September 15, 2002
PARIS -- American Tim Montgomery turned the late-season IAAF Grand Prix Final into his showcase.
Montgomery set a world record in the 100 meters Saturday, clocking 9.78 seconds and dethroning Maurice Greene as the king of sprint.
Montgomery cut .01 off the world record of 9.79, set by Greene in 1999.
Greene, the Olympic and world champion, watched Montgomery's run into the record book from the stands.
"It doesn't hurt at all," said Greene, who withdrew from the Grand Prix Final citing fatigue. "I knew that I wasn't going to die with my world record."
Montgomery stunned the small crowd at the Stade Charlety, beating Britain's Dwain Chambers, who finished in 9.87. American Jon Drummond was third in 9.97.
"I knew something special was in me," Montgomery said. "I can say I'm the fastest man to ever run the 100 meters."
Montgomery credited the conditions for his ability to break the dash record. The tail wind registered 2.0 meters a second, which is the maximum limit.
"Today was perfect," the 27-year-old South Carolina native said. "The whole race, the whole day. To break a world record, the day and the record must be perfect, and that's what happened today.
"At 30 meters, I felt like no one was beside me, so I said, "I'm going to dig in a bit harder.' And I just dug down, and kept running, and kept running, and kept running, to put as much distance on Dwain Chambers as possible. And the world record came."
Montgomery said he didn't immediately realize he broke the record.
"When my coach came and picked me up and slammed me down, that's when I knew something had happened big," he said.
Montgomery's best was 9.84, and he had not run faster than 9.91 this season.
He won bronze in the 100 at the 1997 World Championships, and he finished just behind Greene four years later at Edmonton.