DUISBURG, West Germany — Dave Johnson of the United States clinched the decathlon gold medal in the final event at the World University Games Sunday.
Johnson trailed Mikhail Medved of the Soviet Union by 11 points before the 1,500-meter race, the final event of the two-day competition.
"It's the hardest I've ever worked in my life," said Johnson, of Montclair, Calif. "I was scared to death. I knew I had to run at my best or even better to win."
Johnson posted a time of 4 minutes 32.72 seconds in the 1,500. That gave him 727 points for a winning total of 8,216, 154 more than Medved.
The Soviet had a time of 4:59.60 in the race, worth 562 points, and ended up second with a total of 8,062.
Johnson leads the world decathlon rankings this year with 8,549 points. "I always go out to give 100%, but the weather conditions stopped me from having a better score," he said.
Sheldon Blockburger of the U.S. was third going into the last event. But he was overtaken by Dezso Szabo of Hungary and had to settle for fourth place at 7,906. Szabo clinched the bronze with 8,031.
"I felt good going into the race, but my legs just gave out," said Blockburger, who had the slowest 1,500 time and earned only 569 points in the final event.
Olympic steeplechase champion Julius Kariuki of Kenya, running the distance for the first time this year, won the men's 10,000-meter race, while the Romanian team earned six gold medals.
Four of Romania's golds came in rowing and two in track and field, one of them from Olympic champion Paula Ivan, who set a meet record in winning the women's 3,000-meter race.
Reggie Davis won the gold and Kevin Henderson took the bronze for the U.S. in the men's 400-meter intermediate hurdles.
Davis, of Tallahassee, Fla., breezed home in the hurdles in 49.74 seconds. Vladimir Budko of the Soviet Union was a distant second in 50.30, with Henderson, of Auburn, Ala., third in 50.57.
"I had some problems recently with disqualifications, but this time it was OK," Davis said. "I wanted this title and a meet record, but the weather spoiled my chances."
Kariuki, who won the gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Games in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, beat out Zeki Oeztuerk of Turkey to win the 10,000 in the slow time of 28:35.46.
"I ran to win and didn't worry about the time," Kariuki said. "I'm in good condition and it's not a problem to run either the steeplechase or the 10,000."
Ivan, the Olympic 1,500-meter champion and silver medalist at 3,000 meters, won the gold in the 3,000 in 8:44.09, bettering her meet record of 8:53.61 set in 1987.
Ana Quirot of Cuba cruised to victory in the women's 400 meters in a slow 50.73, ahead of Jearl Miles of the U.S. at 52.41.
Quirot posted a meet record of 50.01 in Saturday's heats, fastest in the world this year.
Miles, of Jacksonville, Fla., said she tried to conserve her strength for the final 200 meters.
"I tried not to waste too much energy on the backstretch and concentrated on giving a big burst on the home stretch," she said.
Jaime Jefferson of Cuba won the men's long jump at 26 feet, 2 1/4 inches. Vladimir Ratoushkov of the Soviet Union was second at 26-1 1/2, followed by Llewellyn Starks of the U.S. at 25-11 1/2.
Galina Astafei of Romania, the world junior champion, upset Silvia Costa of Cuba in the women's high jump. Both cleared 6-3 1/4 but Astafei won on fewer misses.