Mark Witherspoon was one of the favorites for gold in the 100-meter dash. He looked the part when he won his quarterfinal heat in 10.19.
But in the semis Witherspoon ran only 30 meters before he fell to the track, writhing in pain. He had ruptured his right Achilles tendon and was carried off on a stretcher with what doctors said could be a career-ending injury.
It was not the first time Witherspoon, a 28-year-old computer-graphics artist, had suffered an injury at the worst possible time. In 1987 he won the TAC 100, but a pulled hamstring during a heat of that year's Pan American Games sidelined him. Witherspoon's injury in Barcelona increased the chance that his Santa Monica Track Club teammate Carl Lewis, who finished sixth in the Olympic trials, would get to run the 4 X 100 relay for the U.S. this week.
A very satisfied smile spread across the face of one of the four Ivan Ivanovs on the Bulgarian Olympic team. With a combined lift of 584 pounds, the 5-foot, 114-pound weightlifter (his namesakes are an archer, a gymnast and a badminton player) won Bulgaria its first gold medal of the Barcelona Games, rewarding his coach with a fitting birthday present and earning himself $15,000 and a new car. Ivanov so outclassed his opponents in the flyweight division that he barely broke a sweat. Following his final lift, which guaranteed Ivanov first place even though it was 26½ pounds less than the weight he had lifted last year to win his third world championship, he said, "I could have lifted more, but my opponents were not so good that I needed to do more."
Ivanov came to Barcelona brimming with confidence. Except for a slip at the '91 European championships, he had finished first in every meet he had entered since 1988.
To celebrate his victory, he lifted glasses with his fellow weightlifters in the Olympic Village. Not champagne. Ivanov's beverage of choice was Johnnie Walker Red.
The Spanish eight-oared shell finished last in a 14-boat field, but its coxswain, 11-year-old Carlos Front, distinguished himself as the youngest competitor in these Games. Young as he is, Carlos is no neophyte in a boat. He began his rowing career at the age of six with the help of his father, Bienvenido.