"Then run it
like you do 330s, with gradual acceleration," said Connolly. "You don't
have to win it. Just get in there."
Alice Brown and
Jeanette Bolden, both rocket starters, were off perfectly. Ashford came out
gently. At 40 meters, when she had to turn it on, it was there, and she felt no
pain. She sprinted into the lead just at the line, winning in 11.18. Brown did
11.20 and Bolden 11.24.
ultrasound machine showed a dark spot at the point of injury, indicating
hemorrhaging. Dr. Anthony Daly, vice president of health services for the
LAOOC, told her, "It's up to you whether you want to run with
"I want three
gold medals," she said, meaning the two sprints and the 4 x 100-meter
relay. "They may have to put me in a sling, but I'll be there."
A day later
Ashford started the first-round 200 heat, felt the injury tighten and walked
in. Her future is in the Olympic 100.
In her absence,
Valerie Brisco-Hooks won the 200 in 22.16, with Florence Griffith coming in
second at 22.40. The finish became a blur of pink ( Brisco-Hooks) and apple
green (Griffith), punctuated by the crimson of Griffith's 3�-inch curved
become the first U.S. woman to break 50 seconds in the 400 with her 49.83
earlier this month at the TAC meet. But in the trials she had to reckon with
Chandra Cheeseborough, who was the Pan Am 200 champion way back when she was
16, in 1975, but who had just recently forced herself to run the 400.
Cheeseborough is an impressive figure, with hair in elaborate corn rows that
take two hours to do, and her voice is steady, slow and sultry, with something
of the tone of Billie Holiday. Startling, then, to hear it expressing such
delicacies as "I don't like the 400 because I can't stand the cramping
part, when afterwards your butt muscles lock."
She ran a modest
first 200 in the final, while Brisco-Hooks was blazing to a seven-yard lead.
Cheeseborough made a clear move then, as if she had been waiting until she got
to the start of her old distance, and made up all but a yard by the stretch.
Her torso perfectly erect, her arms driving high, she powered away to win by
four yards in an American-record 49.28. Brisco-Hooks cut her best to 49.79.
American female quarter-miling, so feeble for so long, is suddenly rich.
400-meter hurdlers, too, could point to remarkable improvement. They produced a
surging, shifting race that saw high schooler Leslie Maxie, who'd been second
in a world junior-record 55.20 at the TAC meet, lead down the backstretch but
be passed by Angela Wright, who was in turn collared by Judi Brown over the
last hurdle. Brown's time was an American-record 54.93, but her first thought
was to console Maxie, who had run 55.60 but had slipped to fifth. The pressure
had drawn them together. "I haven't eaten right for four days because I was
so nervous," said Brown. "I keep waking up in the early morning. If
this race were run at 5 a.m., I'd set a new world record. I've run the thing
30,000 times in my mind."