Carl Lewis Wins Long Jump; Michael Johnson Wins 400
Jul. 30, 1996
ATLANTA (AP) _ Carl Lewis closed his Olympic career with yet another bit of history, unleashing his longest jump in two years to win a record-tying ninth gold medal.
Michael Johnson moved halfway toward making some history of his own, winning the first half of what would be an unprecedented 400-200 double.
Lewis won the long jump for the fourth straight Olympics by leaping 27 feet, 10 3/4 inches. He then leaned back on the track and watched as opponents failed to top that mark in the final three rounds.
``I don't see how I can top this,'' said Lewis, who celebrated his victory by filling a plastic bag with sand from the long jump pit and waving it to the crowd.
Johnson completed the first part of his quest for a golden Olympic double, winning the 400 meters in an Olympic-record 43.49 seconds.
Johnson, who also is favored to win the 200 that begins Wednesday, is trying to become the first man to win both races in an Olympics.
It was his 55th straight victory in a 400 final. Johnson has not lost a 400 final, indoors or outdoors, since Feb. 24, 1989.
He had hoped to break Butch Reynolds' world record of 43.29, but was unable to accomplish that feat on a steamy, 85-degree night.
``I'm not disappointed,'' he said. ``I'm extremely pleased with my win, and that's what I came here for, to win. I'll have other opportunities to set the world record.''
Roger Black of Britain won the silver medal in 44.41 and Davis Kamoga of Uganda passed American Alvin Harrison in the final five meters to capture the bronze in 44.53.
Allen Johnson plowed through the 110-meter hurdles in an Olympic record of 12.95 seconds, missing the world record by four hundredths of a second and leading a 1-2 U.S. finish.
Johnson hit nearly all 10 hurdles as he won by two meters over Mark Crear, who captured the silver medal in 13.09. Florian Schwarthoff of Germany won bronze in 13.17, edging world-record holder Colin Jackson of Britain.
Johnson and Crear hugged during a victory lap, waving huge American flags.
Lewis became only the second athlete _ along with discus thrower Al Oerter _ to win the same track event in four straight Olympics.
His ninth gold medal ties him with U.S. swimmer Mark Spitz, 1920s Finnish distance runner Paavo Nurmi and Soviet gymnast Larissa Latynina for the Olympic record.
American Ray Ewry won 10 Olympic golds in standing long jump events at the turn of the century, but two of those came in the unofficial 1906 Athens Games.
The last jumper with a chance to catch Lewis was U.S. teammate Joe Greene. When Greene failed to surpass that mark in the last round, Lewis grabbed his face with his hands and ran down the long jump runway with his arms raised in triumph.
Lewis then took a victory lap with two American flags draped around his shoulders, stopping to accept congratulations from the Rev. Jesse Jackson. At one point he pulled the flags to his chin in a gesture that resembled someone savoring the smell of a bouquet of flowers.
James Beckford of Jamaica won the silver and Greene won his second straight bronze.
Mike Powell, the world-record holder and a silver medalist at the previous two Olympics, finished fifth. He hurt his leg on his fifth jump, then screamed in pain while sailing through the air on his sixth attempt.
He remained in the pit for two minutes, his face contorted in pain and covered with sand. He limped away from the pit in agony.
Lewis was lounging at the end of the long jump pit as Michael Johnson ran by in the 400. Lewis, the greatest track athlete of his generation, turned his head slowly to watch Johnson _ who may soon claim a similar title.
Johnson was ready for the symbolic passing of the torch.
``I think that as far as trying to be the pre-eminent athlete of track and field, he should step down from that,'' Johnson said. ``My objective is not to replace Carl Lewis. My objective is to stand up there with the greats like Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens.''
Johnson skipped the 400 in the 1992 Barcelona Games and didn't qualify for the 200 final because of food poisoning. Other than a relay medal at Barcelona, Monday's was his first Olympic medal.
``It's extra special for me because it's my first individual gold medal,'' he said. ``I've been saying all along this has nothing to do with Barcelona, but now that I've got it I certainly feel better about what happened in Barcelona.''
He'll have a day of rest before starting the four rounds of the 200.
``I feel great,'' he said. ``I've got 48 hours to get ready for the 200, and I feel like give me two hours and I'll be ready to go.''
Meanwhile, France's Marie-Jose Perec made some history of her own.
Perec won the 400 in 48.25 seconds, an Olympic record, becoming the first woman to repeat at that distance since the event was introduced in 1964. Her time was the world's fastest by a woman since 1986.
Perec edged ahead of Cathy Freeman of Australia coming off the final turn, and pulled away with 15 meters left. Freeman won the silver medal and Falilat Ogunkoya of Nigeria won bronze.
Svetlana Masterkova of Russia was a surprise winner in the women's 800 in 1 minute, 57.73 seconds. The pre-race favorites, Ana Quirot of Cuba and Maria Mutola of Mozambique, captured the silver and bronze medals.
Yelena Nikolayeva of Russia won the women's 10-kilometer walk and Germany's Ilke Wyludda won the women's discus.
Gail Devers, who will try to add the 100-meter hurdles title to her gold medal in the 100 meters, advanced easily through the first two rounds of the hurdles.
John Godina, silver medalist in the shot put, was not as fortunate in the discus _ failing to advance beyond Monday's qualifying round. The other two Americans, Anthony Washington and Adam Setliff, reached Wednesday's discus final.