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Sydney 2000 - Overview

Marion Jones lays down the challenge

American sprint queen Marion Jones set herself the target of winning five titles at Sydney 2000 and fell only marginally short of that goal by plundering three gold and two bronze medals.

She was magnificent in both the 100 and 200 meters and lifted gold in the 4x400 relay, as well. But in the long jump and the 4x100, she had to settle for third, which was hardly a disappointment.

Another great fell short of the mark he'd set himself, as Australian swim sensation Ian Thorpe, with his size 17 flipper-feet, was unexpectedly blasted out of the water by Dutchman Pieter van den Hoogenband, who won the 100 and 200 freestyle golds.

Thorpe's only individual gold came in the 400 freestyle event, but he also left with two team golds.

Motor-mouthed American speed king Maurice Greene fulfilled his promise by winning the 100; Britain's Jonathan Edwards won the triple jump; and Cuba's Ivan Pedroso won the long jump.

Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie was crowned 10,000-meter king once more, and the Czech Republic's Jan Zelezny won his third javelin gold.

Emphasis on sport rather than cash

The Netherlands had a good Games, with cyclist Leontien van Moorsel-Zijlaard and swimmer Inge de Bruijn winning three gold medals apiece.

In the judo competition, French heavyweight David Douillet confirmed his dominance of the sport with a second consecutive gold.

British rowing veteran Steven Redgrave needed no such confirmation but went ahead and won a gold medal at his fifth consecutive Games, and he swore when climbing from his boat never again to set foot in one.

Holding a world record is no guarantee of Olympic success, as Morocco's 1500-meter man Hicham El Guerrouj discovered.

Denmark's Kenyan-born Wilson Kipketer held the 800 record, but he too was beaten in his speciality.

Russian wrestler Alexander Karelin and Turkish weightlifter Naim Suleymanoglu were both foiled as they chased a third consecutive title.

The anti-doping campaign at Sydney was stringent to the point of injustice, as Romanian gymnast Andreea Raducan found out when stripped of her all-around gold medal after testing positive because of a cold remedy.

Australia is a nation that holds sporting endeavor in the highest regard, and after the commercial orgy at Atlanta, the Olympic movement could not have chosen a host more dedicated purely to sport rather than to the money flushing round it.

Copyright 2008 Agence France-Presse.

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