Dragila vaults to record

Johnson anchors relay team to victory

Posted: Wednesday, July 18, 2001

STOCKHOLM, Sweden -- Michael Johnson and Stacy Dragila set records at the DN Galan meet Tuesday, under different emotional circumstances.

Johnson, competing for the final time in Sweden, anchored a Nike team to victory in the ''Swedish relay'' in which each team's sprinters ran, in order, the 100, 200, 300 and 400 meters.

Johnson, history's greatest 200- and 400-meter runner who is retiring at the end of the season, helped his team improve a 51-year-old record set by another American team by more than a second. The winners finished at 1 minute, 49.09 seconds.

Running down the final stretch, Johnson received a standing ovation from the near-sellout crowd of 15,521 at Olympic Stadium, the venue built for the 1912 Summer Games.

''This was great,'' said Johnson, who never ran the ''Swedish relay'' before. ''We had a great time.''

Talking about his retirement, Johnson told the crowd, ''I'll miss the competition, the excitement. The only thing I won't miss is training.''

Dragila set an Olympic Stadium record of 15 feet, 5 3/4 inches in the women's pole vault, then had a near-miss at her world record.

The Olympic champion, runner-up here the past two years, improved the stadium record on her third and final attempt. The performance -- matching the second-highest jumps ever, twice achieved by Dragila -- earned her a diamond worth $10,000.

Dragila's first try at 15-9 3/4, one-half inch higher than her world record set this summer, was her best.

''I had the height with my first attempt, but I just didn't have the positioning over the bar,'' Dragila said.

''I knew it would be a tough day and that it would go down to the wire to win the diamond.''

When competing in France recently, Dragila sustained a slight injury that hurt her technical training.

''I'm just not getting in the pit properly right now,'' she said. ''I had an injury in Nice, my neck cramped up and it went down to my left hamstring and I've lacked a lot of technical training recently.''

Svetlana Feofanova of Russia was runner-up at 15-1 3/4.

Competing in cold weather and a drizzle, LaTasha Jenkins finished strongly to win the women's 200.

Jenkins overtook Zhanna Pintusevich of Ukraine with about 20 meters left and won at 22.86. Pintusevich was second at 23.14.

Jenkins was slower than the winner of the B race, Debbie Ferguson of the Bahamas, who was timed at 22.77 about 10 minutes earlier. The B race was held in less headwind.

Terrence Trammell, the 2000 Olympic silver medalist in the men's 110 hurdles, beat Allen Johnson, the 1996 gold medalist, in a relatively slow 13.31. Johnson, the fastest in the world this season, was only .01 second behind.

''We all struggled technically tonight,'' Trammell said. ''The hurdles seemed to be going everywhere.''

Ato Boldon of Trinidad & Tobago, who ran the second-fastest time (9.88) of the year when he finished second behind Tim Montgomery at the Bislett Games in Norway four days ago, won the men's 100 at 10.09.

Curtis Johnson and Jon Drummond, who train with Boldon under coach John Smith in Los Angeles, were second and third, respectively, at 10.10 and 10.15.



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