SYDNEY: Marion Jones had barely finished her victory lap when Maurice Greene
joined her as an Olympic 100m champion with a time of 9.87 seconds. Jones,
who as a youngster wrote on a bedroom blackboard "I want to be an Olympic
champion," got her wish on Saturday by winning the women's 100m final in
"It's been my dream for 19 years, and finally it's here," said a sobbing
Jones, who hopes to win five gold medals in Sydney.
Jones had just completed a joyous, playful lap around the Olympic Stadium,
waving small US and Belize flags, when Greene sped to his gold medal. He
then threw a shoe into the crowd, and wrapped himself in a flag. Jones'
mother was born in Belize.
Greene wrapped his head in his hands after crossing the finish line, then
threw his red-white-and-blue shoes into the crowd and wrapped himself in a
Jones, wearing chrome-plated shoes so shiny they looked like mirrors, went
sleeveless on a cool night on which wind swirled around the sold-out
110,000-seat Olympic Stadium.
After a false start by Ekaterini Thanou of Greece, Jones made up an early
deficit to Jamaica's Tanya Lawrence and sped past the field to win by a big
margin. Thanou won the silver medal in 11.12 seconds and Lawrence was third
Jones' victory was the first step in what she has made a quest for five gold
medals. Only one track athlete, the "Flying Finn" Paavo Nurmi, has won that
many in one Olympics. He did it in Paris 76 years ago.
"It's nice to have the first one done. I don't know if it's going to be
harder or easier (from now on)," she said. "I've seen a lot of Olympic
Games, I've seen a lot of people cross the (finish) line and I was thinking
"I was like, `There's no way. I was going to cross that line and be a cool
cat. I'm going to run, I'm going to celebrate. Then when you cross that line
and everything all of a sudden just hits you when you realize that you can
be described as an Olympic champion, finally, it was very emotional."
Jones' husband, shot putter C.J. Hunter, was all smiles as his wife circled
"I'm just very, very happy. That's what she likes is challenges," Hunter
said. "I think this is the easiest of her events, but we're totally
confident she can do anything."
Merlene Ottey of Jamaica, 40, who has won two silver and five bronze Olympic
medals, just missed out this time, finishing fourth in 11.19 in the women's
Ottey recently returned after serving a one-year drug ban. She was
substituted at the last minute for teammate Peta-Gaye Dowdie - leading to
protests by some Jamaican team members.
In the men's 100, Greene defeated training partner Ato Boldon of Trinidad
and Tobago, who took silver in the 100 for the second straight Olympics. He
finished in 9.99 seconds. Obadele Thompson of Barbados was third in 10.04.
Greene, who holds the world record at 9.79 seconds, failed to qualify for
the 1996 Olympics and cried while sitting in the stands while watching the
100 final at the Atlanta Games.
This time, he was all smiles as he crossed the finish line and thrust his
***in the air. AP