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"What we have done with McTear is create a phenomenon," said Brooks Johnson, Williams' coach at the Florida Track Club. "And now we are trying to devour it. It's unfair for grown men to gang up on a 19-year-old. The kid has had a lot of pressure on him."
Williams has been going to Johnson for counsel since 1973. Then last December he moved to Gainesville, Fla. from San Diego so they could work together full-time. The first thing Johnson did was to get out some video tapes of Williams' races. Together they analyzed his form frame by hand-turned frame.
"I was shocked," Williams said before the race. "I never realized how bad I was. I had been winning by accident, overcoming bad form purely by strength. I was overstriding, with my feet always ahead of my body. That's what you do when you want to stop, not go. My arm motion was bad; I was running with my shoulders up around my ears. Since then I've totally concentrated on technique, and still won by accident. Tomorrow will be the first time I've stepped out where I will totally rely on killer instinct."
Which he did. While Williams was winning and McTear struggling, Glance and Preston, a 20-year-old sophomore at Arkansas State, were establishing themselves as solid favorites to make the U.S. Olympic team. Glance, overtaken by Williams in the last 10 meters, finished in 10 flat; Preston, running on a track he felt was too soft, in 10.3.
Glance had said he would run as he always has, fully relaxed, waiting for his strength to make him dominant over the last 30 meters. A 145-pounder, he bench-presses 305 pounds. Something is working for him. He was a 9.4 sprinter in high school last year, and has since won the NCAA 60-yard indoor championship, plus recording the two 9.9s.
"But I'm not taking anything for granted," he said. "Before the Trials I'm going to run the junior championships. I want to represent my country somewhere this year."
As a ninth-grader he had watched the 1972 Olympics on TV. Every time they played the national anthem, he sang all of the words. "I saw all those guys wearing USA uniforms and I fantasized myself in one of those outfits."
On Friday the 6'1", 177-pound Preston eased through a light workout. Then he found a spot in the bleachers, shaded from the hot Georgia sun. He has run the fastest automatically timed 100 meters this season, a 10.07 at the Texas Relays. "I guess that makes me the fastest so far," he said. "The rest all have handheld times, which is worth an extra two-tenths of a second. I came here thinking I can win but it won't bother me if I don't. I'd like to run a 9.9."
Nearby, Guy Kochel, Preston's coach at Arkansas State, shook his head.
Preston laughed. "I'm just better than these guys, coach."