<
>

Relay team takes aim at world record

8/12/2004

GEORGIOUPOLIS, Greece -- Marion Jones is firmly on the
400-meter relay team and, if all goes as planned, she will run all
three rounds of the event at the Athens Olympics, the U.S. women's
coach said Thursday.

Coach Sue Humphrey said Jones and three other sprinters had
separated themselves from the others.

The women's relay squad would be, in order, Angela Williams,
Jones, Lauryn Williams and LaTasha Colander.

It's the same team that ran 41.37 seconds in Munich on Sunday.

"That's three-tenths of a second off the world record,''
Humphrey said before she and a group of athletes left for Athens
Thursday evening to participate in Friday night's Opening Ceremony.

Jones only has qualified for the long jump after winning an
unprecedented five medals in Sydney four years ago.

Lauryn Williams, just 20 years old, said it has been a bit
intimidating to take the baton from Jones.

"It's been a little overwhelming in practice,'' Williams said.
"The first time she ran me down and said, 'Lauryn, it's time to
get it together.''

The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency is investigating Jones but has not
charged her with any offense. Humphrey has said that she has talked
about Jones' situation with USA Track & Field officials and has
heard nothing that would prevent her from being a part of the relay
squad.

Jones ate lunch quietly with the others at the seaside resort in
Crete where the U.S. track and field team is headquartered. She has
sent word that she will not do interviews before the Olympics but
did acknowledge her daily conversations by phone with her
13-month-old son.

"He's learning to say 'bye, bye,''' she said.

Lauryn Williams said she had not met Jones before the relay camp
last week in Munich.

"She's been great. She's nothing like what I thought she would
be, nothing like what the media has said,'' Williams said.

Williams, who ran the anchor leg in the first round of the relay
at last year's world championships, predicted a world record in the
women's relay.

"I think that's what we're going to do,'' she said. "You can
quote me on that.''

Humphrey said she would prefer to use the same team through all
three rounds. That would mean Jones would compete in the long jump
finals and the relay semifinals Aug. 27. Lauryn Williams and
LaTasha Colander are entered only in the 100 meters, with finals
Aug. 21. Angela Williams is in the relay pool, meaning she's not
entered in any individual events. Humphrey said she has not decided
on who the fifth and sixth members of the relay squad will be.

Meanwhile, men's coach George Williams said he will go with the
quartet of Shawn Crawford, Justin Gatlin, Coby Miller and Maurice
Greene.

"They ran 37.92 in Munich and Maurice Greene slowed down the
final 50 meters because he said his legs were kind of tired,''
Williams said. "He had run the night before in Zurich.''

The run came in Greene's first day with the relay squad. Greene
has been working out with the relay squad in Crete this week.