devers as Torrence’s main competition, but the two-time gold medalist has torn her right hamstring four times since Barcelona and ran horribly at the Atlanta Grand Prix in May. Torrence, in contrast, flew to victory in 10.85
Before the Grand Prix, Devers was slotted as the favorite in the 100-meter hurdles, redeeming the fall she took in ’92 when she clipped the last hurdle while leading the Olympic final. But if the tune-up race was any indication, look for Dionne Rose and Michelle Freeman of Jamaica and American Cheryl Dickey to challenge in a slow race.
In the 400 meters, Marie-Jose Perec of France is considered a lock, with Australia’s Cathy Freeman taking silver and the Bahamas’ Pauline Davis battling Fatima Yusuf of Nigeria for the bronze. But Americans should dominate the 400-meter hurdles, where