Marion Jones, attempting a feat not accomplished in 50 years, got off to a rousing start Saturday night by winning the women's 100 meters and long jump in the USA Track and Field Championships.
Jones, trying to sweep the 100, 200 and long jump - done only by Stella Walsh, with the last of her four times in 1948 - was clocked in a sparkling 10.72 seconds in the 100 despite a slow start and won the long jump with a wind-aided 23 feet, 8 inches, despite jumping only twice.She completed an exhausting day by winning her 200 semifinal heat in 22.46. Only she has run faster this year. The 200 final is Sunday.
Jones' 100 time was the seventh-fastest in history and only .01 seconds off her career best, which she ran in Friday night's semifinals and earlier in the season. Only Florence Griffith Joyner, the world record-holder at 10.49, has run faster than Jones, clocking 10.70 or better four times.
"She's one of the greatest female athletes ever to walk on this planet," Jones' coach, Trevor Graham, said. "She is very competitive, eager to learn and to understand her sport more. She is going to be great in all three events in the next couple of years."
Many would say she already is great.
In 1997, her first year in track and field after playing basketball for North Carolina, she was the only woman to win two gold medals in the world championships, in the 100 and 400 relay.
In the 100 final, Jones did not come out of the blocks quickly and trailed early. But by 30 meters, she had surged into the lead, then accelerated in the middle of the race and won comfortably over Chryste Gaines, runner-up in a career-best 10.89.
"I'm very excited with the time, but I thought I would run a little faster," Jones said. "But I have two more events to go today."
In the first of those other events, she produced her winning jump, then fouled and passed her final four jumps before racing to victory in her 200 heat, which was switched to a semifinal from a quarterfinal because of the lack of entrants.
The men's 100 final became anticlimactic when Maurice Greene, the world champion, withdrew because of stomach and leg cramps.
With Greene and 1992 Olympic bronze medalist Dennis Mitchell also withdrawing because of a leg cramp during warmups, Tim Har-den won in a wind-aided 9.88, with Brian Lewis second at 9.98 and Tim Montgomery third at 9.99. The wind was a strong 4.9 meters per second, or 10.96 mph, well over the allowable 2.0 meters per second, or 4.473 mph, for record purposes.
John Godina completed the first shot put-discus double in the nationals in 43 years by winning the shot at 71-23/4. For the two-time world champion, it was his first national shot put title. He won his second straight discus championship Friday night.
The last to win both was Parry O'Brien in 1955.
Oft-injured Mary Slaney again got hurt. Slaney, 39, pulled up with two laps remaining in the 5,000 with a tendon injury to her lower right leg. She was helped out of the stadium and treated in the medical tent.
Chris Huffins produced the best decathlon score in the world this year and the best of his career with 8,694 points in the 10 events over two days of suffocating heat.
LaMark Carter won his second national triple jump title with a leap of 57-23/4, the longest of his career and longest in the world this year.
Bryan Bronson, bronze medalist in the world championships, ran the fastest time in the world this year in the 400 hurdles, 47.81 in a semifinal heat. Derrick Adkins, the 1996 Olympic champion who has been bothered by a hamstring injury for six weeks, finished last in his hurdles semifinal and failed to reach the final.
Butch Reynolds, the world record-holder in the 400, failed to advance to the final, finishing fifth in his semifinal heat in 45.40, more than two seconds slower than his best of 43.29.
In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, BYU's Courtney Meldrum finished first with a time of 10:21.00, breaking the American record. Fellow Cougar Elizabeth Jackson was second in 10:21.20. Tara Haynes of BYU took fourth (10:27.79), Utah State's Holly Hansen was fifth (10:39.79) and Kara Ormond of BYU was eighth (10.51.39).