SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Tim Montgomery (search), the world's fastest man but also a suspected steroid user who faces a lifetime ban, saved the U.S. Olympic Committee from a huge headache by failing to qualify for the Athens Games in the 100 meters.
Montgomery finished seventh Sunday in a final won by reigning Olympic champion Maurice Greene (search) in 9.91 seconds. Justin Gatlin was second in 9.92 and Shawn Crawford took the third Olympic spot in 9.93. Montgomery's time was 10.13.
By not qualifying, Montgomery saved the USOC the possible embarrassment of having to remove him from the U.S. squad before the games if an international panel of arbitrators finds him guilty of doping.
He has been charged by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with drug use. His case now is before the Swiss-based Court of Arbitration for Sport. No date has yet been set for a hearing.
Montgomery is one of four sprinters charged by USADA with steroid use. Another member of that group, Chryste Gaines, failed to qualify in the women's 100. Alvin Harrison, another of those four, made it through the first round of the 400 Sunday.
Montgomery's girlfriend, three-time Olympic champion Marion Jones (search), failed to qualify Saturday in the 100 but still will try to make the U.S. team for Athens in the 200 and the long jump. She is under investigation by USADA, but has not been charged.
Greene, a three-time world champion, has been back in top form this season after two years of injury and poor results. He also lost his world record to Montgomery during those two years, but could get it back if Montgomery is found guilty of doping.
By winning, Greene prevented a sweep of the sprint titles by coach Trevor Graham -- whose pupils include Gatlin, Crawford and women's 100 champion LaTasha Colander. Graham is the former coach of Montgomery and Jones, who dumped him last year.