The man's brow
knitted. "Well, let me ask you about some of the big names. Randy Matson.
Al Oerter. Hayes Jones. How is Hayes Jones doing?"
" Hayes Jones
is no longer with us."
"You mean he
( Jones competed
last in the 1964 Games, Oerter retired in 1970 and Matson had not qualified for
Pole vaulter Jan
Johnson and runner Steve Prefontaine, inseparable companions, softened the
tedium with nips from a flask wrapped in a brown paper bag. Later Johnson
reflected on the journey.
have always been a shining dream for me, unreal and mystical, where everything
takes on deep meaning. So at JFK, when we got on that funny container bus that
took us out to the aircraft, Steve and I were giddy, saying, 'This is the
slowest plane I've ever been on,' but I was thinking, 'Here's where the fantasy
begins.' Then I looked around and it was nothing special, just a bunch of guys
I knew. Coming in to Oslo, I got ready for the magic to hit me. But it was only
his own magic, as at breakfast, mixing the contents of two bowls. "Ah,
oatmeal and applesauce. Gives you the strength of a thousand
Before we emerged
from Nymphenburg, Clayton and the iridescent Hill, who had pushed the early
pace, dropped behind. Usami and Foster took the lead. Once out on pavement
again, Frank cruised through the front group, now down to eight, observing
runners closely. With 17 miles to go, as we ran beneath maples lining a murky
canal, he surged ahead.
Nobody went with
him. It was hot, and it seemed he had spurted too sharply. He would pay for his
extravagance later. So as he moved away we each sought our most economic
rhythm, and the pack split up. I ran for a mile with Gaston Roelants of
Belgium, whose shoes were bound to his feet with yards of tape to prevent
friction and blisters. He slowed with a side ache.
I caught Jack
Foster and tried to cajole him into running the slightest increment faster. He
looked at me stonily. Then a rejuvenated Clayton pounded by and I took up with
him. Along a smooth stretch of road our shadows preceded us. Clayton's was full
of movement, his arms clawing high across his chest, his head bobbing. I looked
over. His tongue rolled in and out of his mouth.