- The Washington Times - Monday, August 13, 2001

EDMONTON, Alberta Even without Maurice Greene, Jon Drummond and Michael Johnson, the U.S. men's relay teams swept the gold medals at the world championships yesterday.
Powered by Dennis Mitchell and Tim Montgomery, who ran the final two legs, the Americans capped the 10-day championships by winning the 400-meter relay in 37.93 seconds, showing they didn't need the injured Greene and Drummond, provided they could get the baton around without mishap.
In the 1,600 relay, Olympic 400-meter hurdles champion Angelo Taylor anchored the Americans to a five-meter victory in 2:57.54, the fastest time in the world this year. Johnson, who had anchored U.S. teams to three world titles, was ineligible to compete because he did not participate in the national championships.
However, the Americans could not get through all of yesterday's relays without a mishap. Only this time, it was the women not the men who had the problem.
The women's 1,600-meter relay team appeared on its way to victory, holding a comfortable lead, before anchor runner Suziann Reid dropped the baton and wound up fourth.
Had the 1,600-meter relay team won, it would have given the Americans a sweep of the relays. The women's 400-meter relay team won Saturday.
"It was a clean pass," said Michelle Collins, who handed the stick to Reid, a graduate of Greenbelt's Eleanor Roosevelt High School. "I think she was trying to switch hands, and her body was moving faster than anything else. It was unfortunate.
"It was devastating … because we were in the lead. We should have gotten a gold medal, but those things happen."
Reid refused comment after the race, won by Jamaica in a world-leading 3:20.65.
"She had the baton in her hand," U.S. women's coach J.J. Clark said. "That was on the crossover. That's not something you practice; it's something you just do.
"I think she was a little anxious and wanted to get running before she had the baton."
In yesterday's other finals, Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj won his third straight men's 1,500-meter title in 3:30.68; Mozambique's Maria Mutola completed a 10-month sweep of the Olympic, world indoor and world outdoor titles by taking the women's 800 in 1:57.17; the Czech Republic's Jan Zelezny won his third javelin title with a championship-record 304 feet, 5 inches; Hestrie Cloete became South Africa's first women's medalist, winning the high jump at 6-6 3/4; and Romania's Lidia Simon won the women's marathon in 2:26:01.
In the men's 400 relay, the Americans were forced to use inexperienced Mickey Grimes on the leadoff leg. He didn't get a good start, but Bernard Williams put the Americans back into contention, and Mitchell and Montgomery finished the job.
The Americans wound up six meters ahead of runner-up South Africa.
"These last 24 hours have been up and down for us," Mitchell said, "but it made us a stronger team."
Montgomery called the victory the sweetest of his career.
In the men's 1,600 relay, the Americans trailed the Bahamas by one-half meter after Leonard Byrd's opening leg. Antonio Pettigrew then gave the Americans a one-meter lead over the Bahamas, Derrick Brew increased the margin to three and Taylor wound up winning by five.
"We heard about how Michael [Johnson] wasn't here and could we hold up," Pettigrew said. "I think we answered all those questions."
Pettigrew, who is retiring, has been a part of four gold medal-winning teams at the championships.
"I'll let the young ones carry on," he said. "They'll do well."
In the women's 1,600 relay, Jearl Miles-Clark, Monique Hennagan and Collins had the United States in front until Reid bobbled the baton.
El Guerrouj took command with 600 meters remaining and went on to his 47th victory in his last 49 1,500 finals. His only two losses were at the 1996 Atlanta Games and 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The world record-holder had such a big lead coming down the stretch that he started blowing kisses to the crowd of 54,920 the biggest of the championships with about 50 meters left.
In the women's 800, Mutola was in third place with about 40 meters remaining before starting her final charge. With about four meters to go, she finally seized the lead from Austria's Stephanie Graf and beat her by .03 seconds for her second world title.
Zelezny's long throw was the seventh-best in javelin history and made a runner-up of Finland's Aki Parviainen, who finished with the longest losing throw ever, 299-8.
In the high jump, Cloete and Ukraine's Inga Babakova both cleared 6-6 3/4, but the South African won on fewer misses.
Simon ended a series of frustrating finishes at major international events by winning the marathon.
Simon, the bronze medalist at the past two worlds and the runner-up at the Sydney Olympics, used a devastating kick in the final 500 meters to beat Japan's Reiko Tosa by five seconds.
"I was thinking all the time about Sydney," said Simon, who finished behind Japan's Naoka Takahashi at last year's Olympics. "I prepared for this race all the time with that in my head. I wanted to get revenge."
The United States and Russia tied for most medals with 19 each, but the Americans had more golds, nine to six.
The championships ended without a world or American record but with eight meet records, none in a running event.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide