Torrence saves dash of anger for Krabbe U.S. victor: German is not clean athlete

June 29, 1992|By Bill Glauber | Bill Glauber,Staff Writer

NEW ORLEANS -- She does not wear lace running outfits, nor paint her nails in outrageous colors, nor have a nickname that is as rhythmic as it is identifiable.

All Gwen Torrence does is sprint and win.

Last night, the woman who has succeeded Florence Griffith Joyner as America's dominant sprinter won the 200-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials.

After gathering up her roses and an American flag, and looking up at the scoreboard that flashed her time of 22.03 seconds, Torrence took aim at her fiercest rival, Germany's Katrin Krabbe.

The reigning world champion in the 100 and 200, Krabbe had her suspension for an alleged manipulation of a drug test overturned earlier yesterday by track and field's world governing body.

And Torrence, who was a double runner-up to Krabbe at the 1991 world championships in Tokyo, was furious.

"I just say that it's horrible," Torrence said. "I'm just so disappointed with that decision. As athletes, we know something is wrong. Our goal is to kick her butt. I know she is not a clean athlete."

It was an emotional verbal barrage to close a dramatic final night of competition in the women's events.

The trials ended with Gail Devers completing a comeback from Graves' disease to win the 100 hurdles. They ended as Jackie Joyner-Kersee soared to a long-jump triumph and Connie Price-Smith grunted her way to a victory in the shot put and Regina Jacobs sprinted past PattiSue Plumer in a terrific women's 1,500 final.

But the night could be remembered most for marking the beginning of the end of Mary Slaney's career as an elite middle-distance runner. Slaney was passed by Suzy Hamilton going around the final turn and finished fourth in the 1,500.

"With 200 meters to go my legs felt a bit tired and sluggish and I pTC just couldn't make the move," Slaney said. "I really wanted to run in Barcelona. I really did."

Her next hope: qualifying in the 10,000 at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

As Slaney's star dipped, Torrence's rose. The woman who won the 100 while thinking, "No Pain, No Spain," came back to win the 200 despite sore hip flexors and soreness behind her knees.

"Nobody wanted to hear about my legs," Torrence said.

She reeled in second-place finisher Carlette Guidry (22.40) by the end

of the curve and then held on for the triumph. Michelle Finn was third in 22.51.

For Torrence, it was another sign that she is ready to double in Barcelona. Her focus is fixed on a potential rematch with Krabbe in the Olympic 100 and 200 finals. Krabbe's path was cleared to Barcelona when the International Amateur Athletic Federation waived a ban for an alleged dope offense.

"Krabbe knows she can't compete with us without drugs," Torrence said.

Devers won the 100 hurdles in 12.55. LaVonna Martin was second and Lynda Tolbert was third.

"I just thank God for this," said Devers, who became the first American woman to qualify in the 100 hurdles and 100 -- only two years after being diagnosed with Graves' disease.

Joyner-Kersee completed her heavy duty at the meet with a light night. After winning in the women's heptathlon and failing to reach the final in the 100 hurdles, she needed one leap (23 feet-2 3/4 ) to win the long jump. Sheila Echols (22-8) took second and Sharon Couch was third (21-10 3/4 ).

Price-Smith emerged as the toughest woman in the weight events. After winning the discus last weekend, she came back last night to win the shot put at 62-6 1/2 . Runner-up Ramona Pagel earned her third Olympic shot-put berth and Bonnie Dasse was third.

The 1,500 provided the tautest drama of the night, with Jacobs (4:03.72), Plumer (4:04.04) and Hamilton (4:04.53) battling through the stretch for a 1-2-3 finish.

Jacobs, who received her Masters of Business Administration degree at Cal-Berkeley in the spring, said the finish was the culmination of years of sacrifice.

"A lot of my friends were getting jobs making 60 to 90 thousand dollars," she said. "I asked my family if they would help support me in making the Olympic team. They did and I owe it all to them."

Plumer, winner of the women's 3,000, said she would attempt to double in Barcelona. But if she doesn't, Slaney could still sneak ,, on to the team.

And what about Hamilton? She was crying. Not because she finished third, but because her puppy died.

"I'm just glad to make the team," she said. "Going to Barcelona."

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