"Today," he concluded with a smile, "we found that it was."
In the next day's 200 final, Lewis led out of the turn but was caught by DeLoach with 30 meters to go. Running with an arm action that made him look as if he were swatting at mosquitoes, DeLoach zipped away to win by a stride. "Well done," said Lewis. "It's been a long year."
DeLoach later said he was sorry to have come between Lewis and his dream, "but that's competition."
"What dream?" Lewis would say. "I'm content with my race."
At last Lewis spoke of Johnson. "I feel very sad for Ben and for the Canadian public," he said. "Ben is a great athlete, and my hope is that in the next two years he can get himself together and return to our sport. You can talk track up to a certain point. After that you talk people. Imagine the burden on Ben. Imagine what his family will go through."
Asked if he felt angry or betrayed by what Johnson had done, Lewis said, "There's no anger. There's a problem with drugs that needs a solution." If numbers of other athletes were beating the tests, Lewis seemed sensitive to the unfairness of singling out Johnson.
Lewis also had been embroiled for weeks in an argument over the composition of the U.S. 4 X 100-meter team. He pushed for his friend, DeLoach, to be placed on the team. American sprints and hurdles coach Russ Rogers favored Albert Robinson and Lee McNeill. Arguing much of the time through quotes in newspapers, Rogers said Lewis was out of line, and Lewis said he just wanted what was best for the country—all of which qualified as what a South Korean factory tour guide called "high-level crapmanship." A compromise was struck. Dennis Mitchell, Robinson, Smith and McNeill would run the preliminaries. For the final, DeLoach would replace Robinson, and Lewis would go in for McNeill.
American relay teams are rarely polished. They usually win on an anchor and a prayer. In the prelims, the U.S. team had neither. Before the first round, Lewis said, "I hope I get to run |in the final] tomorrow. I'm worried about this."
The first two passes were successful. All Smith, who was running the last turn, had to do was get the stick to McNeill. All McNeill had to do was give Smith a stable target. "He [McNeill] is young," said Smith later. "He got a little nervous. He moved his hand around."
Smith, who's 27, took three stabs at the pass. "My hand was shaking," said McNeill, 23. When McNeill finally got the baton, he was out of the 20-meter passing zone, and out of the race.