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Jones stumbles, recovers

Associated Press
Published June 20, 2004

EUGENE, Ore. - Perhaps the fight against the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is wearing down Marion Jones.

Jones finished fifth behind winner Inger Miller in the women's 100 meters at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday but later won the long jump.

"It kind of balanced out the day," she said.

Jones jumped 22 feet, 9 inches, 81/2 inches farther than her previous best this season.

The 100 meters, though, was anything but encouraging for her final race before the Olympic trials, which begin July 9 in Sacramento, Calif. She is resigned to the fact the USADA investigation of her will not be resolved by then.

"I see it going through the trials and probably right up to the Games," Jones said. "I would love for it to have been yesterday and for it to be done tomorrow. But it just seems this organization is just dragging its feet, and I'm to the point where I've done everything I could."

Jones wasn't the only big name beaten.

Maurice Greene was second to Shawn Crawford in the men's 100, and Allen Johnson was edged by Larry Wade in the 110-meter hurdles.

Crawford finished in 9.88 seconds. Greene, the reigning Olympic champion, was second at 9.93 and former Gator and Hernando High star John Capel third at 9.95, the three fastest times in the world this year.

Jones' boyfriend, Tim Montgomery, also under scrutiny by the USADA, was sixth in the eight-man field at 10.17 seconds.

Johnson, the four-time world champion and 1996 Olympic champion, was nosed out by Wade at the finish, both finishing in 13.14.

Stacy Dragila, the 2000 Olympic champion, won the pole vault at 15-51/2 and narrowly missed three times at a world record 16 feet. On the last two attempts, she cleared the bar only to clip it with her wrist on the way down.

Miller came on at the finish to nip 37-year-old Gail Devers, the two-time Olympic champion who ran her first 100 of the season.

The winner of five medals in the 2000 Olympics, Jones has taken the offensive in the agency's investigation of her ties to BALCO. BALCO founder Victor Conte is one of four men indicted on charges of distributing steroids to top athletes.

USADA officials are examining documents and other circumstantial evidence it says it has involving Jones. She has denied taking performance-enhancing drugs.

"I can only hope," Jones said. "It's out of my hands. I've done what I can do as you guys have heard me say a lot of times. Whether people want to believe me or not, I've said what I had to say."

Asked if the BALCO case has taken a toll on Jones, Montgomery said, "I think the results show it."

But Jones disagreed.

"I refuse to use that as an excuse," she said. "I just didn't have it."

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