Maurice Greene didn't need Michael Johnson running alongside to turn in a fast time in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships today. Marion Jones didn't need a reminder to run fast, either.
Greene and Johnson had been scheduled to meet in the 200-meter final Sunday, but Johnson withdrew Friday because of an injured quadriceps muscle.
That left Greene, the world record holder in the 100, as the sole star of the men's 200.
He didn't disappoint, producing the fastest time of the six preliminary heats, 20.26 seconds, despite easing up with about 40 meters remaining. He won his semifinal heat in a wind-aided 20.11, despite looking around with 15 meters left.
Greene discounted Johnson's absence.
"I can't worry about Michael Johnson," he said. "If I was hurt, I wouldn't have run either."
Rohsaan Griffin, the 1999 indoor champion, won the other semifinal in a wind-aided 19.96.
Jones, still smarting from Friday night's stunning upset loss in the long jump, sped to victory in her semifinal heat in the women's 200 in a wind-aided 22.31, the faster of the two heats. Before slowing with 15 meters remaining, she showed no sign of the knee injury she received while long-jumping June 12.
"It wasn't a great time, but it gets me to the final and one step closer to my first win of the championships," Jones said.
The women's final is Sunday.
Twelve finals were held today -- six each for men and women.
The most scintillating performance was Regina Jacobs's victory in the women's 1,500 in a meet-record 4 minutes 2.41 seconds, the fastest in the world this year. Jacobs led all the way in winning her eighth national title -- her first was in 1987 -- by about 40 meters. The previous meet record was 4:03.37, by Mary Slaney in 1982.
In contrast to the women's 1,500, the men's 1,500 was a tense, tight duel. At the end, Steve Holman, who in the past has had numerous difficulties in big meets, held off 1997 winner and two-time NCAA champion Seneca Lassiter -- 3:39.21 to 3:39.23.
The other men's champions were defending champion Jerome Young in the 400 at 44.24, second-fastest in the world this year; Angelo Taylor in the 400 hurdles in 48.49; Kevin Dilworth in the long jump with a wind-aided 26 feet 7 3/4 inches; Anthony Washington in the discus at 222-11; and American record holder Tom Pukstys in the javelin at 256-0 -- his sixth national title and third in a row.
The other women's champions were Maicel Malone-Wallace in the 400 in 51.29, her third national title; Sandra Glover in the 400 hurdles in 55.95; Libbie Hickman in the 10,000 in a meet-record and career-best 31:41.33, fastest by an American this year; Stacy Dragila in the pole vault with a meet-record 14-7 1/4; and Michelle Rohl in the 20-kilometer walk in an American-record 1:33:17.
Pukstys's six victories tied the meet record set by George Bronder, the winner from 1914 to 1919, and equaled by Bud Held, the champion in 1949, 1951, 1953-55 and 1958.
"I want to medal in a worlds or Olympics," Pukstys said. "If I can stand on that podium -- I don't care what color the medal is -- I'll be able to walk away from the sport totally content, with a smile on my face."
Tom Petranoff, the 41-year-old former world record holder, finished second in the javelin at 246-9 -- his first appearance in the national championships in 11 years.
Petranoff was a 1984 and 1988 Olympian and two-time U.S. champion before leaving the United States for South Africa. He became eligible to compete again for the United States last December.
"I've had a great career," Petranoff said. "I can still throw. . . . I think I'll make the Olympic team next year.
"I hope I'm an inspiration to other throwers to come out and give it a shot."