By the time Aouita got into second, Cram had a 10-meter lead and was flying. Aouita, an angry runner, took out after him. With 200 to go, he was gaining. It was then that he really believed he could win. Still, the crowd roared more in celebration than in frantic warning. Cram didn't know Aouita was coming.
All the way down the stretch Cram ran hard, but not desperately. And Aouita sprinted to Cram's shoulder almost undetected. With five meters left, Cram sensed him. "I gave it an extra push then," he said.
He needed it. He crossed the line erect. Aouita leaned. Cram had made it there first by a few inches. Their times were 3:29.67 and 3:29.71. Cram had broken Ovett's record by 1.1 seconds, the greatest improvement of the 1,500 record since 1967, when Jim Ryun's 3:33.1 took 2.5 seconds from Herb Elliott's 3:35.6 (run in the Rome Olympics in 1960, two months before Cram was born). Gonzalez was third in 3:30.92, and Scott broke his American record with 3:31.76 in fourth. Cruz was seventh in 3:37.10.
After snapping at Gonzalez, Aouita was graceful toward Cram. "I knew I could give him three or four meters on the last lap, because I can finish faster," he said. "But 10 was too much. Cram deserves it. I like him very much."
Despite their peacemaking, Slaney and Budd aren't that close, of course. On the track or off.