|HOME | SPORTS | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
September 24, 2000
Maid Marion smiles, then criesAdrian Warner
Marion Jones had expected to complete the first 100 metres of her planned historic journey at the Sydney Olympics feeling cool and composed.
But the tears were soon streaming down the cheeks of the newly crowned women's sprint champion on Saturday.
After 49 confident strides towards a convincing 100 metres victory in 10.75 seconds, the 24-year-old American burst into tears shortly after crossing the finish line.
Jones had shown so much composure and control during the race, winning by 0.37 seconds, the second biggest winning margin in a women's 100 final since Australian Marjorie Jackson's triumph in 1952.
The former basketball player, bidding for an historic five gold medals in one Games, said she had hoped to be a "cool cat" when she crossed the line but she was soon tearfully hugging her family and friends in the crowd.
"I have been sitting in my apartment in the last few days watching the Games and I vowed to keep cool when I crossed the line, " she said. "But when I crossed it, all that went out of the window.
"All of a sudden it hits you when you realise you will be described as an Olympic champion. It's overwhelming. It's emotional. I thought that all the miserable and hard days in (her home town of) Raleigh were all for something."
Jones had been dreaming of winning an Olympic title for 19 years. At the age of nine she wrote on the school blackboard that she wanted to stand on the top of the podium at the Games.
In Sydney she made the victory look as easy as a quick sprint across the playground, finishing three strides ahead of the rest of the field. Silver medallist Ekaterini Thanou of Greece and Jamaican bronze medallist Tanya Lawrence never threatened.
But her husband C.J. Hunter, the American shot putter, said: "She works extremely hard, harder than anyone works for anything. l'm glad she's finally got it but it's just the beginning."
Jones is also bidding for victory in the 200, long jump and 4X100 and 4X400 relays.
After a lap of honour of the track, holding the flags of the United States and of Belize, the country of her mother, Jones said she was not under stress although she admitted that she had found it hard to sleep on Friday night.
"This is not a stressful time of my life. It's very happy," she said. "It's nice to have the first one done. I don't know if it is going to be harder or easier now. I just want to enjoy it all."
Maurice Greene, who gave the Americans a sprint double with victory in the men's 100 final, said he hoped Jones would be able to stand the pace.
"I wish her the best. I wouldn't try it, " he said. "She is a phenomenal athlete and it will take a phenomenal athlete to do it. I just hope her body doesn't break down."
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