WALNUT, California, April 18 (AFP) - Reigning Olympic champ Marion Jones launched her 2004 outdoor season on Sunday by suffering a rare defeat in the women’s 200m at the Mount San Antonio College Relays.
Fellow American Connie Moore stunned Jones with a winning time of 22.71sec. Jones finished a disappointingfourth in 23.02.
I usually come here to run the 400 metres, but thisyear I opted to work on my speed,'' Jones said. Taking a year off to have a baby takes its toll on you, but I am slowly getting back into it.’’
Jones also finished behind runner-up Crystal Cox(22.91) and Tonette Dyer (22.99).
The loss ended a remarkable string of 200m victoriesfor Jones in races she has finished. Jones did not complete the 200m at the 1999 Worlds because of an injury.
I just got beat today,'' Jones said. I have never been one for excuses. I need to work on my endurance.
``I gave birth eight months ago, so to come out here and run sub-22 would be unrealistic.’’ (BUT PERHAPS NOT SUB-23 WITH A +2.5?)
The race marked Jones’ first outdoor competition since giving birth to her first child, a son with fellowsprinter Tim Montgomery, Tim Junior, last June.
Jones won the 60m in 7.21sec at the Millrose Games inher first competition of 2004. She then finished second in the 60m (7.16sec) in Birmingham, England.
Jones said motherhood has altered her outlook on life.
It has changed me and allowed me to prioritize my life,'' Jones said. In the past track and field ran my life 24 hours a day, and that is unhealthy.
``Motherhood is the best, but I find it difficult tobe away from him.’’
Jones testified in November as part of a federal grandjury probe into California-based supplements lab BALCO,which has been linked to the designer steroid, THG.
I testified, and everybody knows my stance that I am drug free,'' Jones said. If anything has to do with track and field then my name is always going to come up. I just roll with the punches.
``I would love for the matter to be done and justice served, but it is out of my hands.’’
Jones plans to compete at the Penn Relays next weekand then in Jamaica on May 7. She is also looking forward to the US Olympic trials in July.
``I know I will be at the trials and hopefully I will be at Athens,’’ Jones said.