Jackie Joyner-Kersee flew home to the United States today after her long-jump flop at the World Championships, leaving behind her world heptathlon title.
Organizers of a news conference she was scheduled to attend, announced they had been told she was going home.The 33-year-old Joyner-Kersee, who was world long jump champion in 1987 and 1991, finished a disappointing sixth in Sunday's final after clearing only 22 feet, 11/2 inches. The event was won by Italy's Fiona May with a leap of 22 feet, 103/4 inches.
Joyner-Kersee, also a heptathlon titlist in 1987, was here to defend the championship she won in Stuttgart two years ago. The event starts Wednesday, but her coach and husband, Bob Kersee, announced after the long jump performance he would be advising her not to compete.
Meanwhile, another two-time champion and world record holder was in good position to defend his title.
Dan O'Brien, who opened the second day of the decathlon competition with a slender 47-point lead, stretched that to 139 at the end of the seventh event, the discus.
That was despite losing the lead in the 110 meter hurdles to Eduward Hamalainen of Belarus over the last two hurdles.
O'Brien looked well in control of the race until he chopped his stride before the seventh and then before the ninth. Hamalainen came through to win the race in 13.73, while the American clocked 13.78 with his nearest rival, countryman Chris Huffins, back in fifth in 14.25.
The performance was enough to earn O'Brien 1,003 points and increase his total to 5,531 after six events. Huffins scored 942 for 5,423 and trailed O'Brien by 108 points with four events to go.
Hamalainen moved into second place ahead of Huffins with a throw of 163 feet, 11 inches in the discus, even though the top throw of the competition came from Canada's Mike Smith, whose 166-9 moved him up to fourth place.
O'Brien threw 153-11 to move his total to 6,337. Hamalainen had 6,198 points and Huffins managed only a throw of 143-8 for a 6,165 total. That meant Huffins, who led O'Brien 107 points after three events, was in danger of losing the bronze medal position to Smith, who had moved up to 6,104 with three events to go.
Other finals today were the women's 100 meters, involving Olympic 200 meter titlist Gwen Torrence, Jamaica's Merlene Ottey and Russia's Irina Privalova; the men's triple jump with new world record holder Jonathan Edwards of Britain, and the women's 10 kilometer walk.
Donovan Bailey and Bruny Surin have finally outrun the legacy of Ben Johnson.Canada's track and field program has been in disgrace since a drug scandal stripped Johnson of a gold medal at the Seoul Olympics and the 100 meters world record.
But the legacy of Johnson turned out to be the inspiration that drove the two Canadians to win the gold and silver medals in the 100 meters at the World Championships.
Bailey and Surin went out of their way to show the world that Canadian sprinters shouldn't automatically be associated with drugs. Finishing 1-2 at the Worlds seemed an ideal way to do it.
"There had been doubts that we deserved the 1-2 ranking in the world," Bailey said after winning Sunday's final. "Now, the doubters have been answered."
The 27-year-old sprinter says he has been tested six times in the past three weeks. He claims it's because, like Johnson, he's a Jamaican-born Canadian who runs fast.
Bailey said that after Johnson was banned for life for taking steroids to enhance his performances, other Canadians tended to look down on the young black sprinters who once idolized the former champion. And the scandal emptied the stands at track and field meets, he said - until recently.
"Now there's 8,000 or more showing up to watch us," Bailey said, and after this performance, there will be thousands more.
Bailey went into the championships with the fastest time in the world this year - a 9.91 he raced at the Canadian championships in Montreal a month ago.
His 9.97 to win the gold medal before 40,000 fans in the Ullevi stadium was the only sub-10.00 performance of the championship.
Surin and third-place finisher Ato Boldon of Trinidad both were clocked in 10.03.
While the race was a major triumph for the Canadian pair, it was a disaster for the only American finalist, Mike Marsh, and for the defending titlist, Linford Christie.
Marsh, the Olympic 200 meter titlist and winner of the 100 final at the U.S. Trials, placed fifth in 10.10. It is the first time since the 1976 Olympics in Montreal that the United States failed to medal in the 100 meters at a major meet.
"It's been quite a long time that I ran so bad," Marsh said. "It's going to be hard to come back. I'll have to check out my mistakes and see what happened.
"I had a terrible start. You can't have such a start at this level of competition."
Christie, who suffered a hamstring injury in the semifinal, only decided a half hour before the final that he would run. Finishing sixth in 10.12, he collapsed on the track and was helped away by medics to ponder whether he will take any further part in the championships.
Unlike Christie, Gail Devers managed to hang onto her title.
Winner of a 100-meter dash-100-meter hurdles double at the last Worlds in Stuttgart, Germany, two years ago, Devers wasn't expected to beat the fastest hurdler in the world, Kazakhstan's Olga Shishigina, who was unbeaten in 10 finals this year,
Devers beat her by two meters.
"Coming into the meet, I wasn't favored," Devers said. "But if I wanted to find (motivation), I could look back at 1993."