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Jones takes 200, but her medal hopes take a hit

Posted: Friday, September 29, 2000

SYDNEY, Australia -- Subtracting two teammates could add up to disappointment Down Under for U.S. gold medalist Marion Jones.

Jones, winner of the 100 and 200-meter sprints, had her eye on five gold medals in Sydney. But word came down Friday (Thursday night EDT) that half of the U.S. 400-meter relay team -- Inger Miller and Gail Devers -- would miss the race with injuries.

Miller has already flown home from Sydney, while Devers leaves this weekend. Both suffered hamstring injuries.

Losing the pair leaves the U.S. team vulnerable, and puts Jones' hopes for an unprecedented Sydney sweep in danger. She hopes to win the long jump, the 400-meter relay and the 1,600-meter relay.

On Friday, Jones rested for the long jump while her healthy teammates won their 400 relay heat. Also advancing were top rivals Jamaica and the Bahamas; Australia was ousted by a dropped baton.

In the men's 50-kilometer walk, Robert Korzeniowski of Poland completed a sweep of the men's walking medals. Korzeniowski, who received gold in the 20-kilometer walk last week when Bernardo Segura of Mexico was disqualified, finished in 3 hours, 42 minutes, 22 seconds.

American Maurice Greene and his teammates on the 400-meter relay squad sped to a time of 38.15 seconds -- fastest in the first round Friday. The semifinals were set for later in the day.

Jones remained unflappable and unbeaten in Australia, breezing to her second gold medal in the 200 Thursday. Unfazed by the firestorm created by her husband's alleged steroid use, she flashed a wide smile after an easy victory.

With husband C.J. Hunter watching from the stands, Jones took an early lead before blowing the field away in 21.84 seconds. After winning by the biggest margin in 40 years, Jones interrupted her victory lap to plant two kisses and a hug on her husband.

Hunter, the world shot put champion, has denied knowingly taking anabolic steroids.

The men's 200 was a washout for the Americans. When Coby Miller and John Capel finished seventh and eighth, it marked the first time since 1928 that the U.S. team was shut out in the event during a boycott-free games.

American Chris Huffins, after leading for much of the two-day decathlon, wound up with a bronze.

The Americans remained atop the medal chart with 76 (32 gold, 18 silver, 26 bronze). Russia followed with 58 (19-18-21), while China had 56 (26-15-15).

n SOCCER: The American women, defending gold medalists and World Cup champions, lost a 3-2 overtime nail-biter Thursday to nemesis Norway. The stunning defeat came just 12 minutes after the United States, with barely seconds left in injury time, tied the game at the end of regulation on a header by Tiffeny Milbrett.

But momentum and luck were not with the U.S. women. A twice-deflected ball landed at the feet of Norway's Dagny Mellgren, who slid the ball off the left hand of outstretched goalie Siri Mullinix for the clincher.

Milbrett, who tied the game off a pass from Mia Hamm, also scored the first U.S. goal.

The victory leaves Norway as the only nation with an all-time winning record (15-13-2) against the United States. The Norwegians are also the only team to beat the Americans in a World Cup or Olympic tournament, the other victory coming in the 1995 World Cup semifinals.

Germany defeated Brazil 2-0 to take the bronze, its first medal in women's soccer.

n GYMNASTICS: Romanian Olympic Committee president Ion Tiriac is quitting after watching gymnast Andreea Raducan stripped of her gold in the all-around gymnastics.

Tiriac, who said his decision would become official in the next three weeks, had introduced a harsh life-ban policy for any Romanian athlete found guilty of doping. In the Raducan case, where the teen lost her medal over a cold remedy provided by a team doctor, Tiriac vociferously argued against penalizing Raducan.

''Maybe the person who replaces me will be smarter than me and include some clause (in the doping suspension rules) so we don't have ridiculous situations like this,'' he said.

n WATER POLO: A last-ditch bid came up short as the U.S. men lost 11-10 to Russia in the Olympic quarterfinals, eliminating them from Sydney medal competition. A two-on-one break with under a minute left collapsed when Tony Azevedo couldn't hold on to the ball, and the undefeated Russians claimed victory.

n TENNIS: It was all in the family for Venus and Serena Williams. The sisters teamed up to take the Olympic gold in doubles, easily dispatching Dutch players Miriam Oremans and Kristie Boogert 6-1, 6-1.

One day earlier, in her first Olympic trip, Venus had captured the gold in singles. The straight-set victory made them the first sisters to capture a gold in Olympic doubles.

And Venus became just the second woman to win a gold in singles and doubles, joining 1924 Olympian Helen Wills of the United States.

n BASKETBALL: In another surprisingly tough game, the NBA all-star U.S. team beat Russia 85-70 to advance into the Olympic semifinals. Though the Americans cruised in the second half, they led by just five at the half -- their smallest lead ever after 20 minutes.

Kevin Garnett led the Americans with 16.

They will next play the Lithuanian team that threw a major scare into the Americans, losing by the closest margin ever to a ''Dream Team'' -- nine points in a preliminary round game.

Host Australia, led by Andrew Gaze's 27 points, advanced to the semifinals with a 65-62 victory over Italy. Gaze, a starter on the 1989 Seton Hall NCCA Final Four team, scored 13 of the last 15 Australian points to become the second-leading scorer in Olympic history.

The Aussies face France in the other semifinal.

n TAEKWONDO: In a come-from-behind victory, American Steven Lopez captured the first U.S. gold medal in taekwondo.

A Lopez kick in the final period tied his bout 1-1. When that wound up as the final score, the Sugarland, Texas, resident received the win because South Korean Sin Jun-sik had penalties during the fight.

n WOMEN'S VOLLEYBALL: They were good, but not good enough for gold. The U.S. women, a surprising semifinalist, lost a five-setter to the favored Russians 25-15, 23-25, 25-15, 26-28, 15-8. The Americans, longshots for a medal coming in, face Brazil for the bronze medal Saturday (Friday night EDT).

Russia plays two-time defending champion Cuba for the gold.



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