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Jones and Greene wins fast 100s

June 14, 1997

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Marion Jones, the women’s sensation of the USA Track and Field Championships, ran her third straight strong race Friday night, winning the 100-meter dash, while two-time Olympic gold medalist Gail Devers withdrew.

Jones, who had electrified the spectators at Indiana University Track and Field Stadium with the year’s two-fastest times in Thursday night’s preliminaries and semifinals, clocking 10.98 and 10.92, won her first national title in 10.97 in a race run into a headwind.

The men’s 100 final also was a dazzler, as Maurice Greene won in 9.90, making him the third-fastest American ever, behind only Leroy Burrell and Carl Lewis. Greene’s time was the second-fastest in the world this year, just behind the 9.89 by Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago, the 1996 Olympic bronze medalist.

The victories by Jones, 21, and Greene, 22, signaled a changing of the guard in the U.S. sprint corps.

Jones, a two-time scholastic athlete of the year while competing in track and field in high school at Thousand Oaks, Calif., and the point guard of North Carolina’s 1995 NCAA basketball champions, now is devoting full time to track and field. The results began showing in these championships.

While her sudden emergence was somewhat of a surprise because she had not devoted much time to track and field in the past two years due to basketball and injuries, she did not consider her victory unexpected.

``I’ve been training hard for 13 weeks,″ she said.

Jones had shown her potential in high school, when as a 16-year-old junior, she finished fifth in the 100 and fourth in the 200 at the 1992 Olympic trials.

But she declined a place on the Olympic as a 400-meter relay alternate, saying, ``I don’t want to rush things.″

More mature last year, Jones had hoped to take another shot at the Olympics, but she broke a bone in her left foot for a second time and her chance disintegrated.

Now she is healthy and ready for a shot at a world title in the World Championships in Greece in August.

Devers, the 1993 world champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, withdrew from the final, claiming a sore right calf muscle.

If the International Amateur Athletic Federation decides to add ``wild card″ entries for the World Championships, Devers could possibly participate, along with other world champions and Olymplic gold medalists such as ichael Johnson and Dan O’Brien.

Greene, who never previously had won a major title, had shown his strong sprinting form Thursday night by running 9.96 _ one of five to break the 10-second barrier during the prelims.

In the final, he edged Tim Montgomery, second at 9.92. Mike Marsh, the 1992 Olympic 200-meter gold medalist, nipped Jon Drummond for third. Both were timed in 10.03.

Burrell, the American record-holder at 9.85, finished sixth at 10.09.

``Hopefully, I’ll also be the fastest at Athens,″ Greene said. ``I’m not surprised. I put in the work and I knew if I executed, the time would come.″

Kenny Harrison, 1996 Olympic gold medalist in the triple jump, won his fourth national and second in a row, soaring 55 feet, 8 1/4 inches into a headwind on his final attempt.

Lynda Lipson also used her final attempt to win the women’s javelin title, throwing a personal-best 192-0.

Stacy Dragila, the American record-holder and the world indoor champion in the women’s pole vault, won at 14 feet, 1 1/4 inches, then missed three times at matching her best of 14-7 1/4.

Jearl Miles-Clark, the 1993 world outdoor champion in the women’s 400 and the 1997 world indoor gold medalist, ran the year’s fastest time, 50.48, in winning her semifinal heat.

Hurdler Stephon Flenoy, given an opportunity to compete in the USA Outdoor Championships Friday night after track and field’s world governing body waived its ``contamination″ rule, flubbed it.

Flenoy, 29, whose only notable performance was finishing sixth at last year’s Olympic trials, wound up seventh and last in his preliminary heat of the 400-meter hurdles and did not advance to Saturday’s semifinals.

Flenoy, who was suspended by USA Track & Field on April 4 for allegedly testing positive for an excessive amount of testosterone during the trials, won an arbitration case Wednesday to compete in the championships.

However, the IAAF, which had suspended Flenoy on May 31, said earlier Friday that anyone competing against him risked being suspended in accordance with its contamination rule.

USATF president Pat Rico then sent a letter to the IAAF on behalf of the athletes, requesting they be permitted to compete without penalty. In the letter, the athletes expressed concern about their eligibility and were considering withdrawing, IAAF secretary general Istvan Gyulai said.

Gyulai then polled council members of his organization on the issue. He said a majority voted in favor of waiving the rule, with the stipulation that if Flenoy qualified for the U.S. team for the World Championships, he would not be eligible for the meet, and his results would be null and void.

After that, Gyulai consulted with USATF and it was agreed that Flenoy could run. The others in the race had to sign a waiver from USATF before they could compete, conceding they knew about the contamination issue.

The flap became immaterial when Flenoy ran a pedestrian 52.06.

Also failing to reach the semifinals was world record-holder and 1992 Olympic champion Kevin Young. Young finished fifth in his heat in 50.32 and wound up with the 17th-best time in the heats. Only 16 advanced.

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