"My first thought when it came was don't jump," Lewis said. "Keep safe for the 200. But the competitive spirit overruled me."
There was some cunning at work, too. A 3.2 meters-per-second tail wind had blown in with the rain.
He ran with gathering speed, jumped and landed at 28'2�". An inch and a half farther than Myricks. Rising, Lewis faced the crowd and extended his arms, palms up, in a gesture that embraced the stands, the city, the invisible stars. He had snatched back the moment.
"He was saying," said Smith, " 'I know what you tried, Larry, and for all of you up there who think I'm a spoiled brat who has things too easy, this is my answer.' "
Then the officials did call a temporary halt, a pause to marvel again at how Lewis finds, come what may, such chances for theater. You would have sworn he had called down the rain in order to ascend through it.
The storm passed in 15 minutes. Then the jumping resumed and Myricks coolly topped him.
Bulling through the mist, Myricks adjusted his steps slightly two strides out from the board, hit it and cut into the wet sand at 28'8�", his lifetime best and just two inches behind Lewis's best of 28'10�", set here in 1983.
"I felt like a boxer in a slugging match," said Lewis.
"I came in with my mind set for whatever happened," Myricks said. "I'm talking the weather, the runway, the crowd or the man. That gesture was just pure Carl."
Lewis took his mark and put his hands on his knees, letting his body absorb this blow, letting the feeling come.