Craig Masback was another runner who felt that he had turned a corner in his career. Masback, who finished third in Sebastian Coe's record-setting mile in Oslo last summer, is a cum laude political-science graduate of Princeton and has been pursuing a doctorate at Oxford. He spent the last year there but is now taking a sabbatical to pursue athletic laurels. "Every race is an experiment this year," he said after winning the 1,500 in a dawdling 3:45.8 in Long Beach. Attempting what for him was a new strategy, Masback made his move with four laps remaining. "I put the motors on and then waited for everyone to come up, which they did with 1½ laps to go." With 100 meters left, Sydney Maree of South Africa kicked past James Munyala and Wilson Waigwa, but he fell short of overtaking Masback. "Jumping off into the unknown with four laps to go is really something," said Masback. "I haven't won a race in a long time. It feels good."
For the second year in a row the Philadelphia Pioneers' 4 x 400 relay team won in American-record time (3:06.2, the second-best ever), but in neither year has the record counted because of the presence of Trinidad's Mike Solomon on the team. On both occasions the second-place team has also broken the American mark. This year it was USC, in 3:06.3.
From beginning to end, the 3,000 was the property of Steve Scott, the 23-year-old Californian who ran a 3:51.2 mile, finishing second to Coe at Oslo. Scott took the lead at the start and had no challengers past the 1,500-meter mark. His time was 7:45.2, an American record that broke the one set at San Diego in 1974 by the late Steve Prefontaine.
And what of the return to amateur competition of Dwight Stones? Against all odds, the AAU had decided to forgive the high jumper for being ahead of his time when he chose not to turn over his $33,633 in winnings from The Superstars competition. To achieve this absolution after being a pariah for 17 months, Stones was required to return the money, withdraw his lawsuit against the AAU, the IAAF and the AAU's Southern Pacific Association, apologize (in an undisclosed written statement) for his disrespect and promise—on pain of having to pay the AAU's legal fees—never to break the rule again.
So far, like the former ITA athletes, Stones can compete only in domestic meets, i.e., meets in which no foreigners, other than legal residents and students, are supposed to compete. In March, however, when the IAAF council next meets, Stones expects to be reinstated for international competition.
The return of Stones to competition is fascinating not only because of his flamboyance but also because his return marks the rebirth of that mutually stimulating rivalry between the 6'5" Stones and the 5'8" Franklin Jacobs. "There will be more prestige in the high jump this year," said Jacobs. "Last year I was No. 1 but I was winning meets at seven-two and seven-three. I had no incentive. Dwight is a motivator. He motivates the field. He talks a lot and he's arrogant, but in a positive way."
Indeed. Stones' mere presence at Long Beach inspired Jacobs to a winning 7'5½" leap that broke the meet record of 7'4" set by Greg Joy in 1978. Stones cleared 7'4¼" elegantly on his first attempt, but thereafter he failed once at 7'5½" and twice at 7'6¼". "I jumped exactly what I wanted to jump," said Stones. "I just need a few more meets under my belt to get back in the groove. If I'd jumped seven-three I'd really be upset. But this is the best opener indoors I've ever had."
Stones does his training on the track at Long Beach State, not far from his waterfront home, and at Ambassador College, a wealthy church school with a well-equipped health club in Pasadena, 45 miles away. Stones drives all that way two or three times a week because, he claims, Ambassador is the best jumping facility in the country. The fact that triple jumper James Butts, long jumper Henry Hines and pole vaulter Dan Ripley have also trained there gives credence to Stones' claim. But another attraction at Ambassador is Harry Sneider, a weightlifter turned coach who runs the health club and has a special understanding of and appreciation for "complex" personalities. He was, for several testing years, the trainer and confidant of Bobby Fischer, the chess genius and card-carrying eccentric.
Sneider is the central figure in a consortium of advisers to Stones that Sneider refers to as "the mastermind group." It includes a Pasadena chiropractor, an Atlanta exercise physiologist, a Long Beach track coach, a Romanian who specializes in antagonistic muscle groups, a sprint coach from San Jose and Stones' high school coach from Glendale. "There are a lot of people pushing Dwight over the bar," says Sneider.
Sneider and Stones met in the summer of 1975. "He was complaining of a bad back at that time," says Sneider. "I saw this gimpy, skinny body and asked if he'd ever lifted." After the Montreal Olympics in which he won a bronze medal, Dwight started working with Sneider. In three months the 180-pound Stones could do 550-pound quarter squats. Now he is up to 710. He can clean and jerk 230 twice and do 315-pound step-ups. He claims he can swim 100 yards in 56 flat and run 100 yards in 10.3.