SYDNEY-The world's fastest man and woman will be crowned tonight, lighting the fuse on a week-long track and field explosion at the Sydney Olympics.
The glamour athletes of the Games take center stage, battling for medals and the world's attention.
The stars came out in force Friday night and they didn't disappoint the huge crowd in Sydney Olympic Stadium. Marion Jones, Michael Johnson, Maurice Greene and Cathy Freeman won their heats in convincing fashion and set the stage for battles the rest of the week.
Finals in the men's and women's 100 meters come Saturday night and finals in the men's and women's 400 meters are Monday night.
Looking happy and relaxed, Jones won her second-round 100-meter race with a time of 11.83, despite running with a bodysuit in the cool night air.
"It was chilly tonight so I wore the suit," said Jones, who hopes to make history by winning five gold medals. "But I need to run faster to win gold.
"I just feel very good and I'm glad the day is over and I can look forward to faster times tomorrow."
Maurice Greene said he would be more intense for the 100-meter
"It's okay. I got through it safely," he said. "That's the important thing and I won so it's okay. I ran about 85 percent tonight. I just wanted to start piecing it together and put it all together. It's time to get serious. Play time is over."
Cathy Freeman thrilled the huge crowd by blowing by everyone in her 400-meter heat. She received the loudest ovation of the night.
Hazel Clark, Joetta Clark Diggs and Jearl Miles-Clark kept their sister act together as they all qualified for the semifinals in the 800 meters.
Ato Boldon of Trinidad and Tobago, Curtis Johnson and Jon Drummong of the United States, all qualified, but defending Olympic champion Donovan Bailey did not.
"It's very tough," said Baily, a Canadian. "It is one of those things that sometimes oyou can't control. This is probably my last time at the Olympics."
Medals were awarded in shotput, and the United States finished second, third and fourth despite the absence of world champion C.J. Hunter, out with a knee injury. Arsie Harju of Finland won the gold medal, Adam Nelson the silver and John Godina the bronze. Andrew Bloom finished fourth.
It was the first shot put champion from Finland since 1920.
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