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Friday, 29 September, 2000, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Drechsler shatters Jones' golden dream
Marion Jones
Jones gets airborne as she looks for gold No.3
Marion Jones's dream of an unprecedented five gold medals in Sydney was shattered as she was relegated to the bronze medal position in the long jump final.

The American could only post a best jump of 6.92m, seven centimetres short of Germany's veteran jumper Heike Drechsler, who went on to claim her second long jump gold.

Jones recorded four fouls in six attempts as she failed to add to the gold medals she had already pocketed from the 100m and 200m.

She still has two events to come - the 4x100m and 4x400m relay events - but had hoped to keep on course for five wins with success in the long jump.

Heike Drechsler
Heike Drechsler leaps to the gold medal in Sydney
"The drive for five is not alive," Jones said. "I didn't regret it at all, I had a shot at it and it didn't pan out. Inside I'm disappointed but she deserved the gold."

British-born Italian Fiona May took silver on the same mark as Jones, claiming second by virtue of her next best jump.

Jones had made an inauspicious start to her bid for a hat-trick of golds, posting a foul with her first jump.

A leap of 6.62m got her name on the scoreboard but May responded with an aggressive 6.82 before Drechsler extended the standard following her modest start.

The veteran German, who will be 36 in December and won the title in Barcelona in 1992, posted her decisive jump in round three, setting a seven metre target for her rivals to snatch gold away from her.

Red flags

Both went close in the fourth round, but two more red flags saw Jones' hopes buried in the Sydney sand.

I know people will say 'I told you so' - but I can look in the mirror and say I gave my best
  Marion Jones
It was not the first time she had missed out to the German, who became the youngest world champion at the first world championships in 1983.

She also beat Jones in the 1998 World Cup in Johannesburg, the only event the American lost that season.

Jones announced two years ago she would attempt to go one better than her compatriots Jesse Owens and Carl Lewis and win five golds in Sydney.

"Maybe I'll do it a little quieter next time," she said after the long jump disappointment. "I know people will say 'I told you so' but I can look in the mirror and say I gave my best.

Marion Jones
Not enough: Jones lands short of Drechsler's mark
"I competed against one of the all-time greats. I can tell my grandchildren about it 30 years from now."

She won the 100 metres final easily on Saturday but has subsequently had to endure extra and unwelcome pressure with the news on Monday that her husband CJ Hunter, the world shot put champion, had tested positive for the anabolic steroid nandrolone.

Finnish runner Paavo Nurmi won five gold medals at the 1924 Games in Paris but no woman has won more than the four claimed by Dutchwoman Fanny Blankers-Koen at the London Olympics in 1948.

But Jones's nap hand had already looked decidedly shaky following the 4x100m sprint relay semi-finals, which took place while Jones was competing in the long jump pit.

The USA team trailed in behind world champions the Bahamas in their semi-final, while Jamaica went even quicker in the second semi, even without Merlene Ottey.

The USA had already been weakened by the withdrawal of 200m world champion Inger Miller due to a hamstring injury and were 0.67 slower than the Jamaicans, suggesting that even the return of Jones may not be enough to bridge the gap in Saturday's final.

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See also:

28 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Jones bags second gold
29 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Bahamas and Jamaica cruise through
27 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Jones runs and jumps to next round
23 Sep 00 |  Athletics-Track
Jones takes gold number one
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