SYDNEY, Australia -- Marion Jones will not only have to beat world-class athletes to win five gold medals, she'll have to overcome a world-class distraction -- her husband, shot put champ C.J. Hunter, tested positive for a steroid.
Not even glorious moments on the Olympic Stadium track -- Cathy Freeman's victory in the women's 400 meters and Michael Johnson's second 400 gold minutes later -- could totally compensate for the latest scandal in these drug-plagued games.
Track's governing body said Hunter tested positive for nandrolone, a substance athletes use to repair the damage their bodies sustain in training and competition.
Istvan Gyulai, general secretary of the International Amateur Athletics Federation, would not say when Hunter took the test, although IOC drug chief Prince Alexandre de Merode said an athlete tested positive for nandrolone at a meet in Norway, where the shot putter finished second.
Hunter was quick to contest the accusation.
"I know what's going on and I am aware of the allegations and am going to defend myself vigorously," he told NBC.
Hunter won the 1999 world shot put championship and finished second at the U.S. trials in June, but withdrew from the Olympic team Sept. 11, citing slow recovery from a knee injury.
He is in Sydney to support his wife, who is trying for a historic five track and field golds by a woman. Jones won her first event, the 100 meters, Saturday night. She next competes Wednesday, in the 200-meter preliminaries.
"The challenge that Marion Jones was facing, a real athletic challenge, has only been enhanced by all the developments here thus far," said Craig Masback, chief executive officer of USA Track & Field.
The United States stayed on top of the medal count at the end of competition Monday. The Americans had 58 medals (23 gold, 14 silver, 21 bronze). China had 48 (21-14-13) and Russia followed with 47 (14-14-19).
-- SOFTBALL: The Americans came into the medal round Monday having lost three times and needing three straight wins over the teams that beat them to win the gold.
Two down, one to go.
Stacey Nuveman hit a 10th-inning, three-run homer that lifted the United States past China 3-0 in the semifinal. Then, in a nightcap to determine which team would play Japan for the gold medal, Lisa Fernandez struck out 13 as the United States beat Australia 1-0.
-- TENNIS: Wimbledon champion, U.S. Open champion, gold medalist. Guess which title means the most to Venus Williams?
Williams extended her winning streak to 31 matches and advanced to the women's singles final with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win over U.S. teammate Monica Seles.
"It's probably bigger than a Grand Slam," said Williams, who has won the Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles during her streak. "It seems the ultimate thing is to have a gold."
Williams will play No. 10 Elena Dementieva of Russia in Wednesday's final.
-- BASKETBALL: And rounding out the U.S. high jump team ... Vince Carter.
Carter intercepted a pass and leaped over -- that's right, over -- 7-foot-2 center Frederic Weis to highlight an otherwise lackluster 106-94 win for the Americans over France. The United States (5-0) now moves to the medal round of the Olympic tournament.
-- GYMNASTICS: Blaine was a bust and Elise was eighth as the U.S. gymnasts lost out on any hope of a gymnastics medal for the first time since 1972, not counting the boycotted Moscow Games.
Top American male Blaine Wilson finished sixth in the vault finals and Elise Ray was eighth in the balance beam Monday. Gervasio Deferr of Spain won the men's vault, while China's Liu Xuan took gold in the balance beam.
-- BEACH VOLLEYBALL: The home team won again.
Already having its best overall Olympic performance ever, host nation Australia picked up a gold in women's beach volleyball. Natalie Cook and Kerri Pottharst edged out Brazilians Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar 12-11, 12-10 in front of yet another rowdy crowd of Aussies.
The Brazilian team of Sandra Pires and Adriana Samuel beat Yukiko Takahashi and Teru Saiki of Japan for the bronze.
-- WEIGHTLIFTING: A Bulgarian weightlifter, whose team had been expelled from the Olympics for drug use, won a silver medal just hours after his country successfully petitioned to get back in the games. Alan Tsagaev took the silver medal in the 231 1/4-pound class, behind gold-winner Iranian Hossein Tavakoli.
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