YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE 1987 PAN AMERICAN GAMES : Lewis Wins Long Jump; Beamon Record Survives

August 17, 1987|RANDY HARVEY | Times Staff Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — As soon as Carl Lewis arrived at the track Sunday morning, he knew his chances to break Bob Beamon's 19-year-old world record in the long jump were gone with the wind.

"The flags were blowing every which way," said Lewis' coach, Tom Tellez. "There were three different winds, a head wind, a tail wind and a cross wind."

Under the circumstances, Lewis' performance was extraordinary, even for him, although he fell short of the 29-feet, 2 1/2-inch record Beamon set in the 1968 Summer Olympics at altitude in Mexico City.

Lewis had five jumps more than 28-feet, including a legal 28-8 1/2, the sixth best of all time, to win the second of his Pan American Games gold medals. He had another 28-8 1/2 jump, but it was a1768187236more than the 2.0 allowable for record purposes. Two of his other 28-foot jumps Sunday were wind-aided.

The other U.S. athlete in the competition, Larry Myricks, was the only other person to jump more than 28-feet Sunday at 28-1 3/4, but he was aided by a wind of 2.4. Cuba's Jaime Jefferson finished third with a legal jump of 27-11.

The only day Lewis was ever better in the long jump was in April, when he jumped more than 28-3 on all six of his jumps at the Mt. San Antonio College Relays. Three of those were wind-aided.

In 15 jumps for Lewis this year, 12 have been longer than 28 feet. No other jumper has more than eight 28-foot jumps in a career. Lewis has 41.

Lewis didn't break 28 feet Sunday only on his first jump, when he was knocked off stride by the wind and landed at 22-7.

"He started into a head wind, which turned into a tail wind and threw him off," Tellez said. "He lost a jump there."

His legal 28-8 1/2 came three jumps later. It might have been a 29-footer if he hadn't dragged his right hand behind him when he landed.

"I probably lost three or four inches," Lewis said. "It's a mistake I shouldn't have made, but that's part of the competition."

It still was a Pan American Games record, but it wasn't an Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis track record. It wasn't even the second-best jump at this track.

Lewis jumped 28-9 here in the 1982 U.S. Olympic Festival, then returned the next year for the national championships and jumped an American record of 28-10 1/2.

Because of his past successes at this track, one of the best in the world for the long jump, Lewis believed he had a chance to break the world record in this meet. Jackie Joyner-Kersee tied the women's world long jump record here Thursday night, but the conditions were near-perfect for her competition, unlike Sunday.

"I'm not really super disappointed," Lewis said. "I've said all along the most important factor in jumping 29 feet is to have a consistent wind. That's absolutely what we didn't have."

As for the extremes, Lewis had a head wind of 2.6 (5.81 m.p.h.) on his first jump and a tail wind of 4.1 (9.17 m.p.h.) on his last jump.

"I thought he did a great job of trying to figure out the wind and doing what he had to do," Tellez said. "If he had no wind or even a steady head wind, he wouldn't have had to worry about it. As it was, he still got better as he went along."

Lewis was allowed to take his fourth jump out of order so that he could run the anchor leg for the U.S. 4x100 relay team, which won in 38.41. Cuba was second in 38.86.

More interesting was the men's 4x400 relay, which the United States also won when Roddie Haley of the University of Arkansas overtook Cuba's Roberto Hernandez in the stretch. The United States was timed in 2:59.54 to Cuba's 2:59.72.

Cuba was disqualified because Hernandez cut off Haley on the final curve. But Cuba, represented by delegation chief Alberto Juantorena protested, claiming Haley hit Hernandez with the baton after they crossed the finish line. Hernandez had a cut hand and a spiked ankle, which he also said was inflicted by Haley.

While the argument raged, Rowdy Roddie, who missed the open 400 meters Thursday night because of bronchitis, sat in a tent wrapped in towels with his arm attached to an IV.

Officials eventually upheld Juantorena's protest, reinstating the Cubans as silver medalists.

Cuba had the only double gold medalist in individual events in Ana Quirot, who won the 400 meters Thursday night and the 800 Sunday. When Juantorena won those events in the 1976 Summer Olympics, he was known as El Caballo, the Horse. Quirot said she is not known as La Potranca (the Filly) but has been called the Juantorena of Cuban women.

Running the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay Sunday, Quirot came from far behind to challenge the United States' Diane Dixon but faded to fourth place. The U.S. women won both relays.

In the six days of track and field competition, the United States won 56 medals, its second most ever in the Pan American Games. The United States won 62 in 1959 in Chicago.

Most of the U.S. athletes leave today for Europe, where they will run in Zurich Wednesday and West Berlin Friday before assembling in Stuttgart, West Germany, to train for the world championships, Aug. 29-Sept. 6, in Rome.

Lewis has qualified for three individual events in Rome but said he will decide next week whether to compete in the 200. He definitely will compete in the 100 and the long jump as well as the 4x100 relay.

"As sure as I'm standing here, Carl's going to get the world record in the long jump," Tellez said. "It might not be in Rome because of all the other things he has to do there. But it'll happen.

"When he goes over 29 feet, he'll do it a lot. He's just got to get that feeling one time. Then it's on to 30."

Los Angeles Times Articles