Now that Marion Jones knows what she wants, there is no stopping her.
Jones, who won gold medals in the 100 meters and 400 relay in the world championships, is closing in on the daunting world record of Florence Griffith Joyner - set back in 1988.
Friday, the 21-year-old proved she’s on the right track, becoming the third-fastest woman in the 100, clocking 10.76 seconds in the Van Damme Memorial Grand Prix meet.
Only Griffith Joyner, with a time of 10.49, and Merlene Ottey, who she beat Friday, are ahead of Jones, who shares third place on the list with fellow U.S. runner Evelyn Ashford.
The double gold medalist in the world championships also entered the top 10 in the 200 last week with a time of 21.76.
“My next goal is the world record of Flo-Jo. If there is one athlete who can break it, it’s me,” Jones said.
She even impressed her male counterparts over the 100.
“Hey, Marion, please slow down,” shouted Maurice Greene, the men’s 100 world champion.
And when Jon Drummond truly had something to brag about beating world champion Ato Boldon in the 200 Jones stole his spotlight.
“This is not honest,” Drummond complained. “Every time I perform, you just blow it away.”
“This is incredible,” she said.
The only drawback to Friday’s performance was its timing, just ahead of two incredible world records - Daniel Komen’s in the 5,000 and fellow Kenyan’s Paul Tergat in the 10,000.
Her feat got lost in the enthusiasm of the capacity crowd of 40,000, an attendance she can only dream about back home, where the sport is in a slump.
Jones, a former University of North Carolina basketball star, only this year made a full-time commitment to track and field. With her still-raw talents in the long jump, she could well become the most versatile woman in track and field since Jackie Joyner-Kersee and Germany’s Heike Drechsler.
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