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Demus falls, cedes lead in 400-hurdles

7/29/2005

OSLO, Norway -- Lashinda Demus stumbled near the finish line
while in the lead and wound up third Friday in the 400-meter
hurdles at the Bislett Games, losing her chance for a $1 million
jackpot.

The American hurdler had won her first two races in the Golden
League series. The jackpot is awarded to any athlete who wins a
discipline at each of the six Golden League meets and then also
competes at the World Athletics Final.

France's Christine Arron won her third straight 100-meter race
and Tatyana Lebedeva of Russia got her third consecutive win in the
triple jump, staying in contention for the jackpot.

Sandra Glover, another American, capitalized on Demus' stumble
to win the race in 53.93 seconds. Poland's Anna Jesien was second
in 54.43 and Demus third in 54.59.

"I'm very disappointed," Demus said. "I almost fell, I don't
know why."

Arron overcame some minor problems midway through her race to
win the 100 in 11.06 seconds, beating three Americans. Lauryn
Williams was second in 11.16, Latasha Colander third in 11.17 and
Rachelle Boone-Smith fourth in 11.23.

"The start was good, then in the middle I stumbled a little
bit, so I needed to fight to come back in the race," Arron said.
"It wasn't easy at all. I wasn't thinking about the jackpot before
the race, just this 100 to be concentrated enough and run my own
race."

Lebedeva got the triple jump win at 48 feet, 10ΒΌ inches despite
jumping in pain.

"I felt spasm in my left Achilles and was thinking whether to
compete at all," Lebedeva said. "Fortunately, even with pain I
was able to jump and win. My only aim was to win and continue to
race for the jackpot. I saw the American [Demus] lost, so I knew we
remained only two."

Ladji Doucoure of France took the men's 110-meter hurdles in
13.00 for a new Bislett Stadium record and his second Golden League
win of the year. It was just .03 off his world-best time this year.
He finished ahead of three Americans, Joel Brown (13.22), Terence
Trammell (13.27) and Allen Johnson (13.34).

Johnson, who will try to win an unprecedented fourth straight
gold medal in the event at the world championships starting next
weekend in Helsinki, Finland, ran his first race after a four-week
injury layoff.

"It wasn't my best race, but I'm coming back," Johnson said.
"I know where I am by now. Still enough time to come to the right
shape."