Frantically, Valerie Brisco-Hooks scanned the bleachers, looking for her father as she struggled to carry her 3-year-old son off the track at UCLA's Drake Stadium.
"Daddy! Daddy, come get him. He's got to go."
Alvin Hooks Jr. squirmed around to look back at the sprinters participating in an all-comers meet while his mother wrestled him against her thighs.
"He's already gone," Arguster Brisco informed his daughter.
"Well, he's got to go again."
A startled look came across her face.
"Oh no, you didn't!" Brisco-Hooks quickly checked her black tights. "You did! Daddy!" But it was her husband, Alvin Hooks, who scooped up Alvin Jr. and repaired to the family car, an $18,000 black Saab turbo, where he quickly changed his son's clothes.
Brisco-Hooks, the Olympic triple gold medalist, has been practicing this balancing act for the last three years. At the L.A. Games she won both the 200 and 400 meters and ran a leg on the winning 4 X 400 relay.
No one of either sex had ever won gold medals in both the 200 and 400 in one Olympics, and Brisco-Hooks's leg in the 4 X 400-meter relay made her the first American woman to win three track and field gold medals since Wilma Rudolph's unprecedented triple of the 100, 200 and 4 X 100 relay in 1960—the year Brisco-Hooks was born. Brisco-Hooks set indoor marks at 220, 440 and 500 yards last winter, her first season of indoor meets. And she has resumed outdoor competition, most recently winning the 200 at the UCLA/Pepsi Invitational in Los Angeles on May 18 and the 100 at the Bruce Jenner meet in San Jose on May 25.
"The incentive to keep me going until the 1988 Olympics is simple," Brisco-Hooks says. "I want to hold every world record from the 200 to the 400, indoors and outdoors." She pauses for a moment, then adds, "And the 100 isn't impossible."