-- Despite failing to advance to Saturday's women's 100-meter Olympic final, American Gail Devers said she had no regrets about having accepted a late entry into the field -- even though her decision meant Marion Jones, the 2000 Olympic champion, could not compete in the event.
Devers, who will also compete in the 100 hurdles here, finished seventh in her heat in 11.22 seconds. Only the top four in each heat advanced. Veterans Merlene Ottey, 44, of Slovenia and Christine Arron, 30, of France, were also eliminated in the semis.
"I never regret any decision I make because I pray on my decisions," said Devers, a two-time Olympic champion in the event. "I prayed long and hard before taking on this challenge."
Devers, 37, claimed the spot after the Court of Arbitration for Sport this week denied Torri Edwards's appeal of her two-year drug ban, keeping her out of the Summer Games. Because Devers finished fourth at the Olympic trials in the event, she had first dibs at the opening. Jones, who finished fifth, said she would have taken it if offered.
Devers, who wore a wrap on her left leg but said she felt fine, said she competed this week largely to work on her speed in the hurdles event.
"I'm disappointed I didn't get to the final," Devers said. "I would have loved to be there, but I'm not disappointed in my decision."
Hurd 22nd Overall
U.S. champion Tiombe Hurd of Upper Marlboro finished 22nd overall in qualifying for the triple jump, failing to advance to the final in her first Olympic Games appearance.
Hurd, a graduate of James Madison and Howard, expressed disappointment after jumping 45 feet 101/2 inches, saying she hadn't felt right all night.
"I felt really good in the warm-ups and they went well, but unfortunately when it was time to jump, my steps were off and I was stutter-stepping to the board, so it really didn't set me up to have a good take-off and I just couldn't jump well," she said. "I felt really great training here, but when you get to the big day, you've got to make it happen and I didn't make it happen today. I wish I could have had a better performance with my parents in the stands."
If Saturday's quarterfinal round was any indication, Sunday's men's 100 final could be one of the best races in Olympic history. Five men ran under 10 seconds. U.S. sprinter Shawn Crawford posted a time of 9.89 seconds, just a hundredth of a second off of his world-leading mark. Reigning 100 champion Maurice Greene and Portugal's Francis Obikwelu clocked 9.93s, and American Justin Gatlin finished in 9.96.
"I feel like I'm running on air out there," Gatlin said. "I just pulled away from the field. I felt strong. If I leave a message, great. I hope somebody picks it up."
Greene dismissed the significance of Saturday's times.
"That's just a steppingstone for the next round," Greene said. "I don't have my gold medal yet, so it doesn't mean anything."
Added Greene, "We're going to have a party [Sunday] and everybody's invited."
Ailing Burrell Fourth
Heptathlete Shelia Burrell missed an Olympic medal by 128 points.
Burrell, who revealed after the meet that she had competed with a stress fracture in her right foot, finished fourth with 6,296 points. World champion Carolina Kluft of Sweden claimed the gold as expected.
"So close, but no cigar," Burrell said. "That was pretty intense. I came here expecting to medal. . . . I said I'm going to go for this. I said to my coach, 'Don't ask me if I'm hurt, don't ask me how I'm feeling. I'm just going to go out there and be a soldier.' "
Added Burrell: "I don't even think my coach thought I would do this well. I'm a two-time Olympian and I walk out of here with my head hanging really high, not even hanging. My head is lifted up."