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Triumph And Tragedy In Los Angeles
Kenny Moore
August 20, 1984
Epitomizing victory was Carl Lewis with four gold medals. In stark contrast was Mary Decker
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August 20, 1984

Triumph And Tragedy In Los Angeles

Epitomizing victory was Carl Lewis with four gold medals. In stark contrast was Mary Decker

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"Daley, two questions: What did Princess Anne say to you after you'd won, and who's going to be the mother of your kids?"

"Well, you've just mentioned the lady," he was quick to reply. "And the answer to the first question is, she said, 'I hope they'll be white.' "

A shade more seriously, he said, "In the 1,500 I was just running as I felt, trying to enjoy it." He suggested that 9,000 points and Hingsen's competitive closeness were somehow linked. "Before the pole vault, I did think of 9,000," he said. "But when J�rgen went out low, I kind of lost interest in that." He left the vague suspicion that he had stage-managed it all, that he had left himself something more to do, and Hingsen to do as well.

The latter took up the challenge, about as firmly as he had hung on to his pole. "No, I don't have a Daley Thompson complex," Hingsen said. "Someday I'll beat him, I'm sure. Of course, I may be 80 by then."

Such patience may not be misplaced. Carlos Lopes of Portugal proved that when he surged away from favorites Rob de Castella and Toshihiko Seko with five miles to go in the marathon. Lopes is 37. Eight years ago in the Montreal 10,000 meters he set a pace that destroyed all but one of his pursuers. That one, however, was Lasse Viren of Finland, who out-sprinted him in the last lap.

Always the smoothest of the world's best runners, always able to race to great times on the track (his 27:17.48 last month is the second best 10,000 ever), but vulnerable to the kick of anyone who stayed with him, Lopes had almost resigned himself to ending his career without the one great victory.

He delivered himself to the marathon start at peace. "I was prepared to win," he said. "I was prepared also to lose."

Most of all, Lopes was prepared to run. His strength over the final miles carried him to the finish in 2:09:21, an Olympic best.

It's possible we'll never see a finer Olympic 1,500 than the one in Los Angeles. For a while it seemed as if there would be no one standing by the final. Sydney Maree of the U.S. injured a hamstring before the Games and withdrew. Eight-hundred-meter champion Joaquim Cruz of Brazil withdrew with a terrible cold. World-record holder Steve Ovett of Britain had been hospitalized with exercise-induced asthma after finishing last in the 800. But he was running. "He shouldn't be," said Dr. Tony Daly, medical director of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, before the final.

The heats had been fast, but no one expected anything more than a tactical race in the final. Sure enough, after Omar Khalifa of Sudan had led a lap in 58.85, the pace began to fall. "I thought we'd hang around and sprint the last 300," said Steve Cram of Britain.

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