White blazes to history, wins the double

Original article: Daily News

'I hope now I can be appreciated in the track and field world. This is something she hasn't done - or run in a while.'


PARIS, France - Kelli White of Union City may have never won a state high school or NCAA title. But the star of Burlingame's ZMA track club owns a championship double no American woman has previously achieved, the 100 and 200 meter titles in the same world championship meet.

White added the world 200 meter crown to her repertoire last night at Stade de France in Paris, destroying the field with a 2003 world best of 22.05 seconds. Anastasiya Kapachinskaya of Russia was a distant second in 22.38, but managed to prevent another one-two USA sweep by catching Torri Edwards (22.47), who had won the silver medal behind White in the 100 earlier in the week. Edwards had to settle for bronze this time. Also last night, USA long jump champion Grace Upshaw of Redwood City advanced to Saturday's finals with a 21-foot, 6-inch jump on her second attempt of the qualifying round. "It was a little nerve-wracking," Upshaw said. "I ended up in the finals. That's all that matters. All of my work is starting to pay off." She placed 11th among the 25 competitors. The top 12 qualified.

Slow start

Upshaw had fouled on her first try. "I was kind of flat," she said. "I was taking bigger strides than usual. I had to get used to it and get the feel of the championships." It's the first major outdoor championship meet for the 27-year-old Cal grad, who set a personal best of 22-2 1/2 (22 feet, 2 and one-half inches) earlier this summer at Cork, Ireland. She trains at Stanford with coach Edrick Floreal. "I think qualifying rounds are very stressful," Upshaw said last night. "Now I'm going back to the village and take an ice bath to get ready for Saturday's finals. I'll prepare more mentally. But I'm relaxed and having fun."

White is also getting ready to compete again Saturday - to defend the USA title in the 4 x 100 meter relay. Although the official USA line-up has not been announced, the quartet is expected to include White and her ZMA teammate Chryste Gaines, who were on the 2001 gold medal team. Gaines ranks second in the world this year at 100 meters (10.89), behind White (10.85).

And White is conceding nothing for next year to triple 2000 Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones, who was also undefeated in 21 races last season (16 at 100 meters, four at 200, one at 400). Jones sat out this season and gave birth to her first child last month, a boy.

"I hope now I can be appreciated in the track and field world," White said, appearing frustrated with the constant questions and comparisons with the absent Jones. "This is something she hasn't done - or run in awhile."

Not even Jones can match this Jones was the reigning world 200 champion and previously took the 100 titles in 1997 and 1999 - but never both in the same year. Two non-Americans have previously pulled off the double. White will be looking for an unprecedented triple on Saturday.

White won her first USA titles at Stanford in June, taking both the 100 (10.93) and 200 (22.21) with personal bests. She was asked last night about not having previously won any major individual events. "This is where it counts," she said. "I'd rather have it now then when I was 16 or 17. I'm so happy."

White graduated from James Logan High in 1995 and then competed for Tennessee the next four seasons. Although she was a five-time NCAA sprint finalist, her highest finish was fourth in the 200 as a senior in 1999.