After pPsh for Fame, Run for Money
Oct. 05, 2000
DOHA, Qatar (AP) _ Sprinter Maurice Greene has taken his two Olympic gold medals and gone home, turning his back on a possible $350,000.
Despite the fatigue of competing in the Sydney Games, 11 Olympic track and field winners, including triple gold medalist Marion Jones, have made the 18-hour trip to a $3.9 million meet in Qatar.
Jones is among those who could make $250,000 or more in the season-ending IAAF Grand Prix final Thursday.
The meet offers $50,000 to the winner of each event, $200,000 each for the man and woman who finish first in the overall season standings, and another $100,000 in case of a world record.
In Greene's case, there also was potential money from the IAAF's Golden League jackpot for winners of five or more races during the season. But athletes not competing in the final can't collect.
``This one is for the pocket. You've got to pay the mortgage,'' said Debbie Ferguson, a 100-meter runner from the Bahamas who won gold in the Olympic 400-meter relay.
Greene, who took home gold in the 100 and the 400 relay, is already well off. So is another of the missing Americans, Michael Johnson, who believes he has nothing to prove after five Olympic gold medals, capped by a successful defense of his 400-meter title at the Olympics.
Jones' chances at a $200,000 season prize depend in part on Norwegian javelin gold medalist Trine Hattestad, who is nine points ahead of Jones and Gail Devers. A hamstring injury knocked Devers out of her Olympic races, but the American hurdler is entered here.
Hattestad, who has set two world records this year, could finish third and still win the top prize, unless one of her closest rivals cracks a world mark and gains bonus points.
``It has been only five days since the (Olympic) final, so my form is still good. I'll do what I can'' to get a record, said the 34-year-old mother, whose husband and two sons have made the trip with her.
The Qatar program is limited to 18 events, not including the 200 meters or relays, in which Jones won two golds and a bronze.
She originally was listed for two events _ the 100, in which she is the Olympic champion, and the long jump, in which she won bronze behind Heike Drechsler of Germany and Fiona May of Italy. Late Wednesday, however, she withdrew from the long jump field, which includes both Drechsler and May.
The men's overall race is wide open, with Olympic 400-meter hurdles gold medalist Angelo Taylor just two points behind Ukrainian shot putter Yuriy Belonog, who did not win a medal in Sydney.
Taylor, who also has gold for his part in heats in the U.S. team's winning 1,600-meter relay effort, said this meet is totally different from the Sydney Games.
``For the Olympics, I was really psyched up,'' he said. ``Now I think I'm ready for the season to end. I beat up my legs a little bit. But I'll go out and give it my best. I don't come to lose.''
The 21-year-old hurdler, whose 47.50-second winning time at the Olympics was a personal best, said he is getting faster race by race, and ``I still have a lot of room for improvement.''
Other Olympic gold medalists in the field are Kenya's Noah Ngeny in the men's 1,500, Russia's Sergey Kliugin in the high jump, American pole vaulter Nick Hysong, British triple jumper Jonathan Edwards, Algeria's Nouria Merah-Benida in the women's 1,500, Kazakstan's Olga Shishigina in the 100-meter hurdles and Belarus discus thrower Ellina Zvereva.