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Without peer with a spear
Kenny Moore
May 23, 1983
Unheralded Tom Petranoff shattered the world javelin record by 9'10"
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May 23, 1983

Without Peer With A Spear

Unheralded Tom Petranoff shattered the world javelin record by 9'10"

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"It just happened," said Petranoff, munching on his orange. "Yeah, 10 feet is a lot, but when Roggy threw 314 in Stuttgart last year there was a tail wind, and the thing went so low you didn't think it could make 275. That one could have been 330 if conditions had been perfect. Bob could well throw 100 meters [328'1"] tomorrow. I was in the right place at the right time and hit the point. From now on a lot of people are going to be saying, hey, if old Tom can do it, I can do it, too."

Petranoff's record capped a spectacular two days of California track. In Modesto the previous evening, Carl Lewis made another try at Jim Hines's 14�-year-old 100-meter record of 9.95, set in 7,349-foot altitude at the Mexico City Olympics. Lewis took charge at 50 meters and won by three yards from Arizona State's Ron Brown. There was a wait for the official time. The photo had to be studied. The wind was a legal 1.48 meters per second (more than 2.0 nullifies a record). In the anticipatory hubbub, rumors danced. Hines was at the meet. Someone told him the time was 9.95.

"He tied it?" yelled Hines, grabbing his hat with both hands and seeming to try to pull it down over his head.

But he hadn't. "Wasn't a half inch from being 9.95," said Official Ed Hicks, "but it was 9.96."

It was Lewis' turn to yelp. "Look again!" he cried, perhaps belying his assertion of a moment before that he'd be happy with any time better than his previous best of 10.00, which he equaled in Modesto last year, the fastest ever at sea level.

The next day in Los Angeles, he did his first outdoor long jumping of the year, reaching 28'1" on his fourth try. Such are Lewis' standards that he looked back irritated at the hole he made in the sand.

Evelyn Ashford had good reason to wail in Modesto. She ran 10.85 in the 100, .03 better than East Germany's Marlies Gohr's world record, but the wind was 2.34 meters per second. "I'm going to cry!" she said. "So now it's like it never happened."

A TV announcer then told her that the wind reading on the false start before the race was only 1.8.

"Oh!" she shouted, spinning away. If she'd had a hat, she might have pulled it down over his head.

The wind that had nudged her that touch too hard supported 1976 Olympic champion Mac Wilkins' discus on his longest throw since 1980, 230'10", only 2'7" shy of East Germany's Wolfgang Schmidt's world record. "I'm finally learning how to sail them," Wilkins said, "to spin them so they stay flat longer."

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