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Miller's Injury Deprives Jones of a Top Rival

Track and field: Pasadena Muir and USC sprinter pulls out of 100 because of strained hamstring and is uncertain for 200 and 400 relay.


SYDNEY, Australia — Injured sprinter Inger Miller, favored to win two silver medals and a gold, withdrew from the 100 meters today in a development that could have a significant impact on U.S. teammate Marion Jones' chances to become the first woman track and field athlete to win five gold medals in a single Olympics.

Miller, formerly of Pasadena Muir and USC, was expected to provide the greatest threat to Jones in the 100 and 200 and support in the 400-meter relay. But Miller strained a hamstring during a workout in Westwood on Sept. 7, the day before she and her HSI club teammates left for Sydney.

She said today that her condition has not improved enough for her to compete in the 100, which begins with the first and second rounds Friday at the Olympic Stadium. But she said that she still hopes to run in the 200--the first round is scheduled for next Wednesday--and the subsequent relay.

Torri Edwards, formerly of Pomona High and USC, will replace Miller in the 100.

"It's part of a plan I had no control over," Miller said. "I'm disappointed I'm not following my plan. But I'm just trying to go with the flow.

"I'm really trying to be not as disappointed as I was when [the injury] happened or as disappointed as I was when I decided not to run Friday. It was a hard decision, but I didn't want to jeopardize my other events."

Miller is the third U.S. medal favorite to withdraw from an event for health reasons. World champion shotputter C.J. Hunter, Jones' husband, is not competing after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery and Regina Jacobs, second in the World Championships in 1997 and '99 in the 1,500 meters, had a viral infection that interrupted her training.

Miller, 28, was injured five weeks before the 1996 Summer Olympics after her car flipped over on the freeway. But she rebounded to run in the 400 relay, adding a gold medal to the silver and bronze that her father, former Jamaican sprinter Lennox Miller, won in the 100 meters in 1968 and '72. They became the first father-daughter team to win Olympic track and field medals.

Miller finished second to Jones in the 100 and won the 200--after Jones was injured--in last summer's World Championships and declared that the Olympics would "not be a one-woman show."

She, however, has not beaten Jones this year, despite coming close in the 100 in August in Zurich, Switzerland. Jones caught Miller at the finish line after starting poorly.

But Miller's coach, John Smith, said he believed she was ready to beat Jones before the injury.

"Dreams come true in the Olympic Games," he said. "I thought she was ready to run. She was preparing herself for a coming out party. I train [my athletes] to win, not to come in second."

Jones' competition in her three individual events--100, 200 and long jump--is shrinking. France's Christine Arron, given a chance to push Jones in the 100, is recovering from bronchitis and might not run, and the world champion long jumper, Niurka Montalvo, was not allowed to enter here by her native country, Cuba, because she wanted to compete for her adopted country, Spain.

But Australia's Cathy Freeman, the two-time world champion in the 400 who is favored in that event, has decided to challenge Jones in the 200.

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