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Just for the hell of it, he wore sunglasses one night last spring at an outdoor meet. Darold grinned and did it too. The shades kept Jeremy from looking around just before a race, and everyone else from looking in. No longer did he notice if anyone was staring at the one white boy in a field of eight sprinters. The sunglasses made everything blend, smudged all the lines.
But was that such a big deal? A 20-year-old doing what 20-year-olds do, experimenting with superficialities and ending up dressing and talking and looking pretty much like most of the guys he hung out with? Maybe you once did that. Maybe you still do.
Anonymous> J. WARINER LOOKS LIKE A REJECT EMINEM BACK-UP SINGER. GREAT TO SEE A WHITE SPRINTER STALKIN THE BROTHERS--BUT HE AINT NO BROTHER, DUDES--LET'S LOSE THE GHETTO CHAIN AND THE PIMPIN SHADES. I NOTICED A LOT OF BROTHERS SEEM EMBARRASSED AND SURPRISED AT THE SAME TIME--WHASSUP WITH JOHN BOY WALTON SMOKIN MY ASS ON THE BACKSTRETCH? AND WHYS HE WEARING PAWN SHOP ITEMS?
bigred> ... I'm sure he'll give a damn about your fashion advice when he's takin his victory lap in Athens.
Two years earlier, he was running in front of 300 people at the Hoot Smith Relays at Central Junior High in Hurst, Texas. Now Jeremy, the 150-pound waif competing on foreign soil for only the third time in his life, was running against the world's seven other fastest 400-meter sprinters in front of 87,000 people in Athens and hundreds of millions of television viewers worldwide.
Coach Hart churned inside and paced. Jeremy looked as if he were still at the Hoot Smith, and why not, after the way he'd dusted the competition in the quarter- and semifinal heats the previous two days?
"Let's hit the 200 split at 21.3 to 21.5," Hart instructed him. Jeremy, with his uncanny internal clock, nailed it in 21.3 and still found himself trailing U.S. teammate Otis Harris ... and still remained astonishingly fluid, his relaxed limbs flowing down the stretch as thicker rivals strained and tied up. Finishing in 44 seconds flat, he led a U.S.A. medal sweep, became the first white American to win an Olympic sprint since Mike Larrabee in the 400 in 1964, the first white American to win gold in any track event since Dave Wottle in the 800 in 1972 ... and the first man ever to pull off an NCAA indoors/ NCAA outdoors/Olympic trials/Olympics sweep in a single year.
First thing out of his mouth, when he saw Coach Hart on the edge of the track, was, "Coach, I got the school record!"
"Yeah," said Hart, the ever-demanding father, "but you didn't go 43."