Woodley decided Robinson had made a mistake and hurried out to tell someone. But then he saw Hart playing miniature golf. Heck, thought Woodley, he'd be resting if his race was at 4:15, and decided it was he who was mistaken.
A few hours later at the Olympic Stadium, Madeline Manning, the 1968 800-meter gold medalist who failed to make the final this time, came in from the warm-up track and sent word to the coaches in the stands that she had not seen the sprinters. She knew the correct schedule—no feat since it was printed in the program. The word came back that Wright knew what he was doing and not to worry. Lee Evans, however, who is supposed to run on the 1,600-meter relay team this week, decided someone had better start worrying. He left the stadium and took off for the warm-up track, where he found Wottle, who was loosening up for an 800 heat.
"Hey, where's the sprinters?" Evans asked.
"I don't know. But they always warm up with me. You don't think they're still in the village?"
Stunned by the possibility, the pair took off at top speed for the village, three-quarters of a mile away. About halfway, Wottle, who has tendinitis of the knees, pulled up in pain. "You go on," he gasped to Evans. Evans did, at about the same time that Wright and his three charges were strolling from the village to a bus stop close to an ABC television center. While waiting they decided they might as well watch TV. "I missed them at the village by two minutes," Evans said later. "Was I tired. I never ran that far that fast in my life."
The rest is unhappy history. Robinson was stunned when he saw his heat rivals getting into the blocks. "Must be a rerun of the morning heats," he said hopefully.
"Rerun nothing," said an ABC man. "That's live."
"Oh, my God," groaned Robinson.
The three sprinters and the coach were rushed into a car and driven to the stadium, but they arrived too late for Robinson's and Hart's heats. They did get there a few minutes before Taylor's, but only because the heats were going off 14 minutes late. Running frantically onto the track, Taylor spotted Hasely Crawford, a Trinidad sprinter, and asked, "Hey, what heat am I in?"
"Mine," said Crawford, "and we go now."