Steve Scott had trained with this meet in mind ever since the indoor season. "The crowd and track and weather have the best chance of being right for a record at UCLA," he had said. The record he sought was Jim Ryun's 14-year-old U.S. mile standard of 3:51.1. Scott got all the right conditions but the weather. The hot, dry day seemed to turn a fine field of milers more than usually cautious. By three-quarters, reached first by Villanova's Sydney Maree in 2:59.2, all hope of a record was gone. Scott was in sixth, and the other man who seemed most prepared for this early-season race was right behind him. New Zealand's John Walker had run a 3:50.58 mile six weeks earlier in Auckland and then had moved his wife and 20-month-old daughter to the U.S., probably permanently. Now, with 300 meters to go, he took off. Scott chose precisely that moment to begin his own kick. Down the backstretch the pair flew past Craig Masback, Steve Lacy, Ray Flynn, Maree and Eamonn Coghlan. On the turn Scott gained a yard or two on Walker. "I ran really scared in the stretch," Scott said. He misread the crowd's screaming, thinking it meant Walker was right behind him, when it really signified appreciation for this ever-improving miler's most impressive kick. Scott hit the tape in 3:52.50, having run his last lap in less than 53 seconds. Walker was timed in 3:53.98, and Coghlan in third did 3:54.94. "I could feel we were slow even in the first quarter," said Scott, "but it was so hot I felt tired, and I wasn't going to take off in this type of weather."
It was about then that Carl Lewis happened to let 28'3¾" of ground pass beneath him and thus make this meet of so many splendid performances his own. And that, in turn, gave him a chance to examine close up the kind of work he hopes his communications studies will one day lead him to—sports announcing. In this case, it was a little breathless talk with Bruce Jenner, which Lewis was too kind to critique later, but which was shown only in abbreviated form on NBC's broadcast of the meet. "Jenner was excited," was all Lewis would say. "I was excited." Then, with a nod to his excited sister Carol, he said, "Emotion sometimes makes things hard." He was right about that, for sure, because his own happy eagerness had unexpectedly brought this track season to a bloom the sport hasn't shown since before the Moscow Olympic boycott.