The recipient was Gunnar Engebretsen, a bank executive and secretary of Vidar, Grete Waitz's club. Engebretsen had walked across the infield without looking. The spear lodged in the point of his hipbone, which was a shock, but the best place to be hit because there it missed everything soft and vital. U.S. Olympic head coach Bill Bowerman had a memorable reaction, standing over the pale, prostrate Engebretsen. "You forgot your shield," Bowerman said.
Schmidt was more shaken. He threw terribly for a few weeks but recovered to take the bronze medal in Munich.
The photographs are now all black and white. They reach the top of the stairs, go along a corridor and lead into a sort of storage room piled with chairs. That's where blond Terje Pedersen of Norway launches the first 300-foot javelin throw, on Sept. 2, 1964. And the smile of Josh Culbreath still blazes as captured on Aug. 9, 1957, when he ran 50.5 for the 440-yard hurdles.
And here are two dusty pictures that must be outlined in neon in thousands of Norwegian memories. The first is of Audun Boysen of the home country, setting a 1,000-meter record in September 1953. Boysen is notable for the great engines of his thighs. In the second photo Boysen and Belgium's Roger Moens are locked in battle in the 800 meter on Aug. 3, 1955.
Boysen is leaning back, his legs outrunning the Belgian. Moens's straining gargoyle face is all teeth, as if he were about to bite the tape. Moens won in a world-record 1:45.7. Boysen's 1:45.9 still stands, 31 years later, as the Norwegian record.
Boysen, now 57, keeps near his racing weight. "I run when I find a forest," he says. "I don't consider it civilization, the putting of concrete on all the roads." He is a public relations consultant for the Swedish-Norwegian Industrial Fund and does not mind at all taking a winter visitor for a walk on the ice above the final turn where he made his run at Moens.
"The time at 400 meters was 52 seconds, set by a pacemaker," he says. "Moens dared to follow him. I didn't. He had 10 meters on me in the first lap. Only one was left when we came to the goal. I felt like I had more left, but he said if I went near, he did too."
Boysen was not of a nature to be crestfallen. "I thought a lot about how serious this should be," he says. "Should the whole world fall to ruins if you lose? Or should there be a smile on your face?"
Boysen always smiled, in part because running was a natural joy to him, in part to incur less competitive pressure. "I felt that I was manipulating myself, saying that for Mr. Boysen the working part of his life was real, and the runner was a funny friend brought along for other occasions. If I hadn't been so eager to take this burden from myself, I might have run some tenths faster."
Boysen, who has organized meets at Bislett, makes no claims for its being especially conducive to records, at least physically. The track's surface was changed to Rekortan in 1971.