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Lewis Doesn't Get the Record, but He Wins the Crowd

May 19, 1985|CHRIS BAKER | Times Staff Writer

Carl Lewis was almost booed out of the Coliseum at the 1984 Olympics when he passed up his final four tries in the long jump after winning the gold medal on his second jump.

But there wasn't any booing Saturday at the Pepsi Invitational when Lewis passed on his last two attempts in the long jump because of a cramp in his right hamstring.

"Today I think the fans felt I was trying my hardest," Lewis said. "I had to pass the last two jumps, but the crowd was not negative. There seemed to be more knowledgeable track fans than at the Olympics."

The meet had been built around Lewis' attempt to break Bob Beamon's world record of 29-2 1/2. And a sellout crowd of 12,215 was on hand at UCLA's Drake Stadium to see if he could do it.

"The hype today was around me, not in me. I don't really concern myself too much with all that," Lewis said. "I wasn't out here to try to break the world record. I was just out here to try and jump well."

Asked where he'd like to break Beamon's record if he had his choice, Lewis quipped: "In my front yard."

He recorded his best mark on his third jump, soaring 28-9. But the wind reading was 3.86 meters per second, well over the allowable limit of 2.0. It was the fourth best jump of all time under any conditions, however.

"Things started well. I thought I was relaxed and prepared to go over 29 feet," Lewis said.

But he aborted his fourth jump, running through the pit after he felt a cramp in his right hamstring.

"This was by no means a pull. Please don't write that. It was just a cramp," Lewis said. "I had a cramp in my right hamstring. I felt it right after the takeoff. It doesn't bother me to walk. It should be all right tomorrow, but I'm not an expert on injuries."

Asked if he was disappointed that he didn't break Beamon's record, Lewis said, "No. I'm disappointed that I didn't get to take all my jumps and finish. I'd love to get Beamon's record. I hold it in high esteem, as I do Beamon.

"I learned some things today that will help me for the rest of the season. I need to work a little harder on the board. I have learned something from every competition."

Although the long jump turned out to be almost anticlimactic, the finish of the men's mile was one of the most exciting moments of the meet.

Last year, Steve Scott came from behind to nip Joaquim Cruz of Brazil in the stretch in the Pepsi mile.

But Cruz turned the tables on Scott this time, passing him in the last eight meters for the win.

Cruz, the Olympic gold medalist in the 800, was timed in 3:53.19, with Scott second at 3:53.20.

"I didn't know I had won until I caught him (Scott)," Cruz said. "He passed me in the last 100 meters and I stopped to think, 'What am I going to do now?' But I had saved enough for my kick."

There also was a stirring finish in the women's 800 between Jarmila Kratochvilova of Czechoslovakia and Kim Gallagher, the Olympic silver medalist for the United States.

'I went with her (Kratochvilova) because I felt great with 200 meters to go," Gallagher said. "I just couldn't get her in that last part. But I'm really happy because she didn't pull away from me. I'm really confident. You're not supposed to feel this good in your second 800 of the year.

"I wasn't intimidated by her. I think she's a great runner. If she's in world-class shape I'll settle for second, but I don't think she was in world-class shape today."

There has been speculation that Kratochvilova, 32, who has run for 19 seasons, might retire after this year.

Asked if Kratochvilova plans to quit, her interpreter said: "She always says she will quit. She doesn't really know when she will retire."

Valerie Brisco-Hooks, who won three gold medals in the Olympics, was involved in a close finish in the women's 200. Brisco-Hooks ran the turn well and was in the lead after the first 50 meters.

She held off Merlene Ottey-Page to win in a wind-aided 22.24. Ottey-Page was timed in 22.25.

"I wanted a world record, but I'm happy with my time," Brisco-Hooks said. "I ran a hard curve, but I relaxed too much in the second phase of the race.

"It was important for me to beat Ottey because I didn't know where I was at this point. I haven't had that many races."

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