Rosalyn Bryant was sitting in the lobby of Maple Leaf Gardens Friday night, minutes after her impressive victory in the women's 400-meter race. But she was slumped in a chair with a deep frown on her face, looking like the night's biggest loser.
Her coach, Fred Jones, was not especially happy, either, although Bryant had defeated Olympic 400-meter champion Irena Szewinska and Lorna Forde, of the New York Atoms, rather handily.
"Yes, we won," Jones said, "but it wasn't the kind of race we wanted. This might have been the most competitive field in this event this season. But there were problems. People complained about the lanes and there was a lot of bumping. It should have been better."
"Rosalyn Bryant is going to be the all-time greatest, and I don't want any kind of asterisk next to her name. I don't want to hear anybody complain when a race is over. We don't need any help because she's the best."
She also is one of the most engaging runners to come down the track in some time, a corn-rowed comet who wears brighly colored beads in her hair, wildly stripped knee socks and large hooped earings when she runs.
And she is outspoken.
"How come you give the women so little publicity?" She asked New York writers two weeks ago after setting a world indoor record in the 440. "I run just as hard as the men."
"The doors just aren't open enough," she said. "The women are doing some great things, accomplishing as much as the men. I beleive we're equal, not comparable because of the physical differences but I given just as much in my sport as any man does in his.
"We're just not getting our share . . . We were at a meet in San Francisco and all men won television sets for first place. The women got medals. I don't care about the TV set; its just the principale.
"I had just set a U. S. record in the 300 in that meet, but a pole-vaulter who broke the meet record got the outstanding-performer award. That bothered me, too.
"I used to be very meek and modest person. But my coach always says I should talk withe confidence, so now I say what I feel.
"The only way it will get better is if women just oush a little."
Bryant has been pushing most of her life to succeed in track. She is 21 now, a senior at Cal State-Los Angeles who started running in grammer school competition at the age of 10.
She grew up in Chicago, the city that produced her idol, Olympic champion Barbara Ferrell, and she has been guided by several of the same people who helped Ferrell win gold and silver medals in the 1968 games.
Jones, the coach of the Los Angeles Mercurettes, was the man primarily responsible for Ferrell's success and he is doing many of the same things for Bryant. Jones has been coaching her full time for 18 months, changing her running style and convincing her to abandon the shorter sprints in favor of the 440 and the 400 meters.
"I never really liked the quarter cause it was a hurting race. After it's over, your hamstrings and buttocks are so tight you can hardly walk," she said.
"Even after I made the Olympics (She finished fifth in 400 meters at Monstreal), I hated the distance. But I'm getting used to it now, My muscles are adjusting and it's not as painful."
Bryant train 2 1/2 hours a day and, says Jones, she wastes little time.
"She drives her car right to the tracks and starts right up. A lot of the girls to stand and socialize; not Rosalyn. She charges through a workout and works right through the pain."
The hard work has paid off handsomely. In addition to her world record 53.3 in the 440, she recently set the world mark in the 500 meters at 1: 11.8 Incredibly, the record in the 500 came the first time she had ever run that distance. It may also have been the last time she goes that far.
"I don't think I want to do that again," she said. "you talk about pain, wow. No, the 400 is my race. I'm shooting for Moscow and I'm shooting for gold."
With no asterisks.