"I'd say to those people, Don't get jealous," said Carl Lewis. "This will help track. If a potential sponsor came here today because of this race and saw all the rest of this incredible night, he'd say, "Wow, let's get in this sport.' "
Back at his hotel the new world-record holder took off his shirt and called friends at home. "We've got some good news," he said to one. "I just broke the world record....
"Yes, I did....
"No, it's not quite as painful as having a baby...."
When Frank Zubovich of Ohio State, Reynolds's coach, heard the new-age time, he yelled the perfect Buckeye expletive: "Holy Toledo!"
Still on the phone, Reynolds watched his race for the first time on TV. "Jeez, Innocent made up three Staggers on me.... But I worked the turn well.... I came home real strong, good knee lift, good arms...."
With wide eyes, he finally fully understood what a stretch he had run, and he broke into the same savage grin with which he had run it. When it was over, Reynolds was just as amazed as the rest of us.
"I can't say how fast I can go now," he said, subdued, thinking of all that had gone right. "I know I'm the man for the Olympics now. The guys behind me here [Everett and Steve Lewis] are my teammates, so I've got to...I want to do all I can to keep us close together."
He'll have no trouble. The night before the race he was delighted to take extensive ribbing from the other quarter-milers about his evolving haircut. "They noticed I gave up my curler and went to the soft look, the Ivy League look," he said. "I'm happy I like people, and I like it that you can do that in track. I like it, too, that once the race is over, the stats come into play, and they're fun."