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LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Jeremy Wariner has re-teamed with coach Clyde Hart as he tries to regain the form that made him the world’s dominant 400m runner.
Wariner was dethroned as Olympic 400m champion at the Beijing Games last year by fellow American LaShawn Merritt.
He had headed into 2008 apparently invincible, and appeared poised to join his mentor and agent Michael Johnson as the only men to successfully defend the Olympic 400m title.
But Wariner split with longtime coach Hart – who had also guided Johnson through his career – after a contract dispute, and the Texas runner’s fortunes plummeted.
By the time the Beijing Games arrived, Merritt had proved himself a serious threat and confirmed his status by winning gold with an emphatic victory.
Wariner had insisted his switch to coach Mike Ford wasn’t responsible for his failure to retain the Olympic crown.
“It was just unfortunate things happened. For one, LaShawn Merritt got better,” he said in March.
But since then he has returned to Hart.
“Coach Hart’s just a good fit for me,” Wariner said Saturday after he won the 400m at the adidas Track Classic in 44.66sec.
Wariner’s career-best of 43.45sec for the 400m – which made him the third-fastest performer in the history of the event – was set back in 2007.
He said his focus now is on regaining his own best form, rather than on Merritt and their next eventual head-to-head 400m showdown.
“That time will come,” Wariner said. “I’m not worried about that. I’m just worried about getting back to where I was two years ago.”