Jones Wins 200m for Second Gold
SYDNEY, Australia (AP) _ Two gold medals for Marion Jones. Two kisses for C.J. Hunter. And one big surprise for Greece.
Jones raced to a lopsided win in the women’s 200 meters Thursday, her second gold medal of the Sydney Games. Her quest is to become the first woman to win five golds at a Summer Olympics.
``I’m here for more than two gold medals, I’m here for five,″ she said. ``In a certain way, I am checking them off the list.″
With husband Hunter watching from the stands, Jones took an early lead and then pulled away from the field to finish in 21.84 seconds. She won by nearly half a second in a race usually decided by hundredths of seconds.
After winning by the biggest margin in 40 years, Jones took a victory lap _ stopping to give her husband two kisses and a hug.
``Some of the words I’d use to describe it are relieved and excited,″ Jones said. ``I think I’m just overall happy that my sprints are over.″
In a shocking men’s 200 final, Konstantinos Kenteris sped to victory in 20.09 seconds. The Greek sprinter was rarely mentioned among the pre-race favorites, yet he held off Darren Campbell of Britain for the gold medal.
Kenteris became the first Greek man to win an Olympic medal in a running event since 1896. Last weekend, Greece’s Ekaterini Thanou got silver in the women’s 100.
``I believed in myself from the start. People may be surprised, but I came here to win,″ Kenteris said. ``Greece has finally arrived in athletics.″
Campbell won silver in 20.14 seconds and Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago won bronze for the second straight Olympics. Boldon was the silver medalist in the 100 last weekend.
Americans Coby Miller and John Capel finished seventh and eighth in the final. Not counting the 1980 Moscow Games boycotted by the United States, it was the first time since 1928 that Americans have been shut out of the medals in the men’s 200.
American favorites Michael Johnson and Maurice Greene were injured in the 200-meter final at the U.S. trials and failed to qualify.
Estonia’s Erki Nool won the decathlon after American Chris Huffins faded in the final event _ the 1,500 meters. Nool won the gold with 8,641 points. Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic won silver with 8,606 and Huffins won bronze with 8,595.
Huffins led throughout the two-day competition, but dropped two places in the standings despite running his personal best by 13 seconds in the 1,500, his weakest event.
``For me to win an Olympic medal based on my 1,500 means more to me than you’ll ever be able to write about. That’s the event that has been my Waterloo for so many times in my career,″ Huffins said. ``And for it to come down to that, for me to dig deep inside my soul and come up with that kind of performance, that is my Olympic moment now and forever.″
In the men’s long jump, three-time world champion Ivan Pedroso of Cuba won with a leap of 28 feet, 3/4 inches (8.55 meters). Jai Taurima of Australia won the silver and Roman Schurenko of Ukraine the bronze.
Yanina Korolchik of Belarus won the women’s shot put with a best of 67 feet, 5 1/2 inches (20.56 meters). Larisa Peleshenko of Russia, who returned from a four-year drug suspension last year, won the silver. Astrid Kumbernuss of Germany, the Olympic champion in 1996, took the bronze.
In the women’s 200, Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas was second in 22.27 and Susanthika Jayasinghe of Sri Lanka, who tested positive for the steroid nandrolone two years ago, won the bronze medal in 22.28.
Jones’ victory margin of 43 hundredths of a second was the biggest since American Wilma Rudolph won by .45 at the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Cathy Freeman, winner of the 400-meter gold medal earlier this week, was seventh.
Jones’ next competition is the long jump, her weakest individual event. Then it’s on to the relays, in which the American teams are vulnerable.
``Now I can really focus on the big challenge ahead, and that’s my jumping tomorrow,″ she said. ``I don’t think anybody doubted me in the sprints. But my real test will come tomorrow. I’m going to have to dig down deep tomorrow. And I’m ready for that.″
The United States has dominated in the 400-meter relay, winning the last four Olympic golds. But two Americans are injured and the squad could be vulnerable to a team such as Jamaica _ which had two finalists in the women’s 100.
In the 1,600-meter relay, the Americans will have to beat an Australian squad anchored by Freeman.
The victory capped a difficult few days for Jones, who on Tuesday stood at Hunter’s side shortly before answering questions about four positive drug tests this summer. Hunter, the reigning world champion shot putter, is not competing in Sydney.
Hunter said the biggest challenge for his wife has been competing in both the 200 and the long jump the past two days.
``It was a great race. I’m very happy,″ Hunter said. ``It’s a tough schedule. It’s not the race, it’s the way they had it set up.″
Marla Runyan, the first U.S. paralympian to reach the Olympics, continued her amazing odyssey by qualifying for the final of the women’s 1,500 meters. Runyan, who is legally blind, was joined in Saturday’s final by Suzy Favor Hamilton.
No American woman has won an Olympic medal at 1,500 meters.
Earlier in the day, Jane Saville of Australia was disqualified in the closing seconds of the 20-kilometer walk, giving the gold medal to Wang Liping of China. Michelle Rohl was the top American in the walk, finishing 17th.
Also Thursday, all three American women _ Karol Damon, Erin Aldrich and Amy Acuff _ were eliminated in the qualifying round of the high jump.