NORWALK, CALIF., JUNE 13 -- Olympic multiple champion Carl Lewis, who has spent much of the past nine months working on his biography, finds out Thursday if he can still run with America's best.
The 100-meter preliminaries at the U.S. national track and field championships will be Lewis's first major test in almost nine months. He boycotted last year's championships because of differences with officials of The Athletics Congress, which governs the sport in the United States.
"We don't know if he's ready to compete at this level," said Joe Douglas, business manager for Lewis, who ran 100 meters in 10.42 seconds at a low-key meet in Houston last week, fully half a second off his world mark. "We're going to take it one heat at a time."
Lewis had planned to skip the national championships because of a lack of training but if he runs in just one heat of the 100 he will qualify for next month's Goodwill Games in Seattle, for which he has served as a spokesman.
Besides Lewis, five other world record holders are entered in the three-day meet at Cerritos College in surburban Los Angeles.
Randy Barnes will try to continue his record breaking in the shot put, Roger Kingdom will seek a third successive title in the 110-meter hurdles and veteran Willie Banks will participate in the triple jump.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the world record holder in the heptathlon, will compete in the women's long jump, in which she won an Olympic gold medal in 1988, and Butch Reynolds, world record holder at 400 meters, will run the 200.
Leroy Burrell, the top U.S. sprinter of the season, will opt for the long jump instead of the sprints.
Sprinter-long jumper Larry Myricks and two-time world high hurdles champion Greg Foster will miss the championships because of drug suspensions, a hot topic among U.S. athletes in recent months.
The man who headed the TAC drug testing committee until resigning last month, world 400-meter hurdles record holder Edwin Moses, will also be absent. He has yet to run this season because of time spent working with the program.