If it were any other race, Haile Gebrselassie would not be running. But this is the Olympic 10,000 meters, and probably the last track event of his legendary career.

So despite an Achilles' tendon injury, the two-time defending Olympic champion from Ethiopia will compete on Friday.

"I was very close to pulling out," Gebrselassie said at a news conference Tuesday.

One of the greatest long-distance runners of all time, Gebrselassie, 31, is seeking to become the first individual athlete to win the same running event at three Olympics.

He plans to move up to marathon for the rest of his career.

"Even if I am not doing very well, I feel I need to be there. I will try to do my best. Top three would be really great," said Gebrselassie, who broke his own world records nine times. "If I win a medal it would be wonderful, if not, that's okay."

Gebrselassie said he wanted to help Ethiopia achieve a sweep over Kenya, as it did in the world championships in Paris.

"I want to win, but if I don't it's the same to me as long as an Ethiopian wins the race," Gebrselassie said. "If the same thing happens as in Paris, it would be fantastic, you can imagine."

If it wasn't the Olympics, would he run Friday?

"Absolutely not," Gebrselassie said. "It's only every four years. And it could be the last track event of my career."

Decathlete, Coach Split

Reigning world champion decathlete Tom Pappas, who finished second at the U.S. Olympic trials, has split with his longtime coach.

Bill Webb, head track and field coach at Tennessee, coached Pappas for eight years, including his collegiate career and to a fifth-place finish in the 2000 Games.

Pappas now is working with Brian Brophy and Kip Janvrin, both former decathletes.

Brophy works for the World's Greatest Athlete Decathlon Club, a nonprofit foundation that has training centers around the country and pays Pappas a stipend. Janvrin is head coach at Central Missouri State.

Pappas joined the decathlon club two years ago, and Webb said the club got more involved in his training the past six months. Webb said he stepped aside because too many people were trying to coach Pappas.

"It wasn't really an issue of abandoning somebody," Webb said Tuesday. "I think you need one voice when you're involved in coaching an athlete, and it got to be more people involved in the planning."

Pappas said the split occurred right after the trials, where he was beaten by unheralded Bryan Clay.

Both are considered medal contenders when the decathlon competition begins Monday.

Judo Coach Expelled

A South Korean judo coach was expelled from his country's sports federation for apparently hitting one of his athletes after she lost a bout, an official said.

Suh Joung Bok was expelled by the South Korean Federation after a journalist reported seeing him strike Ye Gue Rin after she lost in the 1051/2-pound (48kg) tournament Saturday, said Michel Brousse, spokesman for the International Judo Federation.

The South Korean Federation apologized to the IJF, Brousse said.

Ye, 22, lost in the quarterfinals. . . .

Greek beach volleyball pair Thanassis Michalopoulos and Pavlos Beligratis are withdrawing, citing a leg injury to Beligratis suffered Monday. . . .

Belgian three-day event horse Over and Over, ridden by Joris Vanspringel, was euthanized after breaking his left hind leg when he fell during the cross-country jumping competition Tuesday.