White lightning

U.S. sprinter pulls off sweep of 100, 200

Posted: Friday, August 29, 2003

SAINT-DENIS, France Kelli White has spent the World Championships downplaying comparisons to Marion Jones. She can't avoid them now.

White captured the gold medal in the 200 meters Thursday night four days after winning the 100 title to become the first American woman to win both sprints at one world meet. Jones has never done that.

Jones, who had been the defending champion in the 200, is taking time off after giving birth to a son in late June. The winner of an unprecedented five track medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, she plans to return for the 2004 Athens Games.

''I can only be Kelli White. I don't think I can be anybody else,'' White said. ''I made a mark for myself and I hope I'll be appreciated for who I am. A lot of the women here feel underappreciated, and I think we've all proven that we can run very fast.''

White's emergence as a world-class sprinter could set up a scintillating three-way American showdown in the 200 at the Olympics next summer. White and Jones could be joined there by Allyson Felix, the 17-year-old from Los Angeles who turned pro this week.

White took a big lead coming off the turn and was way ahead of the field throughout the race. She finished in 22.05 seconds, the fastest time in the world this year in the 200 Felix had been fastest with a 22.11 this spring.

After crossing the finish line, White held up two fingers on each hand.

But there was no victory lap for White, who felt sick after the race. Having dealt with a migraine headache in the semifinals, White was totally drained after her victory in the final.

''With as much effort as I put into that race and my stomach was pretty empty today, I just emptied the tank,'' she said. ''It was fatigue, body fatigue. I had no more energy left. Even holding the flag was hard work.''

White had to run four heats in the 100 on Saturday and Sunday, and four more heats of the 200 two on Tuesday, one Wednesday and the final Thursday. She also plans to run on the U.S. 400-meter relay this weekend.

White was the victim of an unprovoked knife attack in 1994 while in high school in California, and still has a long facial scar that's a constant reminder of the more than 300 stitches she needed.

She never won a state high school title, nor an NCAA title while at Tennessee. Instead, the daughter of 1972 Jamaican Olympian Debra Byfield came to France and won two sprint titles.

''I'm not disappointed with that,'' she said with a straight face. ''This is where it counts. I'd rather have it now than when I was 16 or 17.''

The only other women to win both sprints at a World Championships are Germans Silke Gladisch in 1987 and Katrin Krabbe in 1991.

Anastasiya Kapachinskaya of Russia was second in a personal-best time of 22.38. U.S. sprinter Torri Edwards, who was the silver medalist in the 100, added a bronze in the 200.

The success of White and Edwards who gave the U.S. team four of the six medals in the women's sprints is in stark contrast to the squad's male sprinters, who were shut out of the medals in the 100.

But U.S. men hope to do considerably better in the 200.

All three Americans qualified for Friday night's final, with U.S. champion Darvis Patton running the fastest time of 20.03 a personal best in Thursday's semifinals. Also qualifying for the final were John Capel and Joshua Johnson.

Other winners Thursday were Italy's Giuseppe Gibilisco in the men's pole vault, Cuba's Yipsi Moreno in the women's hammer throw and Australia's Jana Pittman in the women's 400-meter hurdles. American Sandra Glover won a silver medal in the hurdles.

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