Wed, Jul 14, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Marion Jones struggles in long jump

AP , SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA

Marion Jones competes in the long jump qualifying event at the US Olympic Team Trials in Track and Field in Sacramento, California, Monday.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Marion Jones, her vulnerability seeming to grow with each event, finished a shocking seventh but managed to advance to the final of the long jump at the US Olympic trials.

Jones, by far the best US long jumper in a weak field, was among the 12 qualifiers who advanced to Thursday's final. But she failed by a quarter-inch to reach the automatic qualifying mark, and got worse with each of her three jumps Monday night.

Jones, who won an unprecedented five medals at the 2000 Sydney Games, failed Saturday night to make the US squad in the 100m -- an event in which she is the defending Olympic champion.

Her qualification was virtually taken for granted in the long jump, in which she won a bronze medal in Sydney and in which only one other American this year has met the Olympic qualifying standard.

Now, though she probably will make the team, it suddenly is not certain.

Under qualifying rules, Jones provisionally can make the Olympic team even if she fails to place among the top three Thursday night. That's because only she and Grace Upshaw have Olympic qualifying marks this season.

So, even if Jones finishes last among the 12 competitors in Thursday's final, she'll still be named to the squad if no other jumper has reached the Olympic qualifying mark. But the top two finishers Thursday still could bump her from the team if they get a qualifying mark of 21 feet, 11 3/4 inches by Aug. 9.

Jearl Miles-Clark earned a trip to her fifth Olympics by winning the women's 800m -- but her sister-in-law got perhaps an even bigger prize after finishing third.

Miles-Clark, 37, finished in 1 minute, 59.06 seconds to hold off Nicole Teter and sister-in-law Hazel Clark -- whose fiance proposed to her immediately after the race.

Jonathan Johnson won the men's 800m in 1:44.77 to earn an Olympic spot.

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