Jones left behind in trials' 100 dash

Fifth place ends reign as Olympic champion

200, long jump are left

Olympics

July 11, 2004|By Elliott Denman | Elliott Denman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Marion Jones' reign as the queen of the short sprint is over.

A new women's 100-meter champion will be crowned at the Athens Olympics.

Unlike at the 2000 Games in Sydney, Australia, where Jones won three gold medals and two bronzes, there was no magic in her legs yesterday in the Olympic track and field trials at Sacramento State University's Alex G. Spanos Sports Complex.

And so there will be no 100-meter title defense in Greece.

Jones got off to a bad start in the final and wasn't able to muster her usual late-race rush.

Headed to Athens, instead, will be LaTasha Colander, Torri Edwards and Lauryn Williams, who ran 1-2-3 in 10.97, 11.02 and 11.10, respectively.

Also unable to crack the top three was Gail Devers, the two-time Olympic 100 champion whose 1992 (Barcelona) and 1996 (Atlanta) golds preceded Jones' 100 gold in Sydney.

Williams, 20, edged Devers, 37, for third, 11.10 to 11.11. Jones ran an undistinguished 11.14 for fifth.

"The United States has always had [sprint] depth," said Colander, beaming after the biggest victory of her life.

"We're [the U.S. threesome] the ones to beat [in Athens]. Making the Olympic team is an awesome accomplishment.

"Athens, Athens. Here I come, Athens."

Colander wasn't fretting over Jones' setback, either.

"When it's your opportunity, when you have to give everything you've got, this was it. I'm always focusing on myself, and I'm not surprised [about Jones]."

Williams may been the happiest of the three.

"I'm very excited. I had no pressure," she said.

"To go to the Olympic Games to represent your country, that's a great opportunity."

All, of course, isn't lost for either Devers or Jones. Devers is still a top candidate in the 100-meter hurdles. Jones hopes to regroup in the 200 and long jump. And both expect to be named to the 4x100-meter relay squad.

For Jones, though, any further planning is clouded by the possibility of action by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.

The Sydney heroine has steadfastly denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs, though her name has surfaced in the ongoing Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO) probe.

In another unexpected development, Christian Cantwell, who has the four best throws in the world this year, fouled on five of his six attempts and finished fourth in the men's shot put - and out of the running for a trip to Athens.

Adam Nelson won the event at 71 feet, with Reese Hoffa second and John Godina third.

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