Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Olympics 2000 Notebook

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Olympics 2000 Notebook

Article excerpt

That legendary bugaboo in sports - extraordinary expectations - somewhat diminished the towering Olympic achievements here of the grande dame of American track and field, Marion Jones.

All she did was score dominating victories in the 100 and 200 meters, run a blazing leg on the women's winning 4x400-meter relay, win a bronze in the long jump and another running a superlative leg on the 4x100-meter relay.

That's three golds, two bronzes, and the feeling is, "Aw, nuts."

"In a couple of days when I look back," says Jones, "I'll probably feel these were successful Games."

It's because of Jones's attempt to win five gold medals. And it was Jones who raised the issue of winning five, not the media.

The US women's basketball team beat Australia 76-54 to win the gold. While the men and women invariably are substantially better than their competitors, other countries like Lithuania and France have gotten better. The US allowed France to get within four points with four minutes remaining before subduing their opponents 85-75. Also, the US were almost defeated by eventual bronze medalists Lithuania, barely scraping out a two-point victory.

A dramatic upside surprise for the Americans came in the pole vault, which no American has won since Bob Seagren did it in 1968 in Mexico City.

The victor was Nick Hysong, who won the NCAA championship in 1994 while at Arizona State University. He was one of four competitors who cleared 19 ft. 4-1/4 in. But Hysong made it on his first try. Fellow American Lawrence Johnson, also a NCAA champ, was second, clearing the height on his second effort.

Russian Maksim Tarasov, four-time world champ and defending Olympic gold medalist, was third.

Maurice Greene spent a good part of his Sunday apologizing for the behavior of the US men's 4x100-meter relay team, which won as expected. …

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