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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 August, 2004, 21:26 GMT 22:26 UK
Lewis-Francis gets gold fever
By Phil Gordos
BBC Sport in Athens

Mark Lewis-Francis celebrates victory in the men's 4x100m relay
Mark Lewis-Francis says Great Britain's shock Olympic win in the men's 4x100m relay can kick-start his pursuit of individual glory.

The 21-year-old looked destined to challenge the dominance of the Americans after clocking 10.12 seconds to win the World Junior Championships 100m in 1999.

But after promising so much at such an early age, the Belgrave Harrier's career stalled, leaving Britain to continue its desperate search for a successor to Linford Christie.

"I can't wait to go back home and get my spikes on," said Lewis-Francis, who held off the challenge of Maurice Greene to give Britain gold in the relay.

"This medal has given me a load of confidence. I'm going back with my head held high. Before I got the medal I was pretty low and disappointed."

Lewis-Francis and Dwain Chambers were tipped to fill the void left by Christie, who won 100m gold at the 1992 Games in Barcelona.

I can be a threat next year if I can keep my head right
Mark Lewis-Francis
But Lewis-Francis has failed to fulfil his potential so far while Chambers was handed a two-year suspension at the start of 2004 for testing positive for THG.

Jason Gardener and Darren Campbell have also been touted as possible world-beaters in the 100m, but Lewis-Francis remains the big hope.

"I just need to work at the things I need to work at and come back next year as a stronger athlete," he said.

"This medal has obviously given me a lot of confidence, but now I've got a lot of positive stuff to take back home.

"What I need to do is come back again, train harder and come back a stronger person and a stronger athlete.

"I believe that I can do that. My confidence is like it was in 2000. I can be a threat next year if I can keep my head right."

Whether Campbell is running alongside him is open to speculation.

The 30-year-old from Manchester, who won an Olympic 200m silver in Sydney, is not sure what the future hold and says his girlfriend will decide if he carries on.

"If I hadn't got this gold medal I was definitely coming back," said Campbell.

"It would have been nice to get an individual gold, so if anything is going to motivate me it's that. But I just don't know."





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