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Double victory day for Greene, Jones

SHARE Double victory day for Greene, Jones

Maurice Greene ran one of the fastest, and perhaps the most impressive, 100 meters ever Sunday, a wind-aided 9.79-second clocking at the Prefontaine Classic.

Then he capped an exceptional afternoon by beating world record-holder Michael Johnson in the 200 in a barely wind-aided 19.88. Johnson, in far from top form, was third behind Obadele Thompson."It shows that American sprinters are not playing anymore," Greene said. "We're out for business, and when I step on the track, I mean business."

Greene, just 23 years old, wasn't the only young American sprint sensation to have a big afternoon. Marion Jones, 22, won the 100 in a wind-aided 10.77, then took the long jump with a leap of 23 feet, 111/4 inches.

The world can expect to hear a lot from Maurice and Marion, Greene said.

"I'm sure I can speak for her when I say this is only the beginning," he said. "We're here to stay. We're not going anywhere. We're going to be here for a long time."

Kenya's Daniel Komen narrowly missed in his bid to become the first to break 3:50 in a mile race held in the United States. His time of 3:50.86 was the second-fastest mile ever in the country and the top 11 finishers broke 3:58.

Five of Sunday's performances were the world's best this year - Jones' long jump, Komen's mile, Luke Kipkosgei of Kenya at 13:07.83 in the men's 5,000, Allen Johnson's 13.12 in the 110 hurdles and Maria Mutola's 1:58.66 in the women's 800.

Five Hayward Field and Prefontaine meet records were broken - by Jones (long jump), Komen (mile), Allen Johnson (110 hurdles), Kipkosgei (5,000) and Australia's Cathy Freeman in the women's 400.

Mary Slaney, in her second race since she resumed competition after a year-long, and ultimately successful, fight against charges she used a performance-enhancing substance, won the women's 5,000 in 15:23.72. She received a long standing ovation from her hometown crowd.

Greene, the 1997 world 100 champion, was thwarted in his attempt to break Donovan Bailey's world 100 mark of 9.84 by a wind clocked at 2.9 meters per second. Any wind 2.0 or stronger disqualifies a race for record purposes.

Greene's mark tied the third-fastest ever under any conditions. Only Thompson's 9.69 in 1996 and Carl Lewis' 9.78 in 1988 were faster.

Andre Cason ran 9.79 twice at the U.S. championships in Eugene in 1993. But in all of those races, the wind was far stronger than the gentle breeze that blew across the University of Oregon's Hayward Field on Sunday.

Greene thinks he would have set the world record without the wind.

"I don't need any wind to break the world record," Greene said. "If I get it, fine, but I don't necessarily need it."

Greene's close friend and training partner, Ato Boldon, was second in 9.89. The 100 record will fall this year, he said.

"We can go a lot faster," Boldon said. "It's a long season."

In the 200, Greene broke out of the blocks strong and never was headed. He raised his hands in triumph to the capacity crowd of 13,721, then bowed gracefully to them in a victory lap.

His time tied for the sixth-fastest ever under any conditions. The wind was 2.1 meters per second. Thompson was second in 20.17. Johnson, who uncharacteristically faded down the stretch, was third in 20.28.

"Whenever you can beat one of the best men in the world, it gives you great confidence," Greene said.