Jones Wins Second Gold on Track

Thursday, September 28th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SYDNEY, Australia – Even carrying the added weight of her 330-pound husband's troubles, Marion Jones is too much for the other sprinters of the world.

Showing that her physical talent is at least equal to the mental anguish caused by the revelation that her husband had flunked a steroid test, Jones won an impressive victory in the 200-meter final Thursday and the second of five gold medals she hopes to win in the Olympics.

Her winning time of 21.84 seconds was the fastest in the world this year. And with Pauline Davis-Thompson of the Bahamas finishing four meters back in 22.27 seconds, Jones' .43-second margin of victory was the largest in the Olympics since 1952, when Marjorie Jackson of Australia beat Bertha Brouwer of the Netherlands by .5 of a second.

Susanthika Jayasinghe claimed the bronze medal, Sri Lanka's first Olympic track and field medal in 52 years, in 22.28 seconds.

Australian heroine Cathy Freeman, who won the 400 meters on Monday, finished seventh in the 200.

In a news conference after the race, Jones appeared tired and not at all excited, as she had been after winning the 100 meters on Saturday, two days before the news broke that her husband, C.J. Hunter, had flunked a test for a banned performance-enhancing steroid.

"Relief" was her initial reaction to winning her second gold medal.

But for the most part, she seemed to be in a state of denial. Denial that she was so much better than her opposition. Denial that off-the-track disclosures were affecting her. And denial that Hunter's problems and her own spectacular accomplishments raised questions about whether she was drug free.

On the competition: "I'm not in a class by myself, and I'm not saying that just because these women [Davis-Thompson and Jayasinghe] are sitting next to me. Pauline ran excellent rounds, and every time I saw her just a little faster than me I thought, 'This is going to be interesting.' "

On the disclosures: "What has gone on the last few days is not necessarily pressure but something that could easily have swayed my focus. But it hasn't, and I'm proud of that."

On whether people think she might be using drugs, too: "No, I don't have that feeling, because the people who know me, who support me, who train with me know that I'm a clean athlete."

Jones fielded all the questions, even the difficult ones. For the most part, though, she seemed glum. But Jones couldn't avoid laughing and smiling when Davis-Thompson went off on a rambling tangent about her search for her first sports bra and a coach who once thought she'd never be a good sprinter because she had a large bust and butt.

Jones will go for her third gold medal Friday night in the long jump final, followed by the 4x100- and 4x400-meter relays Saturday night.

"I enjoyed the 100 [meters gold medal] and this one, but I hope to enjoy three more in the next couple of days," she said. "You guys know I'm here for more than just two gold medals."

Davis-Thompson, 34, was competing in her fifth Olympics, but her silver medal was her first in an individual event. However, she warned that the Bahamas was prepared to deny Jones one of her gold medals in the 4x100 relay, which the Bahamas won when Jones was injured at the 1999 World Championships.

While Davis-Thompson won a silver medal in the 200, her tiny island homeland had three other women in the 100-meter final last Saturday.

"We're still the underdog, and we love being in that position," Davis-Thompson said, turning to Jones. "And that's just going to make our victory that much sweeter, Marion."

Smiling, Jones replied, "No one said it was going to be easy."

U.S. sprinter Marion Jones (center) easily wins the gold medal in the women's 200 meter.