Jones, Greene among ex-Olympians competing
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Less than a week after a last-place finish in her first outdoor meet of the year, Marion Jones is out to prove herself again.
Jones and sprinter Maurice Greene are among the former Olympians scheduled to compete in the Kansas Relays on Saturday.
Jones, who won three gold and two bronze medals at Sydney in 2000 but was shut out in Athens last summer, is coming off a lackluster performance at the Mount San Antonio College Relays. She finished last in the 400 meters in 55.03 seconds, 25 yards behind winner Novlene Williams (51.49).
Jones blamed the poor outing on a mental lapse.
"I am not concerned physically," she said. "It was just a mental breakdown. My immediate focus is still on being the fastest woman in the world."
Jones is scheduled to compete in the 800 relay along with Muna Lee, Stephanie Durst and LaShinda Demus.
Lee finished seventh in the 200 in Athens, while Demus competed in the 400 hurdles.
Jones was the 2000 Olympic champion in both the 100 and 200. She has been battling allegations that she used steroids before the 2000 Games. She sued BALCO founder Victor Conte for defamation, after he told a national television audience that he supplied her with steroids.
"I know that regardless of the outcome of that case that people are going to think what they want," Jones said. "It is for myself and I will not get my name dragged through the mud. If people know me then my legacy won't be tarnished by anything that has happened."
Greene, a Kansas City native, was originally scheduled to only run in the 400 relay. But he decided to run in the invitational 100.
"I hope the fans enjoy it as much as I will," Greene said. "It is always good to be a part of something big. I am from Kansas and I am really happy to be here."
The Olympic 100 champion in 2000 and the bronze medalist in 2004, Greene has three of the four fastest times in history, including the former world record of 9.79.
"I expect to win," Greene said. "How fast it will be? Only time will tell. If I run the correct race, it could be very fast."
Greene is scheduled to face former Olympian John Capel and former Kansas standout Leo Bookman, among others.
The 30-year-old Greene still has ambitions of returning to gold medal form.
"I am not a person that lives in the past," Greene said. "I have to look toward the future."
Greene said he has a goal of running 60 consecutive races under 10 seconds and needs four more to achieve it.
"It is like the 60 home runs in baseball," Greene said. "There are not a lot of people that can reach that goal, but it is next on my list."
Other former Olympians scheduled to compete included Charlie Gruber in the mile; Matt Hemingway and Jamie Nieto in the high jump; Nick Hysong in the pole vault; Melvin Lister in the triple jump; and Derrick Peterson in the 800.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press
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