"My head's together," he said. "I just hope my body is. Today I want a clear-cut win or loss. I don't want any excuses. Not from me. I don't like guys like Borzov, the Russian, who cop out after they get beat."
The 100 went off at 6:32 on a broiling, muggy evening, three-quarters of an hour before the mile was to be run. Tom Moore, who was both meet director and starter, cast a suspicious eye at Crockett as the runners got into their blocks. Moore, who has the reputation of being the slowest gun in the West, said earlier that he would keep a very close watch on the new world-record holder. Later, he offered an apology of sorts for the remark. "I didn't mean to say he jumps the gun," Moore said. "I just meant he is an excellent anticipator of when it goes off."
When it went off, Crockett burst away in a superb start. Ten yards out he had a two-yard lead on Williams and was still pulling away. But Williams, who never starts well, began to burn, and at the 80-yard mark he had come within a lash of the flying Crockett. And that was the way they hit the tape. Both were timed in 9.2 on the dirt track. On a faster, Tartan surface they might have done 9 flat.
A few yards past the tape Crockett, knowing he had won, leaped into the air, whirled and screamed, "Way to go! Tell that to the writers!" He said later he wished he hadn't done that. Somebody asked him if he thought his victory was an upset. Crockett shook his head and sighed. "What's an upset? Every time Henry Aaron hits a home run, is that an upset?"
Then it was time for the mile. In the stands Dave and Lee Cummings were ready. Their son, Paul Cummings, a 20-year-old junior at Brigham Young, had run his 3:56.4 early in the year but had done nothing that impressive since. "We're hoping to see Paul finish second," said Cummings, a schoolteacher. "That other fellow is going to win, of course."
When the other fellow, Waldrop, began his final warmups he decided he did not like the way his legs felt. Nine straight sub-four-minute miles, including a world-indoor-record 3:55, are impressive, but they can be taxing, too. In his last race before Modesto, Waldrop, fighting a cold, ran a 3:59.8 that kept his string alive but left him exhausted. "I was really glad to see the finish line," he said. "Usually I jog a mile and a half after a race, but I was too tired that day."
The mile began slowly, with Len Hilton taking the lead and Waldrop a few steps back in second place. "There won't be any world record today," Hilton had predicted. "We don't have a rabbit to take us through the first half in 1:57. I don't see Waldrop leading from the front for a record, and I don't see him doing it off a slow pace."
Hilton led the field through a 61.4 first quarter and the public-address announcer urged the runners to step it up. Halfway through the second lap Cummings went to the front, with Ebba second, as Hilton and Waldrop dropped to third and fourth.
Cummings took them through the half in 2:01.9, the three-quarters in 3:01.8. Everyone, including Cummings, was waiting for Waldrop to make his big move. "I made my move on the third lap," Waldrop said later, "but no one saw it. I didn't go anywhere. When I reached down for my kick, there wasn't any. My legs were sluggish. I run for fun but sometimes I say to myself, 'What are you doing out here?' This was one of those times."
The last lap was a duel between Cummings, who never gave up his lead and who was still wondering when Waldrop would come roaring past, and Ebba. Cummings finished strongly to win in 3:57.7, with Ebba seven yards back in 3:58.6. Well behind them was Hilton, who passed Waldrop in the last 10 yards to finish third in 4:04.6. Waldrop was fourth in 4:05. "I just didn't have it," Waldrop said. "I felt flat. I've felt like that before, so it doesn't bother me. Maybe it will tomorrow when I wake up and realize what happened. Maybe I'll finally begin to feel pressure, because I know I'll have to come back next time."