Thompson escaped London's tough Notting Hill Gate area—where he ate very few Wheaties—into a private boarding school, Farney Close, and now lives in Sussex, south of London. His cheeky guarantees of greatness are delivered with statistics. He has broken the world junior record each year for the last two and is by far the youngest decathlete ever to attain 8,400 points.
"It's been great," Thompson said of Edmonton's reaction to his performance. "Free lunches, free cab rides. I don't bother to carry any money anymore. I hope no one breaks the world record in the 5,000."
"Well, he'd be the star of the Games, wouldn't he?"
Thompson had to do as the star, though, because there was only one world record set during the 10-day competition—Australian swimmer Tracey Wickham's 8:24.62 in the women's 800-meter freestyle. Edmonton did have a pair of local stars to cherish, however. Breaststroker Graham Smith, a 20-year-old business major at the University of California, won a record six gold medals (the 100 and 200 breaststroke, 200 and 400 individual medleys and legs on the 400 freestyle and 400 medley relays) while swimming in a pool named for his late father, Dr. Don Smith. And Diane Jones Konihowski won four of the pentathlon's five events and achieved the best score in the world this year, 4,768 points.
Like Thompson, Konihowski appears capable of a world record. She was sixth in the Montreal Olympics, but since the 200-meter dash has been replaced by the 800 in pentathlons, she has no weak event. Konihowski bathed in glory all week, as she was the runner who carried the ceremonial silver-and-gold baton into the stadium during the opening ceremonies—delivering it to the Queen—and then danced to all hours with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. She spoke with the Queen again upon receiving her medal.
"What did she say to you?" she was asked.
"She really just smiles a lot," said Konihowski.
The best that Donald Quarrie, the Olympic 200-meter champion from Jamaica, could manage was a half-smile. Trying for his third 100/200 double win in three Commonwealth Games, he found the 100 a rematch against Olympic champion Hasely Crawford of Trinidad and Tobago. They drew the same semifinal. Crawford got out fastest.
"I'm goin' get you," said Crawford at 70 meters.