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Two Down, Three To Go For Jones

The hunks of "Passions." From left, top row: Eric Martsolf, Adrian Bellani; bottom row: Charles Divins, Galen Gering, Mark Wystrach.
NBC Photo/Chris Haston
Marion Jones put controversy out of her head for 21.84 seconds on Thursday to complete the second stage of her historic quest for five Olympic gold medals, comfortably winning the women's 200-meter race at the Sydney Games.

Jones, who has had a difficult time this week since news that her shot putter husband C.J. Hunter had failed drugs tests, showed no sign of tension in a flowing and relaxed run, winning with a few yards to spare to add the 200 title to her 100 gold.

While Jones ran away with a second gold, the U.S. women's soccer team was not able to duplicate the gold medal magic of the Atlanta Olympics four years ago.

Norwegian substitute Dagny Mellgren fired a truly golden goal in extra time on Thursday to give Norway a 3-2 victory over the United States - defending World Cup champion - in the final.

Norway nearly had it won in regulation, but Tiffeny Milbrett's second goal with seconds left in second-half injury time tied the game. Ragnhild Gulbrandsen had given the Norwegians a 2-1 lead in the 78th minute.

Off the track, Jones got some good news when world-class U.S. sprinter Inger Miller said she would be back from a hamstring injury to compete in the 400-meter relay on Friday.

Jones also is part of the 1,600 relay team and is in the long jump final Friday. It's her weakest event.

"I don't think anybody doubted me in the sprints. But my real test will come tomorrow,"she said.

The recurring drug cases are continuing to tug the spotlight away from pure sport.

After two days of hearings, the Court of Arbitration for Sport upheld the International Olympic Committee's decision to strip Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan of the all-around gymnastics gold medal after she tested positive for a banned stimulant contained in a cold remedy.

The Romanian team doctor gave Raducan, 16, two pills that contained pseudoephedrine, the banned stimulant in question. The Romanians, saying this was a case worthy of special consideration, appealed the IOC decision - and ultimately lost.

While Raducan was not at fault, "a strict liability test must thus be applied, the consequence being automatic disqualification," the three-member panel ruled.

So Simona Amanar, Raducan's teammate, inherits the gold while Romania's Maria Olaru upgrades from bronze to silver and Liu Xuan of China claims the bronze. The Romanians had initially threatened to give back the medals if Raducan's appeal was rejected.

"She doesn't look to this medal like winning it herself," Romanian coach Octavian Belu said of Amanar. "She accepts only because these are the rules, not because she wins."

The United States Olympic Committee, stung by allegations that it hid positive drug tests among its athletes, said Thursday that it would establish an independent body to review its drug-testing programs.

"We need to create a vehicle in which the public at large will have faith in this thir party," said Norm Blake, chief executive officer of the USOC.

  • TRACK: Australian Jane Saville was running away with a gold medal - and that was the problem. Saville was disqualified Thursday at the end of the 20-kilometer walk as she entered the Olympic Stadium, with the finish line and first place just a stroll away.

    Walkers are required to maintain contact with the ground at all times, preventing their pace from breaking into a run. After two warnings, Saville was red-carded in the tunnel leading into the Stadium.

    China's Wang Liping captured the gold.

    With Maurice Greene and Michael Johnson both injuring themselves in the U.S. trials and failing to qualify in the 200, the American men couldn't manage a medal at the Olympics.

    Coby Miller and John Capel finished seventh and eighth, while Greek Konstantinos Kenteris accelerated past the field in the last half of the race to pull off an upset victory. He finished in 20.09 seconds.

    Except for the boycotted 1980 Moscow Games, the United States hadn't been shut out of a medal in the 200 since 1928.

    In the decathlon, Estonia's Erki Nool took the gold. American Chris Huffins led throughout the competition, but faded in the 1,500-meters and finished with a bronze.

    Konstantinos Kenteris emerged from obscurity on Thursday to win the first Greek Olympic
    sprint medal of any color and Greece's first men's track and field medal since Athens hosted the first modern Games in 1896.

    Kenteris came from fourth to win the men's 200-meter race ahead of a host of sprinters with more impressive pedigrees in a personal best of 20.09 seconds.

  • DIVING: Synchronized golds for the Chinese divers.

    Xiong Ni and Xiao Hailiang won the men's synchronized 3-meter springboard, while another pair from China - Li Na and Sang Xue - wiped out the rest of the field in the women's synchronized 10-meter platform.

    U.S. divers were shut out of medals in synchronized diving, and again later in the women's 3-meter springboard.

    China's Fu Mingxia won the springboard, joining Americans Greg Louganis and Pat McCormick as the only divers to win four gold medals in their careers.

  • BASKETBALL: As expected. The latest Dream Team beat Russia 85-70 in the quaterfinals of the Olympic tournament, but again the U.S. men won ugly. Russia led by 10 in the first half and Vince Carter got into a bit of a scuffle with a Russian player as the teams left the court at halftime.

    The Americans took control of the game in the second half. Kevin Garnett led the United States with 16 points.

  • TAEKWONDO: A new medal sport and a new gold for the United
    States. Steven Lopez defeated South Korean Sin Jun-sik to win the first American gold in taekwondo, which is making its debut in Sydney as an official Olympic sport.
  • TENNIS: A second gold for Venus Williams and now one for Serena, too. The Williams sistrs teamed up to rout Dutch players Miriam Oremans and Kristie Boogert 6-1, 6-1 in the finals of women's doubles, a day after Venus won the women's singles titles.

    In men's singles, Yevgeny Kafelnikov thought about skipping the Olympic tournament because he didn't like the way he was playing. Finally, he decided to give it a shot. Good move.

    The Russian beat German Tommy Haas 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to win the gold. Kafelnikov was so happy he tossed his racket 15 rows into the stands and threw a ball into the upper deck.

  • WRESTLING: Yet another Russian champ fell to an American wrestler. Texan Brandon Slay took down defending Olympic gold medalist Bouvaissa Saitiev 4-3 in a 167½-pound prelim freestyle match. U.S. wrestlers in the Greco-Roman and freestyle divisions have now beaten three Russian world champions in Sydney.
  • BOXING: Bantamweight Guillermo Rigondeaux stopped a five-bout losing streak for Cuban boxers by defeating American Clarence Vinson 18-6 in a semifinal fight. All boxers in the semifinals get a medal, so Vinson will go home with a bronze.
  • RYTHMIC GYMNASTICS: Defending world champion Alina Kabaeva of Russia took the lead Thursday after the first two rotations of qualifying in Olympic rhythmic gymnastics.

    Considered a favorite to win the gold, Kabaeva scored a 9.916 on rope and 9.925 on hoop to lead Yulia Raskina of Belarus by 0.33 points.

    "I want only gold," Kabaeva said, when asked about her Olympic goals.

    In the team competition, where five gymnasts perform at the same time, Greece beat Russia by 0.34 points to earn one of eight spots in Saturday's finals. Spain, which won the gold medal in Atlanta, made big mistakes in both rotations and failed to qualify.

    Individual qualifying concludes Friday, with the top 10 of 24 athletes making it to Sunday's finals. Kabaeva's teammate, Yulia Barsukova, stands in third and Eva Serrano of France is fourth.