Or all the consequences of his new powers. Within a day of his 44.10, he was awash in offers from European meet promoters. "It made for a cram course in saying no," he says. "About four different people wanted to take me overseas, take care of expenses, one thing and another. I learned so much so fast it was pathetic."
A valuable teacher was another gentleman from Ohio, one Edwin Moses. "He told me you can't trust everybody, and mentioned a few you can," says Reynolds. "But at this point I haven't retained anybody to represent me. I've just used the advice and counsel of friends." Reynolds says he's almost certain that he'll forgo his last year of NCAA eligibility to train for the Seoul Olympics, but adds, "I know one thing: I'm staying in school and getting the degree."
Reynolds's races and manner convey a maturity beyond his experience, but occasionally he makes a remark that causes those around him to sag with age. For example, he cannot remember the last World Championships, that magnificent meet in 1983 in Helsinki when Mary Decker Slaney twice beat the Russians, and Carl Lewis served notice that the Olympics would be his. "I was just out of high school then," Reynolds says gleefully. "I did go to the L.A. Olympics. My track memories begin with that."
And he runs preliminaries as if they were finals. "I like to coast in, sure, so long as I'm winning" he says. "But it's hard to come in behind guys. If they want to go, we're going to go. I don't care if it's Round 1." That's a vow that will have U.S. coaches wincing. There are four rounds in the World Championships. If Reynolds runs them all in 45's and 44's, he will be a stiff-legged finalist.
That's not his only problem. While he has been racing hard since May, his prime competition in Rome, Gabriel Tiacoh of the Ivory Coast and Innocent Egbunike of Nigeria, have planned their peaks for Sept. 3, at 5:20 p.m., when the gun will sound for the 400 final. Reynolds's only loss this year was to Egbunike, in Paris on July 16, where he ran 44.77 to the Nigerian's 44.64.
After winning a 300 in Belfast on July 20, a tired and homesick Reynolds returned to Columbus, to the neat, gray apartment he shares with Lillian Lumb, his girlfriend since their Kansas days. "He is a different man since I met him," she says dryly. "He's worse."
At home he could sleep until 10, visit the Ohio State Fair, listen to a little jazz. "The apartment is good to get back to," he said. "But my motto is Improvement Everywhere. My next goal is to buy a house. It's a good investment. I'll not leave Ohio without owning property here." Is that the lure of Ohio, or are all 23-year-olds like that now?
He went to work out at Ohio Stadium and found the season had changed. "Football bleachers across my track," he said in mock dismay. "And the assistant track coach tells me that no, the football program doesn't feel it owes us a courtesy call to tell us what it's done."
But he found a quiet high school field and got in his last licks. "I'm not a practice pup," he said. "I'm an excitement runner. Carrying the U.S.A. on my chest for the first time in Rome will keep me excited. But I wonder whether I can go out there and run a 43 if I have to. Am I that strong, mentally and physically? I'm curious to find out, but I'm also excited to see what another good winter of strength training will bring."
Ambition, obviously, has set in. We have another Buckeye bound for glory.