On Wednesday afternoon came the news that Ovett had been hurt and that he might miss the rest of the season, including the Eugene mile. As reported by The Times of London, Ovett was running a hard 500 meters in practice in his home city of Brighton when he "incurred the classical manifestation of the hamstring pull." That is, he suddenly yelped and shot straight up in the air. Ovett hadn't run well all year after suffering a knee injury last December. It's quite possible that another Briton, 21-year-old Steve Cram, whose 1:44.45 ranks as this year's fatest 800, might soon surpass Ovett, 26, as Coe's principal rival.
In fact, in Friday night's meet at London's Crystal Palace, Coe and Cram were the outstanding performers. Cram easily defeated American mile-record-holder Steve Scott in the 1,000, while Coe won the 800 as convincingly as he had in Zurich, though in the slightly slower time of 1:45.85. Then on Sunday in Cologne he won the 800 yet again, in 1:45.10. Coe was so pleased with his performances he said he might enter the 1,500 as well as the 800 at the European championships in Athens in September. "I haven't felt this good since, well, it's been a long time," he said.
Outside Crystal Palace early Friday evening, with temperatures in the 40s, black clouds rolling in and a nasty wind howling, British fans had queued up to buy copies of a new paperback, The Coe & Ovett File. The title and the brisk sales suggested that the book was a fine thriller, ideal for reading in bed on such an inclement night. But the book, a collection of Athletics Weekly articles on Coe and Ovett, ends with the 1981 season. The Coe-Ovett story apparently has a few intriguing twists left.