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Archive for Sunday, October 1, 2000

Jones’ haul: three gold, two bronze medals

October 1, 2000

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— Americans finally had a big night at the Olympic track, prompting three performances of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for U.S. relay teams standing atop the victory stand.

And that's when the trouble began.

Marion Jones won gold in the U.S. women's 1,600-meter relay and bronze with the 400-meter squad making her the only woman to win five track medals at one Olympics. The U.S. men swept both relays Saturday.

Jones finished the Olympics with three gold medals and two bronze medals.

Michael Johnson capped his golden Olympic career by running the anchor leg on the winning 1,600-meter relay team, preserving his record of having won only gold in his five Olympic and nine world championship medals.

In the 400-meter relay, Maurice Greene was the anchor as the U.S. squad won in 37.61 seconds. On a victory lap, the Americans two of them barechested and wrapped in the stars and stripes preened and flexed muscles while posing for several minutes.

And, when awarded their medals by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, the foursome Greene, Jon Drummond, Bernard Williams and Brian Lewis continued clowning. Greene stuck his tongue out at cameras.

That didn't go over well with some U.S. teammates.

"The girls were thinking we're kind of ashamed. For us, we tried to handle it with more dignity. That's not the image we want up there," said Nanceen Perry of the women's 400-meter relay team.

"The whole way they were going about it, making all sorts of comical faces you could do a little bit of that, but they were doing it throughout the national anthem. How do you expect anybody to respect our flag if you don't? I think foreigners think we're rude, anyway, so it just confirms the whole image they have of us."

One of the foursome wrapped a flag around his head. A barechested Williams draped himself in a flag and flapped it as though he were a bird.

"What I would say to Bernard is: 'Sometimes, don't get caught up in the moment. You represent the USA. It's a bigger spectrum than here, it's all around the world," said 1,600 relay team member Antonio Pettigrew. "We have an image to portray, we represent the USA proudly and there's a time and a place for everything."

Greene and Drummond later apologized, saying they were lost in the excitement of the moment and were sorry if they offended anyone.

"Jon Drummond never won an Olympic gold before, so sorry," Drummond said. "You have a lot of emotion bottled up. Your focus is on one thing for so long. When we finally have that opportunity to exhale, we're just expressing ourselves the way we know how."

There also were finals in five individual events Saturday.

Nouria Merah-Benida of Algeria won the women's 1,500. Suzy Favor Hamilton, trying to become the first U.S. woman to win a medal in the event, was leading until the final 200 meters but then faded and fell and finished last.

Favor Hamilton, who collapsed about 75 meters from the finish line when she already had faded to the middle of the field, collapsed again after crossing the finish line and was taken off the track slumped in a wheelchair.

She was disoriented after the race and treated for dehydration, but later walked by herself out of the medical area and left for her hotel.

Marla Runyan, who is legally blind and the first U.S. paralympian to reach the Olympics, was eighth.

Derartu Tulu led a 1-2 finish by Ethiopia in the women's 10,000 meters. Her compatriot, Millon Wolde, won the men's 5,000. Yelena Yelesina of Russia won the women's high jump, and Trine Hattestad of Norway won the women's javelin.

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