Kochel shrugged. "If you get away early I don't believe they'll run you down."
It went the other way. Preston got off to a slow start. There had been two false starts, both caused by Robert Woods of Grambling. One was blamed on faulty blocks and dismissed. Under the meet rules, the first false start would be charged against the field. The next one would remove the offender from the race. It made for a cautious field.
"There was too much politicking and not enough concentration on the part of the other guys," said Preston. He was sixth after 30 meters, then began to make up a lot of distance on the field.
"There are some guys you just don't make up on," Kochel said. "Guys like Williams and Glance."
With 40 yards to go and Glance in front, Williams decided he had better concentrate on the race rather than on his rivals. He began to lift, and with some 10 meters to go he passed Glance.
"He's a monster," said Glance with admiration. "A real horse. At the 100-yard mark he pulled up and then those long legs just started rolling. And I thought I was strong."
Maybe it's a case of knowing what you want. Williams wants those four gold medals: in the 100, the 200, and two relays—400 and 1,600 meter—something no man has ever done. The only race he'll run between now and the Trials is the 400 in the AAU championships at Los Angeles. Williams hopes that with a good time he will convince the U.S. coaches that he deserves a spot on the 1,600-meter relay team. It would be a tremendous feat.
At dinner Vicki Smith had described two recent automobile accidents she had been in. She said she certainly hoped she didn't have a third. Then she laughed and asked Williams if he'd like to take a ride with her.
"No," he said with unusual seriousness. "God and me are not going to meet until after I've won a gold medal."