Saturday, September 23|
Jones breezes in 10.75, Greene in 9.87
SYDNEY, Australia -- Marion Jones had barely finished her
victory lap when Maurice Greene joined her as an Olympic 100-meter
Jones, who as a youngster wrote on a bedroom blackboard "I want
to be an Olympic champion," got her wish on a chilly, windswept
Saturday by winning the women's 100-meter final in 10.75 seconds.
One down, four to go.
"It's been my dream for 19 years, and finally it's here," said
a sobbing Jones, who hopes to win five gold medals in Sydney.
Her winning margin of 37-hundredths of a second over Ekaterini
Thanou of Greece was the second biggest in Olympic 100-meter
Jones had just completed a joyous, playful lap around the
Olympic Stadium, waving small U.S. and Belize flags, when Greene
sped to his gold medal with a time of 9.87 seconds. Jones' mother
was born in Belize.
Greene wrapped his head in his hands after crossing the finish
line, then pulled off his red-white-and-blue shoes and held them
high. He threw them into the crowd and draped himself in a U.S.
"You work four years for something that's only going to last
nine seconds. It's hard to do," Greene said. "I'm overjoyed and
overwhelmed and everything and just filled with joy."
Jones, wearing chrome-plated shoes so shiny they looked like
mirrors, went sleeveless on a cool night on which wind swirled
around the soldout 110,000-seat Olympic Stadium.
After a false start by Thanou, Jones made up an early deficit to
Jamaica's Tanya Lawrence and sped past the field to win by a
comfortable margin. Thanou won the silver medal in 11.12 seconds
and Lawrence was third in 11.18.
The only bigger winning margin in an Olympic 100-meter final,
either men's or women's, was Marjorie Jackson's win by .38 over
Daphne Hasenjager in 1952.
Merlene Ottey of Jamaica, who has won seven Olympic medals,
finished fourth -- a hundredth of a second behind Lawrence. Ottey,
40, recently returned from a one-year drug suspension.
Jones' victory was the first step in her quest for five golds.
Only one track athlete, the "Flying Finn" Paavo Nurmi, has won
that many in one Olympics. He did it in Paris 76 years ago.
"It's nice to have the first one done. I don't know if it's
going to be harder or easier (from now on)," she said. "I've seen
a lot of Olympic Games, I've seen a lot of people cross the
(finish) line and I was thinking about it.
"I was like, 'There's no way. I was going to cross that line
and be a cool cat. I'm going to run, I'm going to celebrate. Then
when you cross that line and everything all of a sudden just hits
you when you realize that you can be described as an Olympic
champion, finally, it was very emotional."
Jones' husband, shot putter C.J. Hunter, was all smiles as his
wife circled the track.
"I'm just very, very happy. That's what she likes is
challenges," Hunter said. "I think this is the easiest of her
events, but we're totally confident she can do anything."
In the men's 100, Greene defeated training partner and Sydney
housemate Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago, who took silver after
getting the bronze medal in Atlanta. Boldon finished in 9.99
seconds. Obadele Thompson of Barbados was third in 10.04.
"I knew this was a race Maurice would have to give away for
anybody else to have a chance," Boldon said. "Maurice just
destroyed us out there, to be honest."
Greene failed to qualify for the 1996 Olympics and cried in the
stands while watching the 100 final at the Atlanta Games. This
time, he was all smiles as he crossed the finish line and thrust
his fist in the air.
"I remember crying in Atlanta," Greene said. "I'm glad it's
all over. I have a lot of pressure off me and now I have other
things I want to accomplish."
Chief among those goals, Greene said, is lowering his own world
record of 9.79 seconds.
When he received his medal from International Olympic Committee
president Juan Antonio Samaranch, Greene blew kisses to the crowd.
Jones seemed to study her gold medal at first, then caressed it
as she stood on the winner's podium.
Also Saturday, Michael Johnson and Cathy Freeman easily won
second-round heats in the 400 and advanced to the semifinals Sunday.
Other American athletes had trouble at the track earlier in the
In the women's 800 semifinals, only one of the three Clark
sisters survived. Hazel Clark, the youngest of the three, advanced
to the final. Older sister Joetta Clark-Diggs and sister-in-law
Jearl Miles-Clark both were eliminated.
Lance Deal, a silver medalist at the 1996 Atlanta Games and the
grand old man of U.S. hammer throwing, ended his Olympic career in
disappointment. Deal, 39, and the other Americans in the hammer,
Jud Logan and Kevin McMahon, all failed to advance out of the
All three American men in the 800 meters -- Mark Everett, Bryan
Woodward and Richard Kenah -- flopped in Saturday's first round.
|Marion Jones finishes off her 10.75 seconds of excitement -- and years of dreaming -- by winning the gold medal in the 100 meters.
Track and field results
Zelezny nails his third consecutive javelin title
Jones, Greene start runs toward finish line