For all the drama of Ryun revisited, Mills's victory—by a margin of some 300 yards in 28:43.6—was cheered with more feeling by those few fans who stayed on after seeing Ryun in the mile than any other event of the meet. It proved that the 30-year-old Mills, who won a gold medal in the 1964 Olympic 10,000 meters but dropped out of the AAU championships earlier this year with a bad back, is by no means over the hill. And Young, who is aiming for an Olympic berth in the steeplechase, ran the fastest 5,000 in his life, at 13:38.3, closing in on the pending American record of Gerry Lindgren. He said he was too tired from training hard to run his best race.
It was not a meet, generally speaking, in which people ran their best races. It was a meet in which a few people (including Ryun) met the Olympic qualifying standard for the first time this year.
But by trial and error, a bit at a time, an Olympic track team is taking shape. It is slow business, like a continued-every-week serial. But it is comforting to see it grow.
Even more comforting, if not to his competitors at least to the Americans who will be cheering him on, is the fact that Ryun is back. He may be the world's most closely watched ex-mononucleosis man. Still a little sleepy, definitely a bit weak, possibly a bit run down—but certainly not slow.