Göhr got a great start, Koch a poor one, and Ashford was in between. With 50 meters to go she appeared to be gaining on Göhr, but it was going to be close. "Then I did something I haven't done since 1976," Ashford said. "I lost my form. I started overstriding. It was a rookie mistake. It felt like I almost fell over."
Göhr won by a meter and a half, and Ashford almost lost second to Koch. The times, because of a headwind, were only 11.39, 11.53 and 11.54. "I had an optimal start," Göhr said, bluntly. "Ashford didn't have a chance. It's obvious I gained a psychological advantage today."
Ashford said, "This race means nothing psychologically—I've beaten her more times than she's beaten me," and ran out of the stadium.
Meanwhile, the men's 400-meter hurdles matched the 1980 and 1976 Olympic champions, Volker Beck and Edwin Moses, respectively. Moses won his 76th straight race in a workmanlike 48.46, with Beck second in 49.23. Then Moses analyzed the track. "It's slow now," he said. "My spikes penetrated completely. You don't want that. You want the track to compress under them, to give some spring back. But maybe after a year of curing it will firm up. Remember, the main thing today was to keep the guys in blue to the rear."
The U.S. team was together on that. "We had a meeting on Thursday," said Coach Harry Groves of Penn State. "We knew the East German women were a juggernaut. We've never come close to them. So the thing became to think about the combined score. Men and women, we are one team. A point is a point, no matter who gets it."
Webb thought that the size of the crowd more than the quality of the athletes embodied the difference between track in the U.S. and in Europe. "There are 15,000 people here in this stadium that can seat six times as many," he noted. "In Europe, it would be full."
There was plenty for the few to watch. To give the world a chance to get the feel of the Olympic venue, TAC had invited athletes of all nations to a three-day meet that was called the International Summer Games and ran concurrently with the U.S./G.D.R. dual. Cuba's Alberto Juantorena, the 400 and 800 Olympic gold medalist in 1976, showed up, barely won the 800 with a muscular rush past William Wuyke of Venezuela in 1:45.82 and spoke of moving up to 1,500 next year.
"But how did you like the track?" asked a reporter.
Juantorena seized the startled man's notebook and wrote in a sweeping hand, "La pista es muy buena y maravillosa."
"That's because a soft track is good for these 32-year-old legs," he added.