INDIANAPOLIS — Crashes are nothing new to Indianapolis, although they usually involve automobiles.
The crash Sunday at the Hoosier Dome in the world indoor track and field championships involved the world's two best high hurdlers, American Greg Foster and Canadian Mark McKoy.
In the 60-meter hurdles final, hereafter to be known as the Indianapolis 60, Foster hit the second hurdle, stumbled into McKoy's lane and caused a collision that sent both of them sprawling to the hard, rubberized track.
Both suffered cuts and bruises, but neither was seriously injured.
"That's the most brutal crash I've ever seen," said U.S. hurdler Tonie Campbell. "I've never seen anything like that. Those two guys are lucky somebody didn't break a bone or get a concussion."
Campbell was lucky in another way. He won the race, running a personal best 7.51.
"I see myself as a scavenger, a hyena," said Campbell, a former USC hurdler who now coaches at UC Irvine.
"I take the spoils of the kill. That's what happened today. The victory was sitting there, and I grabbed it.
"Today, my belly is very full and lined with gold."
Campbell's gold medal was one of three won by U.S. men Sunday on the final day of the first world indoor championships. The other winners were Kirk Baptiste of Houston in the 200 meters and Mike Conley of Fayetteville, Ark. in the triple jump.
That gave the U.S. men 5 gold medals, 10 medals overall, for the three-day meet. The Soviet Union's men won seven medals, three golds. The only other country to win more than one gold medal in the men's competition was Ireland with two.
East Germany and the Soviet Union dominated the women's competition. The East Germans won five gold medals and three silvers, while the Soviets won three golds, two silvers and three bronzes.
Of 33 medals awarded to women, 25 were won by Eastern Bloc athletes.
In a dismal but hardly unexpected performance, U.S. women won one medal, a silver by the University of Alabama's Lillie Leatherwood-King Sunday in the 400 meters.
Even though she was beaten by almost a full second, Leatherwood-King was declared the winner after East Germany's Sabine Busch was disqualified by a turn judge for running out of her lane.
"She didn't obstruct anyone in the race," said Bernd Schubert, East Germany's team manager, after protesting to the three-member jury of appeals. "She was so far in front of everyone."
The jury of appeals agreed, which hardly was an upset. The chairman, Georg Wieczisk, is East German.
Asked if she felt she had been obstructed by Busch, Leatherwood-King said: "Not really. They said she stepped out of her lane or something. I don't know quite what was going on. I'm happy either way."
In 24 events here, there were six world records.
One was set Sunday, when Bulgaria's Stefka Kostadinova went over the bar at 6-8 3/4 in the high jump. She held the previous record at 6-8.
There also was a record crowd for an indoor meet of 20,971, breaking the 24-hour-old record of 20,023 set here Saturday.
That's fans in Indianapolis for you. The only reason they go to track and field meets is to see the crashes.
There was a controversial one Friday, when Ireland's Eamonn Coghlan fell in the 1,500-meter qualifying after he and West German Dieter Baumann got their feet tangled.
But the one between Foster and McKoy was more dramatic.
Since arriving here Wednesday, Foster has commented on several occasions about the track, which has a fast, Mondo surface instead of the wood that is more common in the United States.
It worked to his advantage in the qualifying Friday night, when he ran 7.46 to break the previous world record he shared with McKoy.
But Foster misjudged his speed Sunday and hit the second of five hurdles. Off-balance, he drifted into McKoy's lane and clipped the Canadian's heel after the third hurdle.
Stumbling, Foster put out his left hand, presumably to break his anticipated fall, and hit McKoy's right arm, propelling the Canadian into the fourth hurdle. The hurdle fell, taking McKoy and Foster down with it.
"When Greg is in the lane to my right side, we always have trouble," said McKoy, who had an ice pack on his right thigh.
"He runs on the left side of his lane, and I run on the right side of mine. I don't think we've ever run against each other in those lanes when we haven't at least bumped each other."
This was the first time, however, that McKoy has ever fallen. It came while he had the lead.
"I've been farther ahead, and Greg's run me down before," McKoy said. "You can't tell until you go over the last hurdle."
McKoy was philosophical about the fall.
"That's the hurdles," he said. "It's the sport I picked, It's a dangerous event, like the pole vault. I don't know who in the world would do that.
"It was nobody's fault. When you clip a hurdle going that speed like Greg did, there's nothing you can do."
It was Foster's first loss in nine races this winter.