No other race comes close. Burrell also broke his old record by finishing second in 9.88. "My goal was the record," he said. "And I got it. Somebody just broke it a little ahead of me. Who better to lose the record to than a friend you know you can race again."
Mitchell regained his peripheral vision at the finish and saw he was third in 9.91. Those three men, all raised near each other in the Delaware Valley, are now the three fastest in history. The 31-year-old Christie was fourth in a British, European and Commonwealth record of 9.92. He walked away stunned, saying, "Maybe I am getting too old for this."
Fredericks, in fifth, ran an African record of 9.95. Stewart, who finished sixth, set a Jamaican mark with a 9.96. "Imagine," said Burrell. "A legal 9.96 for sixth."
Such depth of brilliance made some observers search for strange properties in the new Tokyo surface, but Lewis and Burrell recoiled at such talk. "Fast men make fast tracks," said Burrell.
"It was not the shoes, not the track," said Lewis. "It was the legs."
"Just think," said Mitchell greedily, after the three guys from the Philadelphia suburbs had danced on the victory stand, "what a relay we can run."
They will get their chance, joined by Andre Cason, in the 4x100 on Sept. 1. "Cason is primed to lead off," said Mitchell. "And you know Leroy is going to get me the stick quick. I'm going to run a third leg that's going to be unbelievable. And then we'll all stand around and watch Carl. And the clock."
"First, I have a long jump to get ready for," said Lewis. "This was a great victory, but in a few hours it will be over. Leroy has the 200 to prepare for. We don't want to celebrate too long and lose our focus. We want to be able to..."
Go ahead, let him say it.
"...run our own races."