SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Marion Jones' surprise withdrawal from the women's 200-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials yesterday guarantees the crowning of a new Olympic champion in the event.
"I guess I underestimated [the rigors of] childbirth," said Jones, a mother of 15 months standing, in announcing her decision to pull out of the 200.
"But do I have any regrets? Absolutely none."
She and Tim Montgomery, her partner, welcomed the arrival of Tim "Monty" Montgomery Jr. in the spring of 2003.
Also beset by rumors of involvement in the BALCO drug scandal, Jones, the reigning Olympic 100-meter titlist, finished just fifth here in that event before winning the trials' long jump.
The quintuple medalist at the 2000 Sydney Olympics also said she would welcome the chance to run on the 400-meter relay team in Athens but doesn't know if a spot will be offered her.
Baltimore's Bernard Williams will see what kind of role he can play in the outcome of the men's 200.
Williams, the Mervo Tech graduate who earned a gold medal in Sydney as a member of the 400-meter relay team, could manage only sixth place in the trials' 100-meter dash a week ago, and has always considered the 200 his least-favorite event.
Nevertheless, his chances at gaining a place on the U.S. team via the 200 are looking good.
After winning his quarterfinal yesterday in an outstanding 20.07 seconds, Williams came back to take his semifinal in 20.15.
The races were run in 90-degree heat at Sacramento State.
"I don't care if it's in a snowstorm," Williams said. "I have to get on this team. The 200's never been my favorite; but it is now. So let's leave it that, Anytime I say anymore, I mess up."
He is now one of eight looking to have their tickets punched for Athens by finishing first, second or third in today's final.
Greece's Konstantinos Kederis captured the 200 at the 2000 Games, elevating himself to hero status in his home country. If he can win again, he would all but own Greece. But Kederis may be running scared by the time of the Games.
The Americans - whoever they may be in the 200 - are coming on fast.
Shane Crawford took the other 200 semifinal in 20 seconds flat. Other qualifiers included Darvis Patton and Tyson Gay (both 20.17.) But American John Capel, the reigning world champion, could manage only 20.45 and was relegated to the detested Lane 1 for the final.
Williams will run out of Lane 6, one of the choice slots.
Ryan Olkowski, the Calvert Hall and Penn State graduate who held third place in the decathlon after Friday's first five events, dropped back to a ninth-place finish with 7,553 points.
After starting the second day impressively with a 14.84 time in the 110 high hurdles, Olkowski struggled in the discus (131-3), javelin ((155-10) and 1,500 meters (5:12.34), but did have a 15-1 effort in the pole vault.
Hawaiian Bryan Clay produced a career-best total of 8,660 points to beat reigning world champion Tom Pappas (8,517) for first place.
NOTES: Three men's finals produced trials-record performances. Breaux Greer won the javelin at 270 feet, 4 inches; Tim Seaman lowered the 20-kilometer race-walk record to 1:25:40; and Melvin Lister took the triple jump at 58-4.
Women's finals: Pole vault; 200 meters; 1,500; 100 hurdles; 20,000 race walk
Men's finals: Discus; high jump; 200; 1,500; 110 hurdles
TV: 7 p.m.; Chs. 11, 4