Maurice Greene fulfilled his goal by setting the 100-meter world record of 9.79 seconds today at an international track meet.
Greene broke the previous mark of 9.84 set by Donovan Bailey of Canada at the 1996 Olympics.
"I expected it," said Greene. "This is only the beginning."
The record was set on a nearly windless evening during a special event for top sprinters held in the stadium that will be the main venue for the 2004 Olympic Games.
Greene's unofficial time was flashed as 9.78. The official time later was set at 9.79. The crowd gave the Kansas City, Kan., native a standing ovation as he hugged other athletes and waved the banner of his track club HSI (Handling Speed Intelligently). He looked for an American flag, but none was readily available.
"This is a special place for me," said Greene, who won the 1997 world championship on the same track. He said he wanted to tell his mother the news by phone, but she wasn't home.
Even as he basked in the record, he set his next goal at 9.76.
"I think it's very significant we came to the birthplace of track and field to break this record," said Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago, who placed second at 9.86. Bruny Surin of Canada finished third at 9.97.
Earlier, Boldon won the regular 100-meter race at 9.97.
Greene also holds the world indoor record at 60 meters of 6.39, set last year, and was ranked the world's No. 1 sprinter for 1998.
Earlier this month at Milan, Italy, Greene won the 100 at 10.16 and insisted he was only concerned about the competition and not the clock. "I am not obsessed with the world record," he said.
In the women's 100 Wednesday, Greece's Ekaterini Thanou won in 10.92.
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