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Beamon Survives Another Lewis Assault : Olympic Hero Leaps Wind-Aided 28-9, Then Retires With a Slight Leg Injury

May 19, 1985|MAL FLORENCE | Times Staff Writer

The figures 29-2 1/2 were boldly displayed on a marker near the long-jump pit Saturday afternoon in the Pepsi Invitational at UCLA.

They weren't violated. The world long-jump record still belongs to Bob Beamon and remains elusive to Carl Lewis.

Lewis provided a sellout crowd of 12,215 at Drake Stadium with an impressive performance, as usual. He had two jumps past 28 feet, with a best of 28-9, but they were both wind-aided.

He retired for the day after running through the pit on his fourth attempt. He said he had a slight cramp in his right leg, adding that the injury wasn't serious.

Still, his 28-9 jump--he had previously jumped 27-10 and 28-7 3/4 Saturday--was the fourth best of all time under any conditions. Only Beamon and Lewis have ever jumped farther.

Even if Lewis had continued jumping, the wind wouldn't have cooperated for record purposes. The maximum allowable wind reading for a record jump is 2 meters per second. The wind whipped up to 3.86 m.p.s. on Lewis' 28-9 effort.

"I'm not disappointed. I jumped well today," Lewis said. "No way do I think I'm finished. What will I jump? It could be 29, 30 or 31 (feet), or whatever when all conditions are right. I'm only disappointed that I didn't get all my jumps today."

So Lewis still pursues Beamon's record, which has endured since the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.

There were some outstanding performances on a warm afternoon, including Jarmila Kratochvilova's double win in the 800 and 400 meters, Joaquim Cruz's stirring sprint in the last 70 to 80 yards of the mile to barely overtake Steve Scott, and attempts by Mike Tully and Billy Olson to break the American pole vault record.

Kratochvilova went ahead on the backstretch of the final lap of the 800 and was pursued by Kim Gallagher, the American silver medalist in last summer's Olympics.

But the Czechoslovakian expanded a short lead and won by about five meters in 2:00.72. Gallagher was a strong second in 2:01.43.

There was a restart in the race after Gallagher had tripped over a cable leading from the starter's gun, throwing her off stride and into Kratochvilova.

Following the 800, Kratochvilova came back after a 1 1/2-hour rest to win the the 400 in 49.89 seconds. She took command at 200 meters and won comfortably. She is the world record-holder in both races at 1:53.28 and 47.99, respectively.

It didn't seem possible that Cruz, the long-striding Brazilian, could catch Scott, who made his move with about 250 yards left and seemed in control of the race coming off the final turn.

But Cruz, the Olympic 800-meter gold medalist, just lengthened his stride and reacted like a sprinter to just catch and beat Scott, the U.S. record-holder in the mile.

Cruz was timed in 3:53.19, one-hundredth of a second ahead of Scott, who had beaten Cruz by the same margin in last year's meet at Westwood.

"I didn't know where he (Cruz) was," Scott said. "Usually, when someone comes up on the leader, the crowd makes a lot of noise. If I had looked over my shoulder, I could have put it in another gear, but I don't know if that would have been enough to hold him off."

Scott, who finished a disappointing 10th in the 1,500 meters in the Olympics, altered his strategy after losing to Cruz at that distance in an earlier race this season in Trinidad.

Scott didn't make his move then until 110 meters from the finish and Cruz had too much run left in him and pulled away to win.

"He has 1:41 half-mile speed and I wanted to take it away from him today and break his stride and rhythm by by making my move earlier," Scott said. "But he's a tough competitor and he doesn't like to lose."

Cruz, 22, said he was surprised when Scott shot into the lead with 250 yards left in the race.

"I stopped (not literally) to think, 'What am I going to do?' Cruz said. 'I had no choice but to kick. I'm glad I had that speed.' "

Cruz, who formerly competed for Oregon, is on the verge of becoming the world's next great middle distance runner--if he hasn't already achieved that status. He flirted with Sebastian Coe's world 800 record of 1:41.73 with a time of 1:41.77. last summer. He plans to make an assault on the 800, 1,000, 1,500 and mile records this year, if possible.

As usual, the pole vault was the last event still in progress and a majority of the crowd lingered to watch Tully and Olson attempt the American record height of 19 feet 2 inches.

Oklahoma State's Joe Dial vaulted 19-1 1/2 recently to break Tully's record of 19-1.

The wind became capricious and except for one good try by Tully on his last attempt, neither vaulter could get off the ground--running into the pit or going under the bar.

Tully won the competition at 18-10, with Olson a surprise second at 18-8. It was only a surprise because Olson, the U.S. indoor record-holder at 19-0, has been bothered by injuries the past year and didn't even make the U.S. Olympic team.

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