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For week ended January 30, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

Dutton looking to regain form after two-year hiatus
Lincoln NE Journal Star 28Jan00 S2
By Mark Derowitsch: Lincoln Journal Star

LINCOLN, NEBRASKA -- Janet Dutton is back on the track after a two year layoff to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Returning home from Spain, Dutton had to overcome the effects of giving up track and field just as she was emerging on the college and national scene. She even qualified for the United States Olympic Trials in 1996.

"It was really hard to leave, but I feel the things I did were more important," she said. "Those people I met and helped in Spain mean so much more than a track medal or accomplishment. I don't really feel I gave up anything so much as I had opportunities to gain even more."

"When I came back I was 20 pounds under weight, so it was hard," Dutton said. "It was harder for me to come back than it was to leave just because of the expectations I have for myself. I knew where I could be, and it was so frustrating." Dutton's performance of scoring 3,701 points for the pentathlon this month has eased her mind.

Nebraska assistant coach Steve Smith said, "She's really not that far off." "And she's just going to get better. She's working hard, but she knows it just takes time." A year after returning, Dutton is better than she was in some ways. Shot put used to be her weakest event, but not any longer.

"Some of the events I really picked up quickly, and it was a miracle I was able to do that," Dutton said. "If you serve God and do what you're supposed to do, He'll bless you." By the time the 2000 Games begin in mid-September in Sydney, Australia, Dutton wants to be a member of the U.S. team. "I'm definitely not 100 percent back to where I was, but I have until September," she said.


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