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Crawford leads U.S. sweep of 200 meters

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2004

ATHENS, Greece Shawn Crawford stood silently amid the Greek chorus of whistles and boos delaying his race. For four minutes, he fought to stay composed while rowdy fans chanted the name of their country and their disgraced sprinting star.

It made little difference to Crawford and his teammates. They finished 1-2-3 in the 200 meters Thursday in a big night for U.S. athletes before a restive crowd that wanted to see defending champion Kostas Kenteris and got an American sweep instead.

Crawford took the lead off the turn and finished in 19.79 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year and a personal best. Bernard Williams tied his personal best of 20.01 seconds for silver. Justin Gatlin, the 100 champion, won bronze in 20.03.

''We're here at the birthplace of the Olympics, the defending Olympic champion is from Greece and there were certain situations that didn't allow him to compete,'' Crawford said. ''I can understand their feelings, I know they're disappointed, I know they're upset.''

The crowd still cheered at the finish. It was the sixth time the United States has taken all three 200 medals the last sweep was led by Carl Lewis in 1984.

And it gave the United States a total of 18 track and field medals, just two behind the total from Sydney, with the relays and several other events still to come. Russia is next with nine medals.

Dwight Phillips added to the U.S. haul, leading a 1-2 American finish in the long jump with NCAA champion John Moffitt taking silver. In the first round of the 400-meter relay, Marion Jones ran the second leg as the U.S. team's 41.67 matched its own best time in the world this year.

Crawford and Williams were doing a victory lap, draped together in an American flag, when Phillips climbed the victory stand to accept his gold medal. The sprinters stopped on the track as ''The Star-Spangled Banner'' was played. Williams put his right hand over his heart.

Olympic Stadium was packed, largely because Greeks thought they would be watching Kenteris, who withdrew from the Athens Games after missing a drug test.

Phillips won the long jump with a leap of 28 feet, 2 1/4 inches on his first attempt. Moffitt won silver at 27-9 1/2. Joan Lino Martinez of Spain took the bronze medal.

Four years ago in Sydney, Americans failed to medal in the long jump for the first time since the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games.

Felix Sanchez won the Dominican Republic's first Olympic gold medal, capturing the 400-meter hurdles in more of a coronation than a triumph. Sanchez has not lost in more than three years, winning two world championships and dominating his event more than any other track and field athlete.

Sanchez, born in New York and raised in San Diego, won in 47.63.

Also Thursday, Terrence Trammell advanced to the final of the 110-meter hurdles, but U.S. teammate Duane Ross failed to make it out of the semifinals.

France's Ladji Doucoure ran the fastest time of 13.06 in the semifinals. Trammell, a silver medalist in Sydney, tied for second fastest with 13.17. Also reaching the final were defending champion Anier Garcia of Cuba and medal favorite Liu Xiang of China.

In the 400-meter relay, Jones took the baton and sped down the straightaway. By the time she handed it off to 100-meter silver medalist Lauryn Williams, the United States was well on its way to winning the heat.

The race may have implications long after the Olympics. Jones is under investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, and if she is found guilty of using banned drugs it could impact any medal the team might win.

Diving

ATHENS, Greece The U.S. diving team is staring at its first medals shutout in 92 years after Rachelle Kunkel finished ninth in the 3-meter springboard, far behind a 1-2 finish by the powerful Chinese.

Rhythmic Gymnastics

ATHENS, Greece Upset with marks given to American Mary Sanders in qualifying, the U.S. team filed an inquiry with the International Gymnastics Federation seeking a review of her hoop routine.

Sanders finished 18th out of 24 gymnasts in the first of two qualifying rounds. The top 10 gymnasts after Friday's second round advance. Sanders received a technical score the measure of difficulty of 4.6 in hoop.

Canoe-Kayak

SCHINIAS, Greece Frenchman Babak Amir Tahmasseb edged U.S. kayaker Rami Zur at the finish, ending the American team's best hope for a medal.

With a last desperate stroke, Tahmasseb launched his boat so violently that he fell into the water, but managed to take third in the 500-meter single kayak race.

Zur failed to advance to the finals.

The medal races Friday and Saturday will be dominated by the traditional powerhouses in flatwater canoe and kayak racing eastern European countries that were once part of the communist bloc.



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