Marion Jones

Triple Olympic champion Marion Jones (Pic. below, Jones & Montgomery, AP) will miss August's World athletics championships in Paris after announcing that she is pregnant. The 27-year-old American said she and her partner Tim Montgomery, the 100 metres world record holder, were expecting a baby in July.

"We're just very thrilled to begin this new stage of our relationship and our lives," said Jones, who won 100m, 200m and 4x400m relay golds at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

"I've always wanted to have a family and I've been blessed to have the wonderful family I already have. I'm so thrilled to say this now, so I can have a really normal, normal pregnancy."

Last August Jones said she would target at least three gold medals, including the long jump, at the Paris championships where she was hoping to avenge her shock defeat by Ukrainian Zhanna Pintusevich-Block in the 100 metres at the 2001 Worlds. She was undefeated in 21 races over 100, 200 and 400 metres in 2002, beating Pintusevich-Block twice in the short distance.

Jones says she intends to resume training later this year to prepare for the 2004 Athens Olympics.

"I plan to enjoy this experience," she said. "I don't plan to be on the treadmill and in the gym at 40 weeks.

"I'm a pregnant competitor. Being pregnant doesn't take away from how competitive I am. I look forward to watching Tim compete and seeing how the ladies run at the World championships and I look forward to getting back in training for Athens."