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Frederick stayed on at Santa Barbara the following year to train for Montreal. She had high hopes, but she did poorly. She was sixth at the end of the first day and finished seventh. "I had expected a medal," she says. "In the long jump [the first event of the second day] I fouled on my first and third attempt and had to settle for my second, which was just a safe jump. Then, in the 200-meter run, I was overanxious. I didn't sprint. I strided. I let myself down in those final two events, the most critical, but the whole thing was mediocre. I ran the hurdles with no pizzazz, I shotput with no oomph and I high-jumped flat as a pancake."
She dismisses her performance as the result of last-minute anxiety and over-training. Friends suggest the anxiety started long before Montreal. Monteforte says Jane was hard to live with for months before the Olympics, and as a testament to that recalls a black eye she received from Jane during an argument.
"I have an ego that's out to here," admits Frederick, stretching her left arm to its limit and smiling. "Particularly before a big competition, I'm intolerable to most of my friends. To compete in the pentathlon, to achieve personal records, you have to draw from yourself something you've never done before. I never let my mind think that I won't do it. I keep my mind always on track. I turn off that part of myself that can compromise with people. Things get on my nerves much more easily because they interrupt what I'm trying to maintain. Usually it's the people really close to me who suffer."
This past September Frederick moved to L.A., where Chuck Debus, the coach of the Los Angeles Naturite Track Club, is putting the finishing touches on her pentathlon, concentrating on the 800 and refining her long-jump technique. She also expects her studies at UCLA to make her fluent in Russian by the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
"I turned 25 recently," Frederick says. "I feel adult. I'm ready to go all out. Before, I was afraid to really try for that one great performance. Now I want to do it and get it done and do more and more. I'm on fire. And I have so many years of competition still ahead of me. Even 1984 isn't out of the question. I'll be 32 then."
For the present, Frederick's goal is becoming the first woman to break the 5,000-point barrier, and her chances of doing so have been enhanced by the recent restructuring of the event to include the 800. Under the old format the pentathlon could justifiably be criticized as a sprinter/jumper event. A speedster with leg spring could almost bypass the shotput and still win. Replacing the 200 with the 800 puts a greater demand on endurance and strength, and those are Frederick's principal attributes as a pentathlete. At present her best time over the new distance is 2:16.5, worth only 835 points, but as she puts it, "I am just making my acquaintanceship with the 800." Of the top pentathletes, Tkachenko has the best 800 time in a pentathlon—2:10.6—worth 917 points.
Frederick has formulated a strategy to score 5,000 points. To get 1,000 points in each event the pentathlete would have to high-jump 5'9�", long-jump 21'�", put the shot 55'7�", run the 100 hurdles in 13.01 and the 800 in 2:05.1. Frederick has already bettered the first of these marks with a high jump of 5'11", worth 1,031 points, and is on the verge of getting 1,000 points in two other events. Her hurdles best of 13.24 puts her 33 points short of 1,000 in that event, and her long jump of 20'11" is just 12 points shy.
To reach 5,000 she hopes to lower her 800 time to 2:10, worth 926 points and improve her shotput from 51'�" to 53'10�" for 972 points, then pick up the deficit in the other three events. If she high-jumps 6'�" for 1,077 points, long-jumps 21'3�" for 1,009 and does the hurdles in 12.9 for 1,016 she will score exactly 5,000. "Those marks are all very, very possible for me," she says. "Every damn one."
On a recent evening Frederick returned home from a workout at Drake Stadium to find her kitchen sink full of a thick, pea-green liquid. Clearly, there was a problem with the garbage disposal. Grabbing a wrench, she crawled in among the pipes so that her upper body disappeared, only her legs protruding from the sink cabinet. From beneath the plumbing her voice was deeper than usual. "I love doing things with my hands," she said, wrenching at the bolts holding the disposal in place. "I started out as an art major because I wanted to be a craftsman, a jeweler, a potter, a sculptor—anything I could do with my hands. Maybe that's why I was so taken with sports. I could best express myself physically. If one views one's career as an expression of the self, as where you fit into the world, then sports is a natural for me." With a powerful simultaneous twist and pull Frederick freed the disposal from the surrounding plumbing and emerged with it in her hands like a trophy.
She and Monteforte share a modest two-bedroom apartment near Westwood, furnished in early-college catchall. The women have three cats, a stray named Mousey, a small gray animal named P.R. (which is track and field shorthand for personal record), purchased by Monteforte the day Frederick improved her indoor 50-meter hurdles mark last season, and a new kitten, Tusha.