SACRAMENTO, CALIF. Perhaps it was the stress of fighting doping allegations. Maybe it was the physical and emotional strains of motherhood. Or perhaps time, and a new generation of sprinters, are finally catching up with her.
Marion Jones failed to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team in the 100 meters Saturday night, losing out on a chance to defend her gold medal at the Athens Games.
Jones finished fifth in the final at the U.S. Olympic trials. The top three make the team.
Jones, who won five medals at the 2000 Sydney Games, still can make the Olympic team if she qualifies in the 200 meters or long jump. Or she could be picked for a relay team. She is under investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, although she has denied using drugs and has not been charged by USADA.
Jones, 28, walked off the track smiling and even signed autographs for fans. But she walked quickly past a horde of reporters.
"When I talk, you guys have something negative to say. When I don't talk, you have something negative to say," she said. "I'd rather not talk and spend the time with my son."
LaTasha Colander won the final in 10.97 seconds. World champ Torri Edwards was second in 11.02 and NCAA champ Lauryn Williams took the third Olympic spot in 11.10.
Gail Devers, a two-time Olympic champion in the 100, was fourth in 11.11, followed by Jones in 11.14.
Jones once dominated the 100. The former two-time world champion had a streak of 42 straight wins in finals from 1997 to 2001.
Her boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, advanced to the semifinals of the men's 100 by finishing fourth in his quarterfinal heat with a time of 10.16 seconds. Montgomery has been charged with steroid use by USADA and faces a lifetime ban if found guilty. Even if he makes the U.S. team, he still must await a ruling in his case by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. If the CAS rules against him, Montgomery would be barred from the Athens Games.