PORTLAND, Ore. — Mary Decker Slaney has some well-known nightmares in her past, but her dream remains the same: Olympic gold.
Slaney holds every world outdoor women's record from 800 to 10,000 meters. With another Olympic year looming, however, she wants nothing more than to erase the memory of perhaps her worst moment--being carried from the infield in the 1984 Olympics at Los Angeles after her entanglement with Zola Budd and disastrous fall.
The Eugene star has not raced competitively since giving birth to daughter Ashley 18 months ago. Part of that layoff was due to an injury to her right Achilles tendon for which she underwent surgery in June.
"I've got to have the right things happen at the right time, for a change," Slaney, 29, said as she announced she will return to competition Jan. 23 at the Oregon Indoor meet in Portland's Memorial Coliseum.
Slaney hopes to run in the 3,000 meters in the Olympics at Seoul, South Korea. She will try the 2,000-meter event at Portland.
"I need to run indoors," Slaney said. "My coach would prefer that I not run any indoors."
"The reason I've chosen to run the 2,000 is that the 3,000 on indoor tracks is much too far for me--it gets a little bit monotonous," she said. Shorter distances would call for too much speed at this point in her latest comeback try, she said.
"I would like to go into '88 with an extremely positive race, before a positive crowd," Slaney said. "I'm in good condition now, but I'm not in race shape. The most important thing for me is to stay healthy."
Slaney said she will peak at about 50 miles a week in her training. "That's not very much, when you compare it to the marathoners who run 80 or 90 miles a week. But for me it's a lot," she said.
"If I can get through the year healthy doing this, I think I'll be in the best shape I've ever been in by the Olympics.
"Obviously, the goal this year is the Olympics," adding later, "I can't believe how fast time flies."
Slaney said she probably will run in two other indoor races--the Millrose Games at New York and another to be determined.
Several other Olympic hopefuls will launch the Olympic year in the Oregon Indoor, said Tom Jordan, director of the Portland event, sponsored by Pacific Northwest Bell.
They include Earl Bell, the 1984 Olympic bronze medalist in the vault, who set a meet record last January with a leap of 19-2 3/4, and University of Oregon graduate Kory Tarpenning. Jordan cal1818584096feet.
High jumper Dwight Stones, who has been on every Olympic team since 1972, will make his first Oregon Indoor appearance, Jordan said.