Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

White Lightning Can Strike Twice

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

White Lightning Can Strike Twice

Article excerpt


WHEN Kelli White talks about "me and Mrs Jones" it is with respect, no great affection and plenty of impatience.

Marion Jones may feel as if she has only loaned out the title of fastest woman on earth while on maternity leave, but her diminutive successor plans to illustrate again in Paris tonight why she'll have one hell of a job winning it back.

Jones, here doing TV commentary, firmly expects to see her powerpacked 5ft 4in compatriot achieve something that has even eluded her during a stellar career; that is, complete a 100m and 200m double at the World Athletics Championships.

After that, White will aim to ambush Jones's much anticipated comeback following the birth of her child in a $75,000 ([pounds sterling]48,000) showdown in Moscow next month.

"Oh, I've years to go and a lot more growing and learning to do to be where she (Jones) is," said White with typical American PR aplomb, while somehow being unable to hide how fed up she is of being asked about Tim Montgomery's missus, as she fancies it's her time now.

Like Jones once did, she is making the others look like selling platers, winning the 100m emphatically on Sunday and, by the look of her strolling 22.50sec semi-final win last night, it's not a question of whether she'll win her longer, stronger event tonight but by how far.

Then Jones could be in trouble. At 26, White, squat and muscular, is coming right into her prime and if her coach Remi Korchemny has not yet been able to make Dwain Chambers the consistent master of the art of power allied to relaxation, he seems to have had no problem with his other charge, even if she's not the greatest starter.

It not only helps that sprinting's in the genes, with dad Willie a former 10.3sec man and mum Debbie a Jamaican Olympic relay runner, but that White's also as tough as nails, something revealed by just the faintest trace of a scar which circles her left eye.

Plastic surgery has largely erased the horror of an attack she suffered nine years ago when, waiting at a train station near her home in Union City just outside San Francisco, a maniacal girl assailant launched an unprovoked attack on her with a kitchen knife which almost saw her lose her left eye. …

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