Marion Jones won't run at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays in Walnut later this month because she's not ready to begin her outdoor season, a meet official said he was told by Jones' agent, Charles Wells.
Jones, who won three gold medals and two bronze medals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, is a 1993 graduate of Thousand Oaks High and has sentimental ties to the meet. She competed there as a youngster with junior track clubs and has started her season at Mt. SAC each of the last five years, running the 400 last year and the 300 in 2001.
She said in February she would return to Mt. SAC this year, but the turmoil of twice making coaching changes left her unprepared to compete outdoors, Wells told the meet official, who requested anonymity. The official said Wells told him Jones plans to run at Mt. SAC next year.
Wells did not return calls inquiring about Jones' coaching situation or her schedule. It's unclear if she will compete in the June 1 Golden Spike meet in Carson that will inaugurate the new Home Depot Training Center, as organizers had hoped.
Jones and her on- and off-track partner, men's 100-meter world-record holder Tim Montgomery, left coach Trevor Graham in December to train with Derek Hansen and Charlie Francis. However, Jones and Montgomery ended that association in February partly because of the negative connotations of working with Francis, who was banned from working with Canadian national team athletes as punishment for having supplied banned drugs to sprinter Ben Johnson before the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
Jones said in early February that she and Montgomery would interview other coaches, but she has not announced a replacement. They live and train near Raleigh, N.C.
Sydney 100-meter gold medalist Maurice Greene and four-time women's 100-meter NCAA champion Angela Williams are among the elite athletes who plan to run at Mt. SAC.
Greene is expected to run a relay with Jon Drummond, Kaaron Conwright and Mickey Grimes, and Williams is likely to team with Inger Miller and others in a relay. The competition, to be held April 17-19, has also drawn a strong field for the college events, including teams from USC, UCLA, Arkansas, Louisiana State, Kentucky, Washington State, Stanford, Purdue, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Arizona, Oregon and Abilene Christian. Other schools will send split squads.