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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP / East County | Thousand Oaks

Residents Cheer Local Olympian

September 29, 2000|JOSH KARP

Two down. Three to go.

That's the scorecard for Thousand Oaks High School graduate Marion Jones, who earned her second Olympic gold medal by winning the women's 200 meters Thursday night in Sydney.

Jones, who graduated in 1993, is aiming to become the second Olympian to win five gold medals in track and field. The long jump and the 400 and 1600 meter relays are Jones' remaining events.

Hundreds of local supporters were expected to show up at the Thousand Oaks High School Performing Arts Center from 8 to 10:30 p.m. Thursday to cheer for Jones during the tape-delayed broadcast of her gold-medal run. Jones' former track coach, Art Green, and former Thousand Oaks High teammates attended the rally, which was sponsored by Jones' official Web site, www.marionjones.com.

"They're just proud that she spent some time here. It was a part of her life," Green said of local residents' support for Jones.

Green was confident Jones would capture the gold in the 200-meter competition.

"I didn't have any doubts," he said. "That's probably her favorite and her best race."

Jones, whose two gold medal wins have come in the aftermath of reports that her husband, shot putter C.J. Hunter, failed four tests this year for a steroid, was able to concentrate on the task at hand.

"That's gotta be in the back of her mind but she's able to do her business," Green said. "She's been looking forward to this for a long time. But it is tough."

As for Jones' remaining events, Green was optimistic.

"I think individually she'll be able to do it, and if the relay teams come through like the Americans have, she'll have a real good chance," he said. "She'll definitely do her part."

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