Olympic events switch is likely

LONDON (AP) – Track and field’s world governing body is willing to change the competition schedule of next year’s Athens Olympics to allow British runner Paula Radcliffe to attempt an historic distance double. Radcliffe is considering running both the marathon and the 10,000 meters. No woman has ever won both events at the Olympics. The only man to have completed the double feat was Emil Zatopek at the 1952 Helsinki Games. The Czech runner also won the 5,000 meters at the same Olympics. The women’s marathon in Athens is currently scheduled for August 22, 2004, with the 10,000-meters final five days later on August 27. That would rule out a Radcliffe double bid since it takes athletes several weeks to recover from a marathon. But the International Association of Athletics Federations said it would consider changing or swapping the dates if Radcliffe was serious about running in both events. «The event dates for the Olympics are not 100 percent set in stone yet, so it is still possible to change them,» IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said. «Paula would officially need to apply to the IAAF to have the dates changed, to have the 10,000 come first and then the marathon.»  Davies noted that the IAAF changed the timetable of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics to allow Michael Johnson to complete a double in the 200-meter and 400-meter events. «It’s happened in the past,» he said. «We would certainly be interested in doing it if it was possible.» Davies said IAAF delegates would discuss the change at its next meeting on April 5 if Radcliffe officially asks for it. Radcliffe broke the world record for 10 kilometers in a road race in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Sunday. Last year, she ran the world’s fastest marathon for a woman and won gold medals in the Commonwealth Games and European Championships in the 10,000 and 5,000 meters.