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By midafternoon last Saturday in Philadelphia, with the temperature in the mid-70s and the sun burning down full bore, Dwight Stones knew he was about to break his world record in the high jump. At the moment he and Mike Winsor, a 19-year-old freshman from Central Michigan, were dueling at 7'4�".
"All I have to do is wait for them to move that thing up another three inches and then go," Stones told a photographer. "It will be like stepping out of a shower."
Three weeks earlier Stones had predicted to Ed Fabricius, the sports information director at the University of Pennsylvania, which was hosting this year's NCAA track championships, that he would break the record. In this Olympic year, the NCAA was offering such superb athletes as Earl Bell, who had set a world record of 18'7�" in the pole vault the week before, and Auburn sprinter Harvey Glance, plus three 400-meter men—Herman Frazier, Evis Jennings and Ken Randle—who are strong favorites to form the U.S. entry at Montreal. Still, Fabricius felt he needed more gate appeal.
The next day he did. "Stones said he will set a world record," Allice told Fabricius.
"Can I quote him?"
"Stones said you can put it on a billboard if you want."
For nearly three years Stones had been trying to break the record of 7'6�" he had set in 1973. He had taken 63 cracks at 7'7", and each time he had failed. The height, he was afraid, had him psyched.
"Then everything changed for me," Stones said last weekend. "Three weeks ago everything came together. I felt stronger than ever before. I was faster than at anytime in my life. My chiropractor said go. My physiologist said go. They both predicted a world record. Suddenly I could look at 7'7" and laugh."
The chiropractor is Dr. Leroy Perry Jr., who has been working medical miracles for the track and field athletes at USC. Stones says he had been handicapped by a congenitally weak back that caused an imbalance in his hips. A little manipulation and Dr. Perry had the hips back into alignment.