Romania's Doina Melinte, undefeated this year, came to run, or so it was hoped. "If she really does understand English," said co-announcer Stan Saplin after a try at a talk with Melinte, who brought no interpreter, "then she's promised to break both the 1,500 and mile records in the same race."
Those would be Mary Decker Slaney's world indoor records of 4:20.5 in the mile and 4:00.8 in the 1,500. Melinte followed the strong pace of Diana Rich-burg and passed the 440 in 63.9 and the half in 2:09.3, then began her final drive at three-quarters and raced away at will. She missed the 1,500 record with 4:02.3, but took the mile with 4:18.86.
Then came the hard part, talking about it. "Is good running for me," she said. "No, no surprise."
Is she worried that she might be peaking too early in this long Olympic year?
"Yes, it's good for Seoul. There I not run 800, only 1,500."
O.K., but are you peaking too early?
"Yes, I go with happiness to Budapest for European Indoor Championships."
Sigh. We shall not know, until Seoul, if Melinte left her best races indoors.
But if it was loquacity, not opacity, you wanted, you had only to turn to the men's mile, where the pride of Cork, Ireland, one Marcus O'Sullivan, held forth.
He had won the Wanamaker Mile in 3:56.89 a week earlier with a rocket finish. Now he wanted to run hard for a whole mile. He put together an Irish syndicate to see to that. "Kieran Stack, a fellow Corkman, was to hit 57 and 1:55," said O'Sullivan. "Then Gerry O'Reilly was to go on to three-quarters in 2:55. Then I hoped to tack on a 57 or so for under 3:53."