U.S. pulls up lame at worlds

Posted: Tuesday, August 26, 2003

SAINT-DENIS, France Tim Montgomery was too slow. Maurice Greene was too lame.

While America's fastest men faltered, a laid-back sprinter from a tiny Caribbean nation won the men's 100 meters Monday at the World Championships.

On a day of disappointment and discipline for Americans, Kim Collins of St. Kitts and Nevis with a population of less than 40,000 was crowned world champ.

U.S. men were shut out of the medals in the marquee event of the world meet, with world record-holder Montgomery managing just a fifth-place finish.

Collins won in a leisurely 10.07 seconds a fifth of a second slower than Montgomery's world record time. Darrel Brown of Trinidad and Tobago won silver and Darren Campbell of Britain was third, both timed in 10.08.

The only other time Americans were shut out of the medals in the men's 100 at the World Championships was in 1995. U.S. sprinters have won the event six of the nine times at the world meet, including Greene three times.

''It shows everybody that, 'Look, man, there are some other people in the world who can do things also.' You don't have to be from a big country, a rich country, a rich family,'' Collins said. ''It doesn't really matter as long as you have some kind of talent.''

Even before the shocking shutout in the 100 final, it had been a long day for the Americans.

Greene's six-year reign as 100-meter champion ended in pain when he hobbled across the finish line next-to-last in his semifinal heat.

Also dethroned was U.S. compatriot Stacy Dragila, who won the only two previous world crowns in the women's pole vault but failed to win a medal this time. She tied for fourth.

In yet another disappointment for the American team, Raasin McIntosh fell on the eighth of the 10 hurdles in the women's 400-meter hurdles and had to be helped off the track.

At the same time, track and field's world governing body ordered U.S. team officials to punish sprinter Jon Drummond by Tuesday night for his tantrum in Sunday's 100 quarterfinals.

And, adding insult to injury, some fans in the Stade de France whistled in derision as ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' was played during the gold-medal ceremony for women's 100 champ Kelli White, who won Sunday.

Collins, 27, who studied sociology at TCU, was sixth in the 100 at the 2001 World Championships in 10.07 his winning time Monday night and seventh at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Wearing a black racing suit and knee-length black socks, Collins surged to the front midway through the race and held on the rest of the way as Montgomery and others lunged for the line.

Collins, who calls himself lazy, said in his Caribbean lilt that he started running simply to attract women.

''I'm not one of those hardworking sprinters, I'm more the relaxed kind,'' he said. ''If I don't feel like training, my coach gets a phone call. I don't feel you should kill yourself. I don't lift weights.''

Greene, who entered the world meet as a three-time defending champion, got off to a great start in his semifinal heat but slowed midway through the race. His face contorted in pain, and he fell far behind the leaders.

Greene grabbed his left leg as soon as he crossed the finish line.

''I got a great start and from my start I just felt my quad muscle pop,'' Greene said. ''I just kept trying to go through it, but it just kept getting worse and worse as I went down the track.''

Greene had not competed in a sprint race for six weeks until the world championships, and has not won a race since June. He has struggled with injuries since winning his third straight world championship in August 2001 in Edmonton.

Greene, who does not expect to run on the U.S. 400-meter relay team at the World Championships, had hoped for an unprecedented fourth 100 title.

''Right now my soul hurts, because I hate to give it up like that,'' he said of his crown.

Also missing from the final was Drummond, who was disqualified for a false start in Sunday's quarterfinals and then threw a tantrum that forced a 45-minute delay in the running of his heat.

Drummond sprawled on the track, preventing the heat from resuming. Then he returned to the starting line, even after being red-carded. He finally left, and wept on a practice track as the heat was rerun.

On Monday, the International Association of Athletics Federations ruled Drummond's ''behavior was improper, unsporting and has brought the sport of athletics into disrepute.''

The IAAF gave USA Track & Field chief executive Craig Masback until 8 p.m. Tuesday to carry out an investigation, give Drummond a hearing and announce a sanction.

''There must be some disciplinary action,'' IAAF general secretary Istvan Gyulai said. ''This is unsportsmanlike and damaging behavior and should not happen again.''

USATF spokeswoman Jill Geer said the federation would study its bylaws to determine ''the proper disciplinary procedure.''

Drummond was not available Monday for comment. He is scheduled to compete in the 400-meter relay this weekend.

If the IAAF is not satisfied with the U.S. action, the world body can impose its own sanctions against Drummond, including suspending him from the rest of the championships, Gyulai said.

Other winners Monday were Svetlana Feofanova of Russia in the women's pole vault, Jacques Freitag of South Africa in the men's high jump, Sweden's Christian Olsson in the men's triple jump and Irina Yatchenko of Belarus in the women's discus.

Two-time world champion Jonathan Edwards of Britain ended his career with a last-place finish in the triple jump, an event in which he also holds the world record and the Olympic title.

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