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GIVE THE GIRL A GREAT BIG HAND
Kenny Moore
September 03, 1979
Evelyn Ashford rocketed to world acclaim by twice beating East German world-record holders in World Cup II
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September 03, 1979

Give The Girl A Great Big Hand

Evelyn Ashford rocketed to world acclaim by twice beating East German world-record holders in World Cup II

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Simeoni also cleared 6'4¼", seeming edgy, pacing. The bar went to 6'5¼", one inch higher than Brill had ever cleared. Brill missed once. Simeoni missed. Brill stared at the bar. "There was no specific thought," she said afterwards. "It was just a welling up of confidence. Brill ran at the bar smoothly, getting the most out of her long thighs. She sailed over, just missing the bar with her heels. Simeoni failed twice more and the victory was Brill's.

Later, after she had been hugged by half of Canada, Brill sat barefoot with a beer and Coach Lionel Pugh. With a gentle grin she said, "I have never felt so devastated as I do now. I didn't expect to win this. Losing can sometimes bolster you. It gives you energy. You say I can do better. You go to work. But winning...? In a sense I feel a huge letdown." She looked at Pugh. "At the moment I feel there is nowhere to go."

Ashford, however, seemed to have her sights clearly set after the win in the 100 over Gohr, the defending World Cup champion as well as world-record holder. They drew adjacent lanes, seven and eight, and Göhr started well, intent on escaping Ashford's finish. Göhr still led at 60 meters but Ashford drew even, and the East German, unpracticed at being passed, struggled frantically and lost her form. Ashford won by a meter in 11.06.

She is an arresting beauty, in repose as well as flight, her eyes liquid and large, with something of an Egyptian cast. She seemed a cornered doe as the press moved in. "The 200 surprised me," she said. "Then I won the 100, and I guess I'm still in shock. Nothing could surprise me anymore. All my dreams have come true."

As does Jacobs, she prefers the underdog role, saying, "I like it when nobody knows who I am," but she possesses the wisdom to know she can never go back to those easy days. Earlier, she had said, "Wilma Rudolph was my idol and I always said that I wanted to be like her. I wanted to be a household word like O.J. Simpson or Muhammad Ali...."

And now, clearly seeing the possibility of such a thing coming to pass; the world rushing at her, in a moment of openness as eloquent as her sprinting, she whispered, "I know what I want. Just to run faster. Just to run faster."

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