The Olympics: Friday

Marion Jones settles for bronze, the U.S. "Dream Team" is nearly knocked off and discord over dope remains high.



Kerry Lauerman
September 29, 2000 6:18PM (UTC)

Marion Jones' hyped "drive for five" was derailed Friday when she won only the bronze in the long jump, considered her weakest event. Jones fouled on four of her six jumps, and wound up jumping only 22 feet, 8 1/4 inches, tying Italy's Fiona May, who earned the silver by making the distance on fewer jumps.

Ironically, the woman who won the gold, German veteran Heike Drechsler, 35, who jumped less than an inch under 23 feet, is the last woman to earn the same comparisons with Carl Lewis as Jones now does. In the late 1980s, Drechsler set records in both sprints and long jumps, and was considered a threat to win the same four gold medals in the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea, that Lewis won in Los Angeles in 1984, and that Jones has sought this year (the long jump, 100 meters, 200 meters and 4-by-100-meter relay). But Drechsler won only silver (in the long jump) and bronze (the 100 and 200) in Seoul, and soon became purely a long jump expert, winning gold in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, and defeating her longtime rival, America's Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Drechsler missed the 1996 Games because of injuries.

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Jones now will anchor the 4-by-100-meter and the 4-by-400 meter relays Saturday. Because of injuries to other teammates, the United States no longer is considered the overwhelming favorite in either race.

Rude awakening for "Dream Team"
Without the exaggerated hype of the past two Olympics, the NBA-laden U.S. men's basketball team seems to be severely underperforming, barely squeaking by Lithuania Friday 85-83 when Lithuania's star, Sarunas Jasikevicius, missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. A loss would have been one of the biggest Olympic upsets of all time. Instead, the Dream Teamers will lug their badly wounded egos into Saturday's gold-medal game against France.

USA Track proposes turning over tests
USA Track and Field, under global fire for keeping questionable doping tests quiet, has proposed turning over its entire drug control program to an independent organization.

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For people who have lost count, 36 athletes with aspirations in the Sydney Olympics have seen their dreams go bust because of failed drug tests, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, which has created a "Hall of Shame."

Miscellaneous
Nick Hysong of the United States won the gold medal in the pole vault, clearing 19 feet, 4 1/4 inches. His teammate, Lawrence Johnson, won the silver ... Boxers Ricardo Williams Jr. (139 pounds) and Rocky Juarez (125 pounds) had a big third round and are the only Americans to make it to the gold-medal boxing finals, which take place Sunday ... Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco, the overwhelming favorite in the metric mile, finished second behind Kenyan Noah Ngeny, his first loss since 1997. El Guerrouj also lost in 1996 when, as the favorite, he collided with another runner in the final lap and finished last.


Kerry Lauerman

Kerry Lauerman is Salon's Editor in Chief. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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