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Nesterenko takes women's 100m gold

Olympics 2004
Yuliya Nesterenko

ATHENS, Greece -- Yuliya Nesterenko of Belarus won the Olympic gold medal in the 100-meter sprint in a time of 10.93 seconds.

The 25-year-old produced a storming finish to outdip the field in a tight final and become her country's first women's Olympic 100 meters champion.

Lauryn Williams of the United States won the silver in a personal best time of 10.96.

Veronica Campbell of Jamaica took the bronze in 10.97.

The race was wide open with 2000 champion Marion Jones, the first two finishers from last year's world championships Americans Kelli White and Torri Edwards, and Greece's 2000 silver medallist Katerina Thanou all absent.

Christine Arron of France, unbeaten in 11 races this year and one of the favorites, failed to make the final, finishing a distant sixth in her semifinal heat.

Neither of the two veterans made it either. Gail Devers, 37, was seventh behind Arron in the first heat and Merlene Ottey, the 44-year-old former Jamaican now running for Slovenia just missed the final, finishing fifth in the second heat in her seventh and most likely final Olympics.

Arron clocked 11.21, well off her European record of 10.72, with Devers right behind at 11.22.

Devers won this event at the 1992 and 1996 games but now mostly runs hurdles. She only got a spot on the 100 team after Torri Edwards was suspended for two years for violating doping rules.

"I'm very disappointed. I really don't know what happened," said Arron, who also failed to make the final in Sydney four years ago. "Basically on the first or second stride I pushed on my leg and collapsed. I just could not get up to speed. It was too late."

Clearly emotional, Nesterenko told reporters straight after her lap of honor: "I am very, very happy. For six months I have been working and training very hard so I knew I could win."

Heptathlon gold for Sweden

Carolina Kluft added the Olympic gold medal to her heptathlon world title Saturday with an overwhelming victory in the grueling two-day event.

The Swede collected 6,952 points, narrowly missing the 7,000 barrier.

Austra Skujyte of Lithuania earned the silver medal at 6,435, and Kelly Sotherton of Britain took the bronze at 6,424.

In the penultimate of the seven events, Kluft was fifth in the javelin with a throw of 48.89 meters, nearly 2 meters under her personal best, and spoiled her hopes of breaking 7,000 points.

The only heptathlete to break the 7,000 mark in the Olympics was Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who did it in 1988 in Seoul and in 1992 in Barcelona. Joyner-Kersee's world record is 7,291, set in Seoul.

Defending Olympic champion Denise Lewis pulled out before the final two events. She only recently returned to competition after an ankle injury and had dropped to 18th after long jump.

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