Thomas said only, "You mean I got to do it again?" He resumed his vigil with the wind, staring impassively at the bar, his arms dangling loosely, his long body relaxed. When he jumped this time, he was at least two inches over the bar. "That's enough," he said after that one. He bent to take off his jumping shoes, and as he knelt he laughed suddenly and joyously and shook his head at the wonder of it all.
The oldest qualifier at the AAU meet was a gentleman who was a track athlete before Thomas was born. Fortune Gordien, an Olympic discus thrower in 1948, finished seventh to Al Oerter, the 1956 Olympic champion. Oerter looked better than ever, and Gordien watched him wistfully.
"I'm glad to get to the trials," he said. "At 38, it's hard. I know just what to do, but it takes a long time to get ready to do it. I wish I were Oerter's age again."