Yuliya Nesterenko ended two decades of American dominance in the 100 meters Saturday, using a powerful closing surge to edge a 20-year-old who is the
future of U.S. sprinting.
Nesterenko, a Belarusian who had never broken 11 seconds before the Olympics but did it in all four rounds here, won gold in 10.93 seconds. Lauryn
Williams, the NCAA champion from the University of Miami, was second in a personal-best 10.96. Veronica Campbell of Jamaica got the bronze in
Nesterenko got out to an early lead, then Williams overtook her with about 30 meters remaining. But the taller Nesterenko used her longer stride to
catch the 5-foot-3 Williams in the closing meters.
Silver was just fine for Williams, a talkative 20-year-old who just a few months ago was taking college classes. It was made sweeter by the presence
of her father, who has leukemia and came to Athens after a $10,000 donation from a cancer survivor in his home state of Pennsylvania.
When the race was over, Williams saw a replay of her parents celebrating in the stands. David Williams, who must undergo periodic dialysis because of
kidney failure, had missed his daughter's races on Friday.
"They showed them actually on the screen at the finish line so I got to see them and they were going crazy,'' Lauryn Williams said. "I'm so glad he
made it here, because he missed the first two races.''
David Williams jumped for joy and began accepting handshakes as soon as the results were posted on the scoreboard.
"Even on my best days, I don't have the strength she has,'' he said.
The only other American to reach the final, U.S. champion LaTasha Colander, was last in 11.18.
Americans had won the previous five gold medals in the women's 100. But defending champion Marion Jones finished fifth at the U.S. trials. Gail
Devers, the winner in 1992 and 1996, was eliminated in the semifinals. Florence Griffith Joyner won in 1988 and Evelyn Ashford was the 1984
The event was missing numerous top sprinters involved in doping investigations.
World champion Torri Edwards and Kelli White are serving drug suspensions. Chryste Gaines, who like Jones did not qualify, has been charged with
steroid use. Jones is being investigated. Jones and Gaines claim they never used performance-enhancing substances.