By MIKE ULMER -- Toronto Sun
SYDNEY -- Heike Drechsler is 36 years old and a survivor of an East German sports machine that was run by the secret police.
Performance-enhancing drugs were, like the athletes who took them, tools of the state.
She knows the past and with the gold medal hanging from her neck and an 11-year-old son anxious to wear it, she understands what is to come.
"Marion Jones," she said, "is the future."
But not, for once, the present.
Jones' insanely well-publicized run for five gold medals ended in the sand of Stadium Australia yesterday, when she settled for bronze in the long jump. Jones had already won gold easily in the 100- and 200-metre runs but could come only within .7 metres of Drechsler in the long jump. She faulted in her three final attempts.
"She (Drechsler) was the better long jumper today and I applaud her," Jones said. "I think the most positive thing I can take out of it is I can tell my kids in 30 years I competed against one of the best long jumpers in history."
Jones re-iterated she would not turn to a long-jump coach, despite criticism that her technique was getting in the way of her physical abilities. She also planned to follow through with plans to run for the U.S. in today's 4x100-metre and 4x400-metre relays.
"This bronze medal is not going to make me go into a shell," Jones said. "I've jumped far in the past and I'll jump farther still. If anything, this will motivate me to jump farther."
Maybe she will jump straight to Athens, where she plans to compete as a 29-year-old at the 2004 Games. And will she aim to take home five golds from Greece?
"I think I'm going to wait a while before giving you guys an answer on that," she said.
While the world's attention has focused on daily drug scandals, the women chip away at standards that scream not so much of present, but past drug use. The Olympic record is 7.40 metres, the world standard is 7.52. Those 1988 marks were set respectively by American Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Ukrainian Galina Cistjakova. The best Jones has jumped is 7.30.
Fiona May of Italy took the silver medal, as she did in Atlanta.
"This silver medal means more, because it was a very clean competition," May said.