Zola Budd said today she doesn't think she can win a 3,000-meter race against Mary Decker Slaney Saturday, and Slaney said the upcoming race could help ruin Budd's career.
The race, part of a two-day IAAF-Mobil Grand Prix meet, is the first between the two since their collision in the 3,000-meter final at the Los Angeles Olympic Games almost a year ago. The race will be televised on ABC's "Wide World of Sports" at 4 p.m. EDT.
A huge contingent of the sports media met Slaney when she arrived this morning at the Waldorf Hotel, bringing traffic to a halt.
"Zola is a good athlete with a lot of potential but a lot of unnecessary pressure was put on her before the Olympics and in the year since," said Slaney, the world 1,500- and 3,000-meter champion.
"If I had been managing her, I probably would not have allowed her to run competitively this year. A lot of times, the pressure is more detrimental and unless the person can handle it and knows how to deal with it, it can ruin them."
Budd, at a separate news conference, said, "I frankly don't think I can win. If you look at the statistics, you will see that there is an eight-second difference between her best time and mine. But I admit that anything can happen in a race."
Budd denied that she had admitted the collision in the 3,000 meters Olympic final was her fault. "I said that both of us were at fault in the incident," she said. "Not exactly my fault or her fault. When stories are edited it is so easy to be misunderstood."
She said there had been correspondence between her and Slaney, but that it was private. "What I can say is that there are no hard feelings between us." Would she like to talk to Slaney this weekend? "No, I think it is better we meet on the track. I am not very good at words, but when I run, I am better," Budd said.
Of last year's Olympic race, Slaney said "I may forgive, but I don't forget. My view has not changed and I have nothing further to say on it . . . . Maricia Puica won the Olympics. I fell down. You can't rewrite history. But I can go out for a good performance.