Sunday, June 09, 2002

Marion Jones wins 100 easily into tough wind

AP Sports Writer

        STANFORD, Calif. — Marion Jones, happy again and winning as usual, swept to victory in the 100 meters at the U.S. Open track meet Saturday night into a head wind that “felt like I was running into a wall.”

        Jones won in 11.20 seconds, a relatively poor time for the woman who has dominated the sprints for the past few years. But it was a decent time when considering the wind was blowing straight into her face.

        “I kept getting stuff in my eyes in the warmup. I would have liked to have good conditions and a good time,” said Jones, who pulled away from the field in the final 20 meters.

        In fact, the dash was just the first sprint of the night for Jones, who won an unprecedented five medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

        After the race, she sped to San Francisco International Airport for a flight to Munich, to be followed by a connecting flight to Prague. She'll run the 200 in a meet in Ostrava, Czech Republic, on Wednesday.

        The women's 100 meters at the meet, held at Stanford University and sponsored by Oracle Corp., was moved an hour earlier so Jones could make her flight.

        Stacy Dragila, who set two world records at this meet last year, won the women's pole vault but cleared only 14 feet, 2 inches. Last year at Stanford, she vaulted 15-9 1/4.

        She said the problem was in her technique, specifically her last couple of steps on the runway, not the wind.

        “For some reason, I couldn't get it together,” she said. “I guess I have to get slapped around a little bit, and I did today.”

        Other women's winners were Gail Devers in the 100 hurdles, Regina Jacobs in the 1,500 and Jearl Miles Clark in the 400. Among the men, the winners included John Godina in the shot put, Kim Collins in the 100, Felix Sanchez in the 400 and William Chirchir in the mile.

        The meet was a warmup for the U.S. national championships to be held on the same track in two weeks. Jones will run the 100 and 200 at that event.

        Jones and other athletes had hoped the U.S. Open would give them a good indication of what conditions will be like for the national championships, but the wind didn't cooperate.

        “It felt like I was running into a wall the whole way,” she said. “This was one you just wanted to get through alive.”

        Jones said she is content again after a tough 2001 in which she got divorced and had her long victory streak broken when she finished behind Zhanna Pintusevich-Block in the 100 at the world championships.

        “I do feel that I have a renewed energy for life and for the sport I love,” she said. “My mom sees me on TV and it's wonderful to hear her say I look happy out there.

        “I think a mother can tell when there's pressure. Mom could always feel when there's a lot going on in my life that perhaps a 26-year-old doesn't need to face.”


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