July 12, 2004

: Tim Montgomery and Marion Jones both failed to qualify for the Olympics in the 100 meters. Very interesting...

posted by msacheson to other at 12:49 AM - 32 comments

Heh, I had a conversation with a co-worker earlier today about how strange it was that Marion didn't qualify, but then, neither of us could remember if she was a 100m or 400m specialist. Anyone? Still....Curiouser and curiouser.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:26 AM on July 12

And Jason Giambi's numbers are down.

posted by molafson at 01:53 AM on July 12

As the story linked above puts it, the 100 is Marion Jones's "signature event," but she may still qualify for Athens in the 200 or long jump (or be picked for a relay, but that's unlikely).

posted by msacheson at 01:55 AM on July 12

This is erie. While Jones may still qualify in the long jump, (she hasn't run the 200 well, or recently) it would be very good for USTAF if neither of these people showed up in Athens. The current spin seems to be how forgetable these Olympics will be anyway. This just smacks of subterfuge or is some ungodly fortuitous coincidence. Anyone notice how much coverage the pool is getting as well? It's like German history brochures that casually gloss over 1939-45. "Everyone vas on vacation!"

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 02:19 AM on July 12

Tell you what, why don't you get Bush to forbid your athletes from travelling to Greece entirely because of "concerns about security"? That couldn't happen. Could it?

posted by squealy at 03:27 AM on July 12

Anyone notice how much coverage the pool is getting as well? That's just because the trials are going on, and Phelps is trying to qualify for seven events, plus Hansen is setting world records. We'll be quiet next week, really.

posted by dusted at 03:50 AM on July 12

Tell you what, why don't you get Bush to forbid your athletes from travelling to Greece entirely because of "concerns about security"? That couldn't happen. Could it? Mark Spitz reckons thats going to happen, at least.

posted by dng at 06:01 AM on July 12

I'd rule out age as a factor in her loss.

posted by garfield at 10:04 AM on July 12

Sucks having to qualify relying on just yourself and training, doesn't it? I'm sure it's the first thought going through everyone's mind. Amazing how hard it is without the drugs, eh?

posted by aacheson at 10:35 AM on July 12

"Perhaps it was the stress of fighting doping allegations. Maybe it was the physical and emotional strains of motherhood. Or perhaps time, and a new generation of sprinters, are finally catching up with her" Perhaps it's clean blood that did it to her.

posted by aacheson at 10:40 AM on July 12

aacheson, why do you hate America?

posted by rocketman at 10:59 AM on July 12

huh?

posted by garfield at 01:04 PM on July 12

I think (hope) rocketman was joking.

posted by aacheson at 01:48 PM on July 12

rocketman is mimicking the (left/liberal-mocked) comment that gung-ho pro-American's (supposedly) use whenever someone makes a negative statement about America/Bush/Republicans. Person A: "I think that Bush's Iraq policy is flawed and needs to be reviewed. There has to be a better way." Person B:"Why do you hate America?"

posted by grum@work at 02:14 PM on July 12

Of course he was. It's an old MeFi in-joke.

posted by squealy at 02:23 PM on July 12

Sorry if the joke didn't translate well. It seemed to me that many people (not me) would find the suggestion that Marion and Tim were no longer taking drugs, and thus couldn't perform at the same level, horrifying and libelous. UnAmerican, even, because we all know you're innocent until proven guilty, right? Right?

posted by rocketman at 03:31 PM on July 12

ok, I thought that, but was taken back with how crazy it appeared, that I had to ask. And I'm a little sensitive to that type of thing, being a liberal-minded canuck residing south of the 49th.

posted by garfield at 03:32 PM on July 12

garfield, why do you hate Canada?

posted by gspm at 04:53 PM on July 12

I like how we're all afraid to take the most obvious reason for something happening and discount it because it's not nice. Lessee: 1) Tim and Marion kick track and field's ass. 2) Tim and Marion are suspected of illegal drug use. 3) Tim and Marion flame out. Call it a hunch ... but I'm guessing they were doping.

posted by wfrazerjr at 11:10 PM on July 12

Doesn't that kind of depend on how long they were using and how long they've stopped? Would you actually loose that much ability 4 months, 6 months, or a year after stopping? Don't get me wrong, I totally believe they were doping - but it all seems so wonderfully coincidental.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:56 AM on July 13

Doesn't that kind of depend on how long they were using and how long they've stopped? Would you actually loose that much ability 4 months, 6 months, or a year after stopping? Based on what track and field athletes say to me about taking a week off training -- never mind the mother's little helpers -- I'd say hell yeah. Remember also that the field is very tight at these events. In real terms, there's very little separating first from last at this elite level. Did you see Jones in the 100M? She didn't have to lose much edge at all to end up fifth. The Olympic trials coverage has been fun to watch, BTW.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 07:31 AM on July 13

Remember also that the field is very tight at these events. In real terms, there's very little separating first from last at this elite level. Agreed on this point. To all the naysayers above, isn't it also possible that just the stress and pressure of being under that type of spotlight/scrutiny caused them to be mentally unfocused to the point of losing a few hundredths of a second? In a sport where visualization and psychology play a fairly substantial role in determining medal outcomes, I would suggest we have to at least acknowledge the possibility rather than simply tarring-and-feathering them as drug users. (That said, let me hypothetically ask this question: If you were on performance-enhancing drugs all along, presumably with the singular goal of qualifying for the Olympics and winning a gold medal, would you stop taking them at this point? It would seem to me that you believed: 1. you needed them to win; 2. you had the "counter-science" of masking agents to not get caught; 3. the slight chance of getting caught was a reasonable trade-off to winning that medal; 4. U.S. Olympic Trials were the only way to get to Athens. Why stop taking them now?)

posted by smithers at 08:16 AM on July 13

Looks like Marion isn't doing all that well in the long-jump either. Kind of odd to see her from going from media darling in 2000 to pariah 4 years later.

posted by Ufez Jones at 09:19 AM on July 13

residing south of the 49th. 54-40 or Fight! But on the topic, I think it's very possible that the controversy and media scrutiny could have a negative effect on Tim and Marion's performance. Yet I still find that hard to believe, and here's why: I'm no athlete, but I know how I respond when challenged. When my boss tells me I'm a stupid lazy jackass who isn't worth minimum wage (or at least implies it), I'm in the office early and late, on weekends, making magical things happen. It's my guess that Tim and Marion are a bit more competitive than me.

posted by rocketman at 10:04 AM on July 13

Exactly, rocketman. I totally agree. They are blaming the media scrutiny...but I would think that that would make them angry and want to work even harder to show the media how wrong they are. I don't think it would affect them aversely. Additionally, I think they would all stop the drugs cold turkey when all the scrutiny is on them...becuase who could they trust now? How would they get them without someone being out to get them? What if the USADA suddenly decides to test them? I bet they stopped as soon as this whole Balco thing broke a few months ago.

posted by aacheson at 10:12 AM on July 13

Wouldn't it be sad if Montgomery had been dosing Marion without her knowledge? (they are married, or a couple, or something, right?) His is an open and shut case. But I'm not 100% sold on Marion doping to win. Her initial handling of the claims didn't serve her well, but her later desire to let the public decide swayed me. And yet these results are speaking for themselves. Something has changed in Marion, and I'm not sure she even knows.

posted by garfield at 11:20 AM on July 13

dosing Marion without her knowledge? Is that like Sheffield's "I have never knowingly ingested steroids?"

posted by rocketman at 11:43 AM on July 13

Sharing an abode does provide alot of opportunity, is all. Provided my assumptions aren't ass-backwards, it is more than possible.

posted by garfield at 12:12 PM on July 13

I'd written a reply earlier, but it seems to have dissappeared. Basically, Marion Jones was the best in the world long before she started going out with Tim Montgomery. If she's been taking drugs, its likely she was taking them from the start, I'd have thought. Why would you start to take drugs when you're already completely dominant? (Also, Marion Jones previous husband was CJ Hunter, the American shotputter, who was also banned for steroid abuse. Him testing positive was all a conspiracy attempt to disrupt her at the Sydney Olympics, according to the pair of them at the time.)

posted by dng at 12:26 PM on July 13

Why would you start to take drugs when you're already completely dominant? because you can't dominate forever?

posted by goddam at 12:37 PM on July 13

Why would you start to take drugs when you're already completely dominant? because you can't dominate forever? And "forever" comes a lot sooner than the natural aging process if a bunch of your competitors start juicing. Then, no matter what you do, you may find you can't be clean and competitive. This is the dilemma that elite athletes face, especially in endurance sports, and what the drug regs were created to address. Unfortunately, as with most regulations and institutions, they've partly lost sight of their original purpose. You can really see in some of the rulings that they seem to have forgotten what it was all about.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:09 PM on July 13

SpoFites, why do you hate druggin'?

posted by worldcup2002 at 05:34 PM on July 14

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