SI Vault
Edited by Jerry Kirshenbaum
February 11, 1985
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February 11, 1985


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"I was there when you discussed it with Gitter."

"Oh, I remember now. Just an SAS plane."

Lyberg had every reason to be embarrassed. To avoid the appearance of impropriety—and to help make certain that the worthiest cities get chosen as hosts—isn't it time that the IOC adopt rules prohibiting its members from being on the take? The IOC could start by insisting on paying its members' way on inspection trips instead of letting would-be host cities pick up the tabs.


Sometime this month, most likely on the 17th, at an outdoor meet in his native Auckland, New Zealand, 33-year-old John Walker, a former world-record holder in the mile and the 1976 Olympic 1,500-meter champion, will run the 100th sub-four-minute mile of his career. "It's like Beamon jumping 29 feet or Hillary climbing Everest. No one has ever done it," says a slightly overexcited Walker, anticipating the milestone.

No one thought to add up the number of sub-fours until two years ago, when it dawned on track people that both Walker and U.S. mile record-holder Steve Scott were closing in on 100. "After all these years, I thought I'd had several hundred of them," says Walker, who first broke 4:00 in 1973 and in '75 became the first runner to crack the 3:50 barrier. By the end of last summer, Scott had 89 sub-fours and Walker 88, but Walker forged ahead this winter by running five specially arranged outdoor miles in New Zealand before joining Scott on the North American indoor circuit. "I think John is a little more interested in this than I am," says Scott, 28, who ran his first sub-four mile in 1977. "It's a big deal in New Zealand."

Indeed, Walker's quest has been front-page news in New Zealand for weeks. But don't let Scott fool you: He has been asking Walker to let him catch up so that the two can reach 99 together and then race head-to-head; assuming both men broke 4:00, the winner would be the first, by seconds or less, to have 100 such clockings. Of Scott's suggestion, Walker says, simply, "He's dreaming."

As of Sunday, the totals were 97 for Walker and 95 for Scott. Walker will now run three more staged races in New Zealand and, barring mishap, beat Scott to 100 by at least five days. "I'd like to think this shows that John and I are the Lou Gehrigs of track and field, at least in the mile," says Scott. Recalling Roger Bannister's breaking of the four-minute barrier in 1954, Walker adds, "If someone had told Bannister about this as he staggered across the line—that someone would break four minutes 100 times—I think he would have been very dismayed." For the record, Bannister ran a grand total of two sub-4:00 races.

CBS has agreed to pay the Pac-10 and Big Ten $8.5 million to telecast football games involving the two conferences' 16 members in 1985. Wait, did we say 16 members? Afraid so. Arizona, Southern Cal and Illinois are on NCAA probation and barred from appearing on the tube next season, and Wisconsin, although it has recently gone off probation, is still barred from TV under a deferred-penalty arrangement. All of which probably helps explain why CBS is paying less than the $9 million it did to cover all 20 Pac-10 and Big Ten teams in '84.

As a lad in the West Indies island of St. Kitts, Livingstone Bramble (SI, Feb. 4) liked to pit iguanas against centipedes in battles to the death. The centipedes always won, mostly because of their poisonous pincers. Bramble, now the WBA lightweight champ, is preparing for his Feb. 16 title defense in Reno against Ray (Boom Boom) Mancini, and his trainer, Ruppert Nel Brown, has concocted a poultice made of coconut oil, Ben-Gay, leaves from a "cough bush" and whole centipedes. At some point before he enters the ring against Mancini, Bramble will get a rubdown with this elixir. "The centipedes make your joints loose," Brown explains.

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