- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
"Secret?" asked a nearby reporter.
"Want to try some?" asked Connolly with disturbing vivacity.
"I'm...I'm not sure." A wrong guess here, it seemed, might jeopardize clear coverage of the upcoming mile.
"Go on." She poured a half teaspoonful into the man's hand. It didn't have the texture of salt or sugar. By now, the interchange was drawing stares, some curious, some disapproving, some greedy.
"Taste it," said Connolly. He did. It was powdered Vitamin C.
Then Ashford was back, relaxed, saying, "I wish I could have that one to do over."
"You'll have your chances," said Connolly, and Ashford will, in meets leading up to the World Cup in Rome in September. It was in the 1979 World Cup in Montreal that she had her finest races, beating East Germany's world-record holder, Marlies Göhr, in the 100 in an American-record 10.97 and defeating East Germany's world-record holder, Marita Koch, in the 200 with an American-record 21.83. In that one she clapped her hands at the end, becoming an indelible picture of...
"...relief," she says. "But then, in the next instant, I was afraid. There was a vacuum in front of me. 'What do I do now?' I thought. There wasn't the ecstatic reaction I expected to have. I'd done everything I wanted to do, and it was like I was saying to myself, 'Is that all there is?' "
So it seems that reward is not what brings an athlete like Ashford back, or even the pride of returning. "From now on it's one race at a time, and the only pressure on me is from me," she said.
A parallel case, sprinter James Sanford of Los Angeles, returned a hamstring pull with an impressive win in the men's 60, missing Houston McTear's world record by .03 with 6.08. (That mark, too, would fall in Dallas when Stanley Floyd of Houston ran the distance in 6.04.) After his Sunkist race, Sanford discussed his debilitating injury of last year and, as is his happy wont, added to the language. "As I looked back, I decided that you can only look back so far and then you have to look forward," he said in stately cadence. "I will go on."