U.S. record-holder no-heights

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Jeff Hartwig is the American
record-holder in the men's pole vault and a four-time national
champion. But bad things seem to happen to Hartwig when the
Olympics approach.

Hartwig missed out on a chance for this summer's Athens Games
when he failed to clear any of his attempts Friday in the
preliminary round at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials. He
also failed to make it out of the qualifying round at the Olympic
trials in 2000.

There was a bit of controversy this time.

After missing his first two attempts at 18 feet, { inch, Hartwig
stopped on the runway on his third attempt because of strong winds.
While returning for another attempt, he asked an official how much
time he had left and was told he had 12 seconds. Competitors at
that stage of the competition are allowed 1 minute to attempt a

But before he could begin another attempt, officials told him he
had run out of time. He protested and, about 20 minutes later, won
the right to jump again. He missed, and complained that the rules
say he should have been allowed another jump immediately after he
filed the protest.

"I said after 2000 I'll never let myself be that disappointed
again," said Hartwig, who finished 11th at the 1996 Olympics.
"This is par for the course for me at these kinds of meets."

Also failing to qualify for Sunday's final was Lawrence Johnson,
the reigning Olympic silver medalist. Reaching the final were Toby
Stevenson, who has the best vault in the world this year, and
defending Olympic champion Nick Hysong.

Later in the evening, three-time Olympic champion Marion Jones
was to begin her bid for the U.S. team for the Athens Games. Jones,
who remains under investigation by anti-doping authorities, was to
compete in the quarterfinals of the 100 meters.

Also entered in the 100 was Chryste Gaines, who has been charged
with steroid use by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and faces a
lifetime ban if found guilty.

The first round of the 100, set for Friday afternoon, was
canceled because not enough competitors had met the qualifying

Earlier Friday, a federal judge in San Francisco rejected
USADA's bid to review sealed grand jury testimony of Gaines and
three other sprinters charged by the anti-doping agency with using
performance-enhancing drugs.

Gaines, Tim Montgomery, Alvin Harrison and Michelle Collins all
testified before the grand jury that ultimately indicted four men
connected to the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

Montgomery, world record-holder in the 100 and Jones' boyfriend,
is set to run starting Saturday. Harrison is entered in the men's
400 starting Sunday and Collins is to start running Monday in the
women's 400.