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Another Johnson claims gold, too

It might go down as the most obscure gold medal in American track and field history.

On a night when Michael Johnson began his quest for a historic double and the curtain dropped on Carl Lewis' splendid Olympic career, Allen Johnson of the United States set an Olympic record in winning the 110-meter hurdles Monday.

Johnson, his eyes hidden by menacing black sunglasses, didn't need to see the other runners. He won by a full 2 meters with a time of 12.95, just four-hundredths of a second off Colin Jackson's world record.

The silver went to Mark Crear in a 1-2 sweep for the Americans, and Florian Schwartoff of Germany claimed the bronze.

Afterward, Johnson collapsed amid the flower pots which line the track. Then he took a victory lap with his 3-year-old daughter, Tristine.

"We all want to see Michael run in the Olympics," said Allen, who remained on the track to watch Michael's victory. "I figure when you guys (the media) want to watch us run hurdles, you will."

Even in the interview room Monday, Allen couldn't escape Michael's shadow. The 400 winner peeked around a curtain while Allen discussed his hurdling victory.

That's okay because Johnson can stand on his own accomplishments. Last year, he won the world indoor and outdoor championships, and he thinks hurdlers might just be the best athletes in the Olympics.

"Definitely," Johnson said. "Just think about it. We're running full speed at 3{-foot barriers. We're always falling down and hurting ourselves. Just look at Mark (Crear, who was running with a broken arm suffered in a training mishap). That proves what type of athletes we are."

Johnson knocked over nearly all of the 10 hurdles lining the track, which may have cost him the world record.

WOMEN'S 400: Marie Jose-Perec of France won her second straight Olympic medal. Perec edged ahead of Cathy Freeman of Australia coming off the final turn, and pulled away with 15 meters left. Freeman won the silver medal and Falilat Ogunkoya of Nigeria won bronze.

WOMEN'S 800: Svetlana Masterkova of Russia, a relative unknown whose star had waned since she earned a No.

1 ranking in 1991, won a was expected to be between Maria Mutola of Mozambique, who won 42 straight 800s in a stretch that ended last August, and sentimental favorite Ana Quirot of Cuba. Masterkova pulled away to win easily in 1:57.73 as Mutola had trouble extricating herself from a boxed-in inside position and Quirot simply couldn't make up the gap. Quirot won the bronze medal in Barcelona but suffered severe burns over much of her upper body in a fire in 1993.

MEN'S 10,000: Haile Gebrselassie of Ethiopia completed the first step in his bid for a double triumph by taking the lead on the last lap and winning in 27:07.34, an Olympic record. He's also favored in Saturday's 5,000 meters.

WOMEN'S 10KM WALK: Yelena Ninikolayeva of Russia won the gold in 41 minutes, 49 seconds. Elisabetta Perrone of Italy won the silver in 42:12. The bronze medal initially was awarded to Gao Hongmiao of China, but she was disqualified for a rules violation and the medal was given to Wang Yan of China. Both had finished in 42:19.

WOMEN'S DISCUS: Ilke Wyludda of Germany won the gold medal with a throw of 228 feet, 6 inches. Natalya Sadova of Russia won the silver with 218-1. The bronze went to Elya Zvereva of Belarus, 215-4.