isn't as automatic as the 800," he adds. "There is a little anxiety, a
little self-doubt, but it's there for everybody. The best man doesn't always
win. Knowing that, it gives you hope."
Hope is a prime
requirement for any opponent of John Walker. Witness Walker's new world record
at 2,000 meters: 4:51.4. That time is perhaps best grasped as running a 3:54.5
mile (once Herb Elliott's world record) and then continuing on for another lap
at the same pace.
because of the postponement for the murdered Israelis' memorial services, Frank
Shorter had an extra 24 hours' rest between the 10,000, in which he was fifth,
and the marathon, which he won. He does not expect such a terrible day of grace
in Montreal, so has withdrawn from the 10,000.
thinking about it for a year," he says. "I decided that as hard and hot
as it could be, the chance of medaling in the 10 isn't worth jeopardizing the
marathon. Thirty-eight miles of racing [counting the heats in the 10,000] in
eight days...I'd have to have equal chances in both to do that, and looking at
those big kickers, I don't."
now, has played the two races against each other, saying in marathons that he
was a six-miler, maintaining in 10,000s that he was a marathoner, thus
minimizing the pressure in both. Now, however, the Olympics have forced him to
choose, and for the first time he speaks of the marathon almost with relish.
"I think I'm going to run a lot harder this time than last. I really want
to burn one." The world's fastest marathon, 2:08:33.6, was run by
Australia's Derek Clayton in 1969. The late Abebe Bikila's Olympic record is
2:12:11.2. When it is mentioned to Shorter that a pace of 4:48 per mile will
result in a 2:05:50, he nods in unsurprised agreement. One fears for his
Shorter has abandoned contains all the principals of the 1972 race, won by
Finland's Lasse Viren in a then-world record, which he accomplished dispite a
hard fall midway. Mohamed Gamoudi of Tunisia, who was knocked unconscious in
that collision but came back to take the silver medal in the 5,000, enters his
fourth Olympics. Emiel Puttemans of Belgium and Miruts Yifter of Ethiopia, the
second and third placers four years ago, are back, and worried about two
ex-milers, Dick Quax of New Zealand and Brendan Foster of Great Britain—men who
guarantee with the threat of their finishing speed that the pace will be fast.
Setting much of it will be Holland's Jos Hermens, the world record holder at
20,000 meters. After the terror in Munich, Hermens walked out of the Olympic
Village without competing. He has mellowed little. U.S. entrants Craig Virgin
and Garry Bjorklund can make the final.
The 5,000 field
will be headed by whoever wins the 10,000—plus the engaging Rod Dixon, third in
the 1972 1,500, who has rashly promised to win this event as part of a gold
medal sweep of the 1,500-5,000-10,000 by New Zealanders: Walker, himself and
Quax. Dick Buerkle will probably have to break Steve Prefontaine's American
record to stay close. The surprise of the U.S. distance team is Duncan
Macdonald, a sub-four miler when an undergraduate at Stanford, more recently a
marathoner. Unaccountably, he had never tried the distances in between until
this year, when he sneaked into a 5,000 two weeks before the Trials and ran a
qualifying time, then beat everyone but Buerkle to make the team. A third-year
medical student at the University of Hawaii, Macdonald was accosted by a friend
in Honolulu. "I saw your race on TV and read about it in the papers,"
he said. "How on earth do you find time to train?"
watch TV and I don't read the paper," said Macdonald.
One favorite in
the 400-meter dash is Fred Newhouse, 27, an electrical engineer at an Exxon
refinery in Baton Rouge. Newhouse's Olympic adventure was delayed for four
years when he ran the first 200 of the 1972 Olympic Trials 400 as a man
possessed. "I choose not to believe it was the 20.3 a lot of people
said," he says now. "Maybe 20.8. But it was a painful error. I had too
much adrenaline. I lost control." In the homestretch, adrenaline gave way
to lactic acid, Newhouse faded from first to seventh, and thence to his long
wait. "And I learned a lot about the quarter," he says, "about the
quarter under pressure. People talk about the bear, the way it climbs your back
off the last turn. I believe some of that is mental. If you're expecting to get
tired off that turn, you get tired there. The thing is to run relaxed and
strong through the third 100, establish a position on the turn, then down that
stretch you maintain. Nobody is going to speed up. The winner is the guy who
slows down the least."
of this necessity for inner calm, 400-meter runners pay less attention to
opponents than do, say, 100-meter dashmen. "The 100 is a tedious race,"
says Newhouse with some force. "There is no room for error, so guys work on
each other; you get all the preening and psyching. In the 400 you have to
concentrate on your own race. Oh, Dave Jenkins of Britain [the 1975 AAU winner
in 44.93] and Alberto Juantorena of Cuba will be good, and Maxie Parks is as
steady as anyone, but worrying what some other guy is going to do is a waste of
energy in the quarter. Really, if it weren't for the last 110 when we're all
together, you could run it like a ski race—let each guy run alone and then