Marion Jones Eliminated from Olympic 100 Meter

ESPN – Marion Jones Eliminated From 100m

Marion Jones, the reigning Olympic champion, failed to qualify for the U.S. squad for the Athens Games in the 100 meters Saturday. Jones, who still will attempt to make the Olympic team in the 200 and the long jump, finished fifth in the 100 final. The top three finishers automatically make the team in each event at the Olympic trials. Jones is under investigation by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. She repeatedly has denied using drugs and has not been charged by USADA.

Her poor finish would seem to be evidence in her favor. She had an off day yesterday, too.

LaTasha Colander won the final in 10.97 seconds, second fastest in the world this year. World champion Torri Edwards was second in 11.02 and NCAA champion Lauryn Williams took the third Olympic spot in 11.10. Gail Devers, a two-time Olympic champion in the 100, was fourth in 11.11 and Jones — who started quickly but seemed to struggle more and more as the race progressed — was fifth in 11.14.

Jones once dominated the 100. In addition to being the reigning Olympic champion, she is a two-time world champion and had a streak of 42 straight wins in finals from 1997 to 2001.

The best American athletes failing to qualify for the Olympic team is a recurring theme. It happened yesterday, too:

ESPN – U.S. record-holder no-heights

Jeff Hartwig is the American record-holder in the men’s pole vault and a four-time national champion. But bad things seem to happen to Hartwig when the Olympics approach. Hartwig missed out on a chance for this summer’s Athens Games when he failed to clear any of his attempts Friday in the preliminary round at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. He also failed to make it out of the qualifying round at the Olympic trials in 2000.

There was a bit of controversy this time. After missing his first two attempts at 18 feet, { inch, Hartwig stopped on the runway on his third attempt because of strong winds. While returning for another attempt, he asked an official how much time he had left and was told he had 12 seconds. Competitors at that stage of the competition are allowed 1 minute to attempt a jump. But before he could begin another attempt, officials told him he had run out of time. He protested and, about 20 minutes later, won the right to jump again. He missed, and complained that the rules say he should have been allowed another jump immediately after he filed the protest. “I said after 2000 I’ll never let myself be that disappointed again,” said Hartwig, who finished 11th at the 1996 Olympics. “This is par for the course for me at these kinds of meets.”

The most famous case in recent memory was Dan O’Brien failing to qualify for 1992 Olympic team despite being far and away the best American decathalete. A one-shot “trials” format seems a rather silly way of choosing the team, since the best athletes could be injured, sick, or just having an off day.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Mark says:

    Also remember, the BASEBALL team failed to quaify for the olympics. Pretty sad considering we invented the damn game. Granted, we used college kids but it is still troubling to me that they could not even qualify.

  2. John Doe says:

    Or does the poor performance suggest she cannot win without drugs?