"He had been arrogant, definitely, and he'd admit it, too," says Scott. "He was unbearable, impolite and real quick with people up until 1977, when he was beaten by Steve Ovett in the World Cup. He missed most of '78, and when he came back, he was much more humble."
Walker does not expect to compete much beyond his 40th birthday. He anticipates a contented retirement but knows there are some things about the track world that he will miss. "You run your race, you go and have a beer afterward," he says. "I have not met, in my 30 years in the sport, many bad people in track and field, people I would not like to sit down and have a meal with. Of the thousands of athletes I've met, I think they are all a pretty good bunch."
The feeling is mutual. Happy birthday, John.