STOCKHOLM -- For Houston McTear, once known as the world's fastest human, just making it back to the track has been a major accomplishment.

While McTear has no illusions of regaining his title, the 33-year-old has been training here with hopes of competing in the 1992 Olympics.

McTear's comeback has been particularly tough. The 33-year-old is a former drug addict who spent three years in Santa Monica, Calif., in the late 1980s as one of the homeless.

"I'm loving every minute of my comeback," said McTear, whose track career declined after he made the 1976 U.S. Olympic team, but couldn't run in Montreal because of a pulled leg muscle.

McTear, who has tried to come back before, the last attempt ending when he entered a drug rehabilitation clinic in 1986, started thinking about a comeback after finishing fifth in the 60-yard dash in the Sunkist Invitational on Jan. 20, 1989, in Los Angeles.

"I said to myself, 'Why not? I can do it again, after the Sunkist," McTear said. "I was really pleased with it, so I decided to stay with it."

McTear, who has lived in Sweden for a year with his girlfriend, former European 60-meter indoor champion Linda Haglund, may be the fastest 33-year-old in the world.

His legs will be 35 in two years, when the next Summer Olympics will be held in Barcelona. Still, 1992 is his target.

"I'll try to make the Olympic team," he said. "That's my goal."

The U.S. Olympic team, that is. Unlike Marty Krulee, another Sweden-based American sprinter who is expected to become a Swedish citizen soon, McTear has no plans to take a shortcut to the Olympics.

If McTear doesn't make the team, it will not necessarily mean the end of his track career.

"They've got the Masters {senior track}," he said. "I can compete for a long time. I really feel good about it."

He also has another goal, which probably is even more unrealistic.

"I'm going to shoot for the best time in the 100 meters," he said.

Most track experts believe it would be difficult for McTear to even approach his personal record of 10 seconds in the 100, set in 1975. Less than 10 other sprinters have run faster since. Carl Lewis's world record is 9.92.

Last year, McTear's best time in the 100 was 10.55, "but remember that was the first time I ran the 100 in eight, nine years," he said. His best so far this season is 10.78, but he plans to peak for meets later this summer.

McTear dominated the indoor sprints in Sweden last winter, winning the national 60-meter indoor title in 6.68 seconds, .14 off his former world record set 12 years ago.

McTear is struggling toward the end of the outdoor races, but he's still explosive out of the blocks. It took a long time for him to overcome the Swedish starters, though.

"The start is all reaction, but Sweden is the place where the starters hold so long," said McTear, considered one of the world's best starters, along with Ben Johnson.

"It's been a disadvantage to me. I anticipate a two-second count, but the starters hold almost four seconds, which is a lot harder to really get concentration and anticipating the gun," he said. "I had a couple of races where I got off the gun pretty good and the starter called the race back."

McTear launched his career in 1975 when he set a world best of 9.0 hand-timed in the 100-yard dash as a Florida teen-ager.

"In the early years, I didn't train that much," he recalled. "I performed off my natural talent. I think the reason why it's going so well for me now is because I think I have a little bit of that natural talent left and I'm training very hard every day."

Haglund, who also tried a comeback a few years ago following a suspension for failing a doping test, writes McTear's training program. "It's not computerized like Ed Moses used to have and I don't think we'll need one either," he said.