"Nobody wears that boxer trash anymore," says Myrella. "Your clothes had more holes than Swiss cheese. Remember that picture of you stretching with the holes right in your crotch?"
"I guess I was a low-budget act," says Moses. "But what do you expect for a track bum? You went from those kinky black cowboy boots to respectability. On foot to a Mercedes. You've come a long way, too. You didn't get to Rome until I took you."
If Moses had met Myrella in Berlin some three years earlier, Aug. 26, 1977, to be specific, she might have seen him lose. It came after four meets in six days, all over Europe. It was defeat No. 4, career. There haven't been any others.
Does the champion remember what it was like to lose? "I don't consider that a loss," Moses says. "At least I know I didn't get beat. I've seen a picture of me at the tape. I'm smiling, laughing. It was no big deal. I knew I'd messed up. I had a don't-give-a-damn attitude. I made multiple mistakes. I just correlate the race like that. I wasn't ready. So I didn't get beat. The next week at the World Cup I was up to my old tricks. I beat Schmid by 15 meters. Look, winning isn't the reason I'm in this. Somebody wrote I had a pathological hatred of losing. Like I was sick. I lost a lot in high school and college. Maybe as often as I won. I just didn't think about it in terms of losing. I was preparing."
Does Moses remember the feeling when he did lose? "No," he says, with finality.
With Myrella along, the milestones kept accumulating. No. 50 came in Berlin the week Edwin and Myrella met. No. 60 came in 1981 at the Mount SAC Relays when Moses actually had to come from behind to beat Phillips. "Ed was beaten," Dick Hill insists to this day. "Phillips passed him after eight and it was over. Then Moses reached back somewhere and you could see he recognized peril. Moses keyed on 10, attacked the track and Phillips's eyes went to the ground. He was questioning and Moses roared by him.
"I often wondered what this hurdling machine would do when challenged that late. What a competitor! Moses was like a karate expert slashing through all the bricks. With one move he demonstrated everything we teach at the Olympic training center—fight, concentration, mind-set, body control, a kinesthetic sense of awareness of all combinations. It was awesome."
Doubtless Moses's two most satisfying races were in last summer's world championship (which he won with a shoelace flying loose) and his current world record in Koblenz, established on his birthday, Aug. 31. He had sat out 1982 with a lingering case of pneumonia and leg injuries and, in his absence, Phillips, Patrick and David Lee had all markedly improved. Was he too old? Had he lost it? Was he still wholly Moses? The champ dusted them all.
Since Helsinki, Moses's streak has enveloped the historical legacies of sprinter-hurdler Harrison Dillard and shotputter Jim Fuchs, both of whom won more than 80 contests in a row in their specialties. Moses's only two remaining, uh, hurdles are the 116 consecutive meet victories of shotputter Parry O'Brien and the 140 straight of high jumper Iolanda Balas, the Romanian woman whom Moses's suddenly publicized record has turned into an overnight sensation. Yo, Iolanda—tell us about jump number one four oh.
Moses himself points out that shotputters and high jumpers get more than one chance every meet, several chances, in fact. He still suffers attacks of peeve when such things are overlooked. And he is quick to feel a slight.