|HOME | SPORTS | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
September 29, 2000
More heartbreak for MarionThe Rediff Team
As Marion Jones paused by the long jump pit before beginning her final assault on a gold, she saw the US women line up for the semifinal of the 4x100 metre relay.
And as she watched, the combination of Chryste Gaines, Torri Edwards, Nanceen Perry and Passion Richardson finished in 42.82 seconds.
She also got a very good view of the crack Bahamas combination coasting home in 42.42, with Pauline Davis, her understudy in the 200m sprint the other day, barely breaking into a sweat while coasting through in the final leg.
To make matters more interesting, that other crack combination, Jamaica, won the other semifinal in 42.15.
She would have known, then, that the United States had its work cut out for it, in the final of the event tomorrow in which she herself is slated to play a starring role. Her five-gold dream may be over, but she still has two golds to aim for in the relays.
An interesting conundrum was building up for her -- and the US track coaches. Does Marion run first, hoping to build a big lead which the other runners can maintain? Or does she run the last leg, hoping to chase down whoever is in the lead with her awesome sprint speed?
Minutes after the relay was run, it was heartbreak time for Marion as her hoped-for third individual goal, in the long jump, failed to materialise.
She walked off the track after getting a bronze in the long jump -- and learnt that the US relay team had been dealt two more blows. Inger Miller, world champion over the 200m sprint and now hoping to come back after an injury, had tried out her paces in practise, and found that she was not fully recovered from her torn hamstring. Miller in fact will leave Sydney tomorrow, before the race is run.
And Gail Devers, the third fastest girl in the US track team, had also opted out because of injury -- it pays to recall here that Devers had pulled up at the 5th hurdle in the women's 100m hurdles, with a torn hamstring.
In the space of a few hours, thus, she finds herself shorn of two of her strongest allies in the one lap relay, which was expected to be a shoo-in for the US outfit.
Opposing the US team she will lead tomorrow are two crack teams: Jamaica, with Tanya Lawrence, Veronica Campbell, Beverly McDonald and Merlene Frazer; and the smooth-running Bahamas with Eldece Clarke-Lewis, Chandra Sturrup, Pauline Davis-Thompson and Sevatheda Fynes lining up.
Davis-Thompson ran a fast race to finish second to Marion in the 200m. Debbie Ferguson won her heat 3, in round 2 of the 200m, ahead of the USA's Torri Edwards. Chandra Sturrup is not quite as fast as those two, finishing fifth in her own round two heat which was won by Susantika Jayasinghe the eventual bronze medallist. Interestingly, in none of the heats has the US had a runner who shaded her Bahamas counterpart -- with of course the exception of Marion Jones.
The 4x400 relay was always expected to be a touch and go affair for the US, which didn't have a single runner in the finals of the event. But increasingly, it is looking as though the US will struggle to mount a successful challenge in the 4x100 as well. And that, in turn, will mean that Marion Jones, who started this Olympics bidding for five golds, could see her medal count whittled down from the superhuman, to the merely human, proportions.
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