clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:


Leroy Burrell, who has been overshadowed by Carl Lewis, outdid his training partner and friend on Friday, racing to a world record 9.90-second clocking in the men's 100-meter dash.

Burrell's brilliant performance, which broke Lewis' record of 9.92, came in the Mobil national championships at much-maligned Downing Stadium.After Burrell had broken the record and beaten Lewis, the runner-up, the two warmly praised each other.

"I'm just overwhelmed by what happened today," the low-key Burrell, 24, said. "He's my training partner, teaching me how to be a better athlete and competitor."

Lewis had held the record since the 1988 Olympic Games, when he was awarded the mark after first-place finisher Ben Johnson of Canada, who clocked 9.79, was disqualified for testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. Johnson's gold medal and world record also were stripped.

"I want to congratulate Leroy," Lewis said. "He's a great champion; he's a clean champion."

This was the first world outdoor record set in New York since 1961, when Frank Budd broke the 100-yard mark with a time of 9.2.

The victory was Burrell's third over Lewis in their last four meetings, including the 1990 Goodwill Games, after Lewis had won their first five races.

Burrell's previous best time was 9.94, in winning the 1989 national championship at Houston.

The wind this time was 1.9 meters per second, just under the allowable 2.0.

Despite the loss of the record and the race, Lewis was satisfied overall, because his time of 9.93 was his fastest since the Seoul Games.

"A lot of people thought Carl Lewis was old and gone," the 29-year-old, two-time Olympic gold medalist said. "We're just a start away from a world record."

He was not happy with his start, however.

"I didn't do what I had to do out of the blocks," Lewis said. "I had a terrible start. I won't say this was my worst start in major competition, but it was just terrible.

"I'm not meet sharp yet. I just messed up out of the blocks."

As usual, Burrell was out quickly and held off Lewis, who closed fast over the final 25 meters.

"Everything went well from the start," Burrell said. "I reacted to the gun very well, drove out of the blocks powerfully and accelerated unlike ever before.

"Ever since I ran 9.94, I felt it was a matter of time that it would happen. When your lifelong dream and lifelong work culminates itself, you don't know what to think.

"This is the party of all parties and you don't know if you can improve on it."

To complete the party, Burrell easily qualified for Saturday's 200-meter semifinals, winning his preliminary heat in 20.41.

Earlier, Greg Foster and Renaldo Nehemiah, long-time rivals, finished 1-3 in the men's 110-meter high hurdles and earned places on the U.S. team for the World Championships.

The two, who often had battled acrimoniously before Nehemiah left track temporarily in 1982, embraced after their strong showing this time.

Gail Devers-Roberts, who has been suffering from Graves disease - a hyperthyroid condition - since making the 1988 Olympic team, won the women's 100-meter hurdles in 12.83, her fastest time of the year.

Joining her on the U.S. world championship team were NCAA champion Dawn Bowles of Louisiana State (12.89) and Arnita Epps-Myricks (12.99). Not often have three Americans been under 13.00 in the same race.

Julie Jenkins the former BYU All-American who missed Thursday's women's 800-meter heats after getting struck by a van while crossing a street near her midtown hotel, and was allowed into the semifinals, qualified for the final by finishing third in her heat.

"It went pretty well, especially since I didn't know what to expect," said the tearful Jenkins, who suffered injuries to her left calf, knee and clavicle in the accident.

"I'm just thankful I can run. My calf is hurt and I also twisted my knee. I tried to put it out of my mind, but it pops back in there."

NCAA champion Carlette Guidry OF Texas won the women's 100 in 10.94, the fastest by an American this year, with Evelyn Ashford, 34, the 1984 Olympic gold medalist, making the U.S. team by finishing third in 11.24.

Two of the meet's advertised stars experienced physical problems.

Steve Lewis, the 1988 Olympic gold medalist at 400 meters, had to drop out of the semifinals after about 200 meters when his left hamstring tightened.