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Jones Has Lackluster Run in 100

Sprinter says doping investigation has no bearing on her fifth-place finish at Prefontaine Classic, where she wins the long jump with a season-best leap.

June 20, 2004|Helene Elliott | Times Staff Writer

EUGENE, Ore. — It was a day of mixed results for the Marion Jones-Tim Montgomery household at the Prefontaine Classic.

Jones, under investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for possible steroid use, finished an unaccustomed fifth in the 100-meter dash but won the long jump. Montgomery, the world record holder in the 100 and father of the couple's year-old son, finished sixth in his signature race and afterward said he believed that Kelli White, who recently accepted a two-year ban from USADA for drug use, had made accusations about him to the anti-doping agency.

White, who was stripped of her 2003 world titles in the 100 and the 200, agreed to testify against other athletes.

The case against him, Montgomery said, "is not on paper. It's all somebody saying something. It's Kelli White and she don't live with me, so I don't know how she would know.... USADA is making up the rules. How can you have someone testify when they don't even swear under oath?"

Montgomery's attorney, Cristina Arguedas, said in a statement last week that Victor Conte had brought Montgomery's name into the investigation. Conte is founder of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, a nutritional supplement manufacturer that was raided by federal agents last year for what prosecutors say is evidence it distributed steroids to dozens of elite athletes.

Montgomery, Chryste Gaines, Michelle Collins and Alvin Harrison have received letters from USADA notifying them of potential drug violations. Jones reiterated Saturday she has not received such a letter and has heard nothing from the agency since May 24. Gaines said she had not been told which substance she's accused of using "so I don't have anything to fight." She added she'd take legal action if she was excluded from the Athens Olympic team. "There's no grounds," she said.

Montgomery said the strain of constant scrutiny was weighing on Jones, with whom he lives in Raleigh, N.C. "The results show it," he said.

Jones, however, blamed her own fade for her 11.12 finish in the 100. Inger Miller, who was timed in 11.05 seconds, won in a photo finish over Gail Devers, who was also clocked at 11.05. Gaines (11.06) was third, and LaTasha Colander (11.10) was fourth.

Jones won the long jump with a season-best leap of 22 feet nine inches, sending her home on a red-eye flight with a consolation prize.

"I wasn't very happy in the 100. No excuses. I just didn't have it today," she said. "Are the off-the-track things that are going on a distraction? No. I refuse to use that as an excuse.... It was a really good day for the long jump, so it pretty much balanced out the day."

Asked if she had any doubt that she'd be in Greece, she said she would "love to say I have absolutely no doubts, but it's kind of out of my hands a little bit.... I think ultimately the truth will come out and I will be in Athens."

She also said she doesn't anticipate a quick resolution to her situation. "I see it going through the trials and probably right up to the Games," she said. "I would love for it to have been done yesterday and for it to be done tomorrow. But it just seems that organization's dragging its feet. I've gotten to the point where I've done everything I can do."

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