After having been suspended for 18 months by the International Amateur Athletic Federation for refusing to take a drug test in September of 1984, the Soviet Union's Tatiana Kazankina was supposed to make her comeback Saturday at the Bruce Jenner Bud Light meet in San Jose.
It didn't happen because Kazankina and six other Soviet athletes withdrew from the meet for reasons that are still not clear.
But as far as Luis de Oliveira is concerned, the next time Kazankina competes will be too soon.
"Anybody who has been out because of drugs should be banned forever," said de Oliveira, the Brazilian coach who lives in Eugene, Ore. "I have nothing against Kazankina personally, but the only way to stop drugs in athletics is to ban athletes for life."
Kazankina holds world records in the 1,500, 2,000 and 3,000. But there are suspicions about her time of 8:22.62 in the 3,000 because she ran it only days before she refused to be tested after a meet in Paris.
Even though Soviet officials say that she tested negative after setting the world record at a meet in the Soviet Union, their word in drug matters is considered by track and field experts in the West to be worth about as much as the stuff that goes into the bottle.
De Oliveira is not alone when he claims that the fastest "clean" time by a woman in the 3,000 is the 8:25.83 that Mary Decker Slaney ran last year in Rome.
That may not be fair to Kazankina or the Soviets, but such is the state of the relationship between East and West. Also, De Oliveira may not be entirely objective because he coaches Slaney.
"I know Mary is totally against running against Kazankina," De Oliveira said. "It's not fair to athletes who don't take drugs. But if the IAAF says she can compete, what can we do?
"The IAAF is not very consistent about a lot of stuff. They say Renaldo Nehemiah can't compete (in track and field) because he signed as a professional football player, but what he did is nothing compared to an athlete who uses drugs."
According to the Track & Field News form chart, two teams from the Southwest Conference, SMU's men and Texas' women, will win championships at the NCAA meet this week in Indianapolis.
SMU's men are slight favorites over Washington State. Not coincidentally, those teams have perhaps the two most exciting athletes in the meet.
SMU's Roy Martin, who this year has run 9.97 seconds in the 100 meters and 19.86 in the 200, both wind-aided, will run in those two events as well as in the 400 relay. He may also anchor the Mustangs' 1,600 relay if it appears that the race will determine the championship.
Washington State's Gabriel Tiacoh, the Olympic silver medalist from the Ivory Coast, has the world's fastest time, 44.32, in the 400 meters this year and could challenge Lee Evans' 18-year-old world record of 43.86 on the fast Indianapolis track.
Track & Field News projects UCLA to finish 6th, Oregon 8th and USC in a tie for 10th.
Texas' women have the equivalent of Martin in Julie Cuthbert, who is expected to score in the 100, 200 and both relays. USC and Alabama are the other leading contenders for the team championship. UCLA could finish in the top five.
Andre Phillips never has been faster than at the Pepsi meet two weeks ago, when he ran 44.71 in the open 400 meters. If he had been scheduled to run against Edwin Moses the next day in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, Phillips probably would have been favored.
But Phillips since has suffered a stress fracture in his right shin while training for the decathlon and hasn't been able to train at a level necessary to beat Moses.
Phillips still ran a 47.95 in the intermediate hurdles at San Jose, the fastest time in the world this year, but said afterward that he probably will take the next two weeks off before returning for the USA/Mobil national championships, June 19-21, in Eugene.
As a result, Phillips probably won't be in the field when Moses makes his comeback after missing last season with a knee injury. Moses, who said recently he is in better shape than he was at this point in 1984, probably will put his 109-race winning streak on the line either Saturday at the Prefontaine meet in Eugene or the next Saturday at the Jumbo Elliott meet in Philadelphia.
"Every time I say something about Edwin, it's misquoted or taken out of context," Phillips said. "I've got nothing against Edwin. He's the greatest hurdler who ever lived. But before this injury, I thought I was more ready to run against him than ever before. I wanted to be there when he went for 110. Now, I don't know."