|HOME | SPORTS | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
September 22, 2000
Greene, Johnson, Jones canter
World champion Maurice Greene qualified for the second round of the Olympic men's 100 metres on Friday with utmost ease before a crowd in excess of 100,000 at Stadium Australia.
The world record holder clocked 10.31, slowing down so sharply over the final metres that it seemed he had almost walked across the line.
"I feel fine," he said. "I'm having fun and just enjoying myself. I have to stay relaxed."
Canada's Donovan Bailey, who has been suffering with influenza this week, survived a false start to qualify in third place from his heat.
Greene's training partner Ato Boldon of Trinidad, the 1997 world 200 champion, was the fastest qualifier with 10.04 seconds but clearly felt he had been running too quickly.
"Too fast, too fast," he mouthed after crossing the line.
'Mission accomplished' for Johnson in 400m heats
World record holder and defending champion Michael Johnson eased through his opening heat in the Olympic 400 metres on Friday, declaring his 45.25 seconds qualifying time "mission accomplished."
Johnson, running in the seventh of nine heats on the first day of the athletics programme, took it out quite hard for the first half of the race, consolidated over the third 100 and then shut down.
His first sidewards glance came at the start of the home straight and he did no more than was necessary to hold off Spaniard David Canal as he eased across the line.
"I was hoping for about 21.2 for the first 200, I'll check with my coach (Clyde Hart) but it felt about right," he said.
"I worked the curve a bit, not as hard as I would in the final but it felt good, very relaxed. You could say it was mission accomplished."
Johnson has been staying in Sydney, away from the athletes' village and surrounded by his family. He said it had been an enjoyable week.
"But I'm ready to get started now," he said. "Tomorrow (second round) should be okay and we should be able to run in the semi."
Johnson won both the 200 and 400 metres in the 1996 Atlanta Games but lost the chance of defending the shorter sprint after pulling up injured in the U.S. trials.
But he said that he had no fitness worries now. "Everything felt really good, training's been going great and there's no need to be concerned."
Johnson wasn't entirely happy, though, that Brazilian Sanderlei Parrela, banned for a positive nandrolone test in June but reinstated by the IAAF on Tuesday, was allowed to run.
Parrela, runner-up to Johnson in the 1999 world championships, won his heat in 45.55, leaving the American to say: "I'm a little surprised that a four-year ban can be turned into a six-month ban but I don't make the rules, I just have to live with them.
"But it won't have anything to do with what's going on in my lane."
The only man in the field who looks capable of challenging Johnson in Monday's final is compatriot Alvin Harrison.
Harrison, who finished fourth in Atlanta, was the fastest qualifier with 44.96 and also looked very comfortable.
His 44.18 run in Brisbane two weeks ago made him the second-fastest man in the world this year behind Johnson, who ran 43.68 in July. Johnson's world record, set at last year's world championships, is 43.18.
American Marion Jones began her quest for an unprecedented five Olympic track and field gold medals by cruising through the first round of the 100 metres.
Jones eased across the finish line to win her heat in 11.20s and then paid tribute to the huge crowd at the first session of athletics at Stadium Australia.
''I'm having a ball,'' she said.
''I'm 24 years old, I'm in Sydney and I'm running great.''
Jones' countrywoman Chryste Gaines was the fastest qualifier in 11.06.
Joining them in the second round tonight will be controversial 40-year-old Jamaican Merlene Ottey, who won her heat in 11.24.
Ottey was a late inclusion in the 100m after only finishing fourth at the Jamaican trials, shortly after returning to competition when her nandrolone ban was overturned.
Melinda Gainsford-Taylor was third in Ottey's heat in 11.34.
Fellow Australian Lauren Hewitt also scraped through as one of the two fastest fourth placegetters in 11.42.
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK