JONATHAN EDWARDS' illustrious 15-year career in triple-jumping came to a bizarre and premature end here last night as he managed only two jumps in the final before scratching from the competition.
Having registered two attempts of 14.06m and 16.31m, more than a metre below his standard level and not enough to put him in the top eight competitors earning three final jumps, he indicated to an official that he would not be making a third and final attempt to progress. Smiling ruefully, he pointed down to the right ankle which he injured so traumatically just over a fortnight ago at Crystal Palace.
A career that had lifted triple-jumping to a new level had ended with a whimper, and the final flourish which the 37-year-old had so desired, in what he had announced would be his last competition, did not come to pass.
The World Championships prepared to acclaim a new 100m champion as Maurice Greene's long run of success came to a distressing end. The Texan limped away from the competition after failing to qualify from his semi- final, and his place in the US relay team this weekend is now open to question.
The 29-year-old former world record holder, who was seeking his fourth straight title here, was clearly troubled by an injury high on his left leg as he left the track after finishing seventh in his semi-final.
"I got a good start," he said. "It wasn't that. But then I felt my quad. I tried to run through it and it got worse and worse the further I went down the track. I can't tell how bad it is until tomorrow. I'm not even thinking about the relays right now. I will not try to run until this totally heals."
Greene arrived at the previous World Championships in Edmonton carrying an injury, but was able to retain his title despite the problem. Since then, however, he has endured two years of patchy form, and his aura of invincibility - heightened by his world record of 9.79sec in 1999 - began to disappear.
His misfortune compounded what was already a bad day for American sprinting after the announcement that disciplinary action was being taken against his compatriot, Jon Drummond for his protest at being disqualified from the 100m on Sunday.
Greene was not the only high-profile casualty of the semi- finals, which saw Britain's Mark Lewis-Francis finish last in his race in the hugely disappointing …