SEARCH 2000 Games

Friday, September 29, 2000

Still alive for five

200-metre win gives Jones her second gold

 SYDNEY -- That's two.

 Marion Jones's "Drive For Five" stayed alive despite the sizeable speed bump provided by her husband's positive drug test.

 The Beauty stopped on her victory lap to kiss The Beast sitting in the stands on the front row. She stopped to share the moment with husband C.J. Hunter.

 She couldn't have handled herself better before, during or after the race.

 It wasn't a night of delight like it was when she won No. 1 in the 100 metres. But once again her smile lit up the stadium, and 100,000 fans - despite the C.J. Hunter and American drug scandal stories of the past few days - found it impossible not to smile back.

 In the interview room she received a minimum of questions with drug overtones.

 "People who know me ... know I'm a clean athlete,'' she answered to one.

 She also conceded that her husband's positive test and everything which has surrounded it isn't making it any easier for her to do what she's trying to do. But she says, don't worry about her taking her eye off the golds.

 "What's gone on is something that could have easily strayed my focus,'' she said.

 "I am able to keep my mind on things that matter. When you have worked so hard and dreamed so long, you can't let one event turn you from your purpose. To let one event in my life, as dramatic as it might be, affect what I am doing here wouldn't be worth it at all,'' she said of everything she went through to get to this moment.

 "To let one event ruin it ... no way!''

 Jones has offered a different single word to describe each gold so far.

 "Overwhelming,'' she said of the first, in the 100 metres.

 "Relief,'' was her word this night.

 "They say the 400 metres is the toughest event in track and field. Try double up on the 200 within a couple hours like we did tonight,'' she said of semifinals and finals.

 "I'm glad the sprints are over.''

 By the time you read this, Jones will have gone for No. 3 in the long jump. That will leave the two relays.

 "I'm trying to take it day by day.''

 "I enjoyed the first one. I'm enjoying this one. I hope I enjoy three more. In a way, I guess, I'm still checking them off the list.''

 That said, this is dream stuff even if she's got a list and has checked it twice.

 "The reality and the dream doesn't compare,'' she said of the way she dreamed it would be.

 "It's so much better.

 "Until you actually stand on that podium ... until you actually are at the start with all those people and all those camera flashes ... and the announcer is saying I'm from the Bahamas ... It doesn't compare. It's so much better.

 "And all this is so much bigger than one person,'' she said of the Olympics as a whole.


 There was another person who raised a few eyebrows.

 But Konstantinos Kenteris wrote Olympic history here last night winning the men's 200 metres. He was the first male Greek track and fielder to win a gold medal since Konstantin Tsihlitiras at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. That was in the standing long jump.

 "From the first time I stepped into this country I realized the others didn't have anything better than me. I knew I had a chance, especially as there were five black runners and I was the only white.''


 That's the quote.

 "I came here to win. I was very happy when I crossed the line. I said Konstan The Greek would win. I feared nobody.''

 Nobody had heard of him. He had done nothing since he was sixth at the world juniors back in 1993. Lots of injuries, he said.

 It was the biggest shock of the Olympic track meet so far.

 It was only the fifth gold medal for Greece in Olympic history. Modern day Olympic history.

 It was a slow 20.20 with Britain's Darren Campbell winning the bronze and Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago winning his second medal of the Games with his bronze.

 Both Michael Johnson and Maurice Greene of the United States failed to qualify as a result of injuries at the U.S. Championships this summer in Sacramento, opening the door for something like this to happen.

 Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas was second to Jones for the silver and Susanthike Jayasinghe won the bronze, the first-ever women's medal in Sri Lanka's history. Australia's cauldron-lighter Cathy Freeman finished seventh.

 Ivan Pedroso of Cuba won a terrific long jump competition in which the lead changed hands six times. He took the gold with a last jump leap of 8.55 metres to beat Australia's Jai Taurima. Roman Schurenko of the Ukraine won the bronze.

 The win by the Cuban ended a four-year run by Carl Lewis in the event with Lewis sitting in the stands as a spectator. Pedruso won the last three Worlds but it was his first Olympic gold.

 The decathlon produced the first-ever gold medal for Estonia with Eric Nool winning after passing American Chris Huffins who had been leading after the ninth event of the 10-event competition. Huffins ended up with the bronze and Roman Sebrle of the Czech Republic the silver.

 Yanina Korolchik of Belarus won the women's shot put with Russia's Larisa Peleshenko winning silver and defending Olympic champion Astrid Kumbernuss of Germany the bronze.