:confused: 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.

Has anybody else noticed that when someone says, “No excuses”, the next thing out of their mouth is usually . . .an excuse? :wink:

At least it is a good excuse!

I don’t undertsand how people are jumping on her saying she’s finish now, or accuse Dan Pfaff for that race.
I invite anybody to look at the other sprinters who gave birth and their first seasons:

Christine Arron gave birth on 28 June 2002 (exactly 1 year before Jones’s strange coincidence). Her first race was 7.21 for 60m on 1 February 2003. On 7 feb she ran 23.52 for 200m wich is very poor compared to her 7.21. She ran her best 60m that 2003 indoor season in 7.17. Outdoor, her first competition was a 22.92 200m on 6 June (int hat race she was leading clearly during 150m before diyng in the last 50m), and on 15 June she ran 11.08, for a season best at 11.01 in August.
Well, the parralel with Jones is stunning: first race after delivery: 7.21 on 6 Feb 2004, season best 7.16 on 20 Feb. First competition outdoor 23.02 on 18 April, and like Christine in her first 200m, she was clearly leading after the bend. This indicates that both had/have enough speed to do well at 100m, and i predict Jones’ next 100m races will be at a much better level. But talking about 200m, pregnancy prevented them to work special endurance, and results are always bad at 200m, other examples are Irena Sewinska, Bärbel Wöckel, Valerie Brisco, Angella Issajenko, Irina Privalova, Gwen Torrence, Heïke Drechsler and Juliet Cuthbert who all had bad first 200 races the year after pregnancy and in the meantime satisfying 100m races. Only one athlete did well, it was Evelyn Ashford in 1986.

So don’t count out Marion Jones, her 200m result in Walnut is typical of young mothers, and this has no incidence on her 100m and LJ performances.

Can you table some of the birth dates? The spread between birth and competition is important- for example, as I remember, Ashford’s baby came in June, whereas Angella’s came in Sept. Likewise you need to know how much training was done during pregnancy, birthweights, and how soon training resumed after.

Some data:

Evelyn Ashford: gave birth on 30 May 1985, first 200m on 31 May 1986 (22.30), season best 21.97 (w-1.4) on 13 Aug (100m SB 10.88). (an interesting quote from Ashford: pregnancy was “better for you than a store full of vitamins or steroids or anything else” :o )

Heïke Drechsler: gave birth on 1 nov 1989, first 200m race on 4 July 1990 with 22.74, season best on 30 Aug 22.19 (100m SB 11.14).

Irena Szewinska: gave birth in September (i think) 1969, didn’t competed in distances over 100m during 1970 season, back to 200m on 22 May 1971 with 23.0.

Gwen Torrence: gave birth during late summer 1989, i have found a 200m result on 27 June 1990 in 23.51 but she may have compete before. SB 22.82 on 10 August (100m SB 11.28).

Mary Onyali: gave birth on 1997, first 200m on 15 May 1998 with 23.14, SB 22.67 on 28 Aug (100m SB 11.05).

Valerie Brisco: gave birth on 1982, first 200m apparently on 24 Aug 1983 in 23.10 (SB). (100m 11.39, huge PB).

I’m confident Jones’ opener isn’t dramatic and even if it will be hard to be at her best level at 200m this year, like all the other mothers in the past, she will be good at 100m and LJ.

Thanks Pierrejean! This is great comparative info!

great posts pierrejean, as always a fountain of knowledge!