Cliff Wiley of Baltimore and the D.C. International Track Club, who said he was "still running roughly on Eastern Standard Time" after being summoned hurriedly to Moscow as a stand-in, won two gold medals today as the United States swept the three men's relays in the track and field competition of Spartakiade, the national games of the Peoples of the U.S.S.R.
Wiley, 23, a graduate of Douglas High School in Baltimore and the University of Kansas, was the leadoff man in both the 400- and 1600-meter relays.
The American team also won the 800 meters in 1:22.0, an astonishing time considering that the second leg was run by longer jumper Carl Lewis of Willingboro, N.J., who proved willing to fill a gap in the U.S. lineup.
So was Wiley. He was training in Texas Wednesday with University of Houston Coach Clyde Duncan when a call came asking if he could rush to Moscow as a replacement on the relay teams for intermediate hurdler Bart Williams, who had pulled a muscle.
"Clude called me up and said, "Cliff, I just got a call from Ollan Cassell (executive director of the Amateur Athletic Union). He said a guy has gotten injured over there in Russia, and would you like to go over there and run?"" Wiley recalled tonight, clutching the two medals and red carnations he had been presented in closing ceremonies for the Spartakiade track events.
"I sat and thought it for a second, and decided yes. I called up Ollan Cassell and about half an hour later I was on my way."
Wiley flew from Houston to Baltimore Wednesday evening and packed $&(WORD ILLEGIBLE for a trip that will allow him to compete in several European meets over the next three weeks.
"I just threw a few things in a bag and I was ready," he said. "I learned when I competed in Europe in 1977 not to overpack. I brought a big suitcase that time, and by the time I finished lugging it through airports and train stations, my arms ached. Now I travel light."
He also travels right, as was proved Thursday morning when he drove from Baltimore to Washington to get his visa at the Soviet consulate.
"I guess when it's urgent, they can do it," he said, grinning with the knowledge that many athletes and journalists had gone through weeks of hassle obtaining visas to come to Spartakiade. "I got it while I waited."
Having secured the necessary documents, Wiley hopped a plane to New York and flew out of Kennedy Airport Thursday evening. He stopped at Copenhagen and Stockholm, arriving in Moscow late Friday afternoon - groggy from lack of sleep, but otherwise none the worse for wear.
"I just got something to eat and went to bed about 9 o'clock. I knew the heats were the next afternoon," he said. "The only problem was that the sun comes up here about 4 in the morning. It woke me up, and I kept dozing off and waking up the next few hours. My system had no idea where I was."
Wiley did not have any sense of culture shock, a problem that confronts many athletes competing in the U.S.S.R. because he had been here before. He won the 100 meters in a dual meet between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the summer of 1977, three weeks before he competed in the World Cup at Dusseldorf, West Germany.
"I really like traveling. I hope to make it around the world by 1980," said Wiley.
"I majored in political science at Kansas and I really want to see for myself how these countries work, what their culture is like. I went to Israel this year after the Penn Relays. That was fascinating. I have a list of places I want to go to. Africa, China and Japan are at the top of the list."
Wiley was listed on Soviet starting lists and in results as "Klif Uilli," but he made his unexpected presence felt with strong performances both in the heats Friday and the finals today in Lenin Central Stadium, where a crowd of 7,000 - the largest to date for the Spartakiade - was assembled.
"I was a little fatigued but I felt pretty good," he said. "I was just a little annoyed that they kept putting us in the outside lane. It's a remarkable coincidence when you draw the outside lane in every heat," he deadpanned, leaving little doubt about his irritation at the little ways Soviet hosts can some times try to stack the deck against foreign competitors.
Wiley got the U.S. off to a good start in the 4 X 100, a race the Americans won with a memorable spring by Don Coleman, who closed from fourth to first place on the final leg and made up for time lost on a shaky pass of the baton between second man Rich Edwards and third man Wardell Gilbreath.
The Americans won in 39.33 seconds. Moscow was second in 39.49 and Leningrad third in 39.57 in this competition which this year invited 87 foreign countries to participate along with teams from the 15 Soviet Republics, Moscow and Leningrad.
Wiley led off and grabbed the lead in the 4 X 400 as well, as the U.S. was ahead all the way and won in 3:03.7. Moscow was second in 3:03.9, and the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic third in 3:05.2.
Ron Harris, Fred Taylor and Stan Vinson ran the last three legs smoothly. Wiley was not the only American whose name was butchered in translation. Harris became "Herris," Taylor emerged as "Tailor" and Vinson was listed as "Sten Vinsent."
None of that mattered, however, as the spirited Americans ascended the victory stand to receive their awards in the lengthy closing ceremonies. Afterward, on the bus ride back to their headquarters at the Hotel Rossiya, they examined the certificates that came with the medals and flowers. Their names were written in the Russian Cyrillic alphabet.
"I don't think this is me," said Wiley, "but how am I supposed to read it?"
"Compare it with the name on your identification badge," suggested Vinson.
"Yeh, I guess it is me," concluded Wiley, comparing the strange-looking characters with those on the laminated plastic badge around his neck. "It sure doesn't look like me, though."
Later there was a celebration back at the Rossiya as Steve Simmons, the assistant coach, brought out champagne to toast the relay teams that gave the U.S. a glorious finish to a meet in which they started slowly but finished with seven gold medals.
Meanwhile, Wiley was delighted to have gotten to compete in Spartakiade - opened to foreign athletes this year for the first time as the Soviets prepare to host next summer's Olympics in Moscow - because his last-minute addition to the team paid for the trip to Europe he wanted but had been unable to finance.
He had been scheduled to co?pete in the U.S. National Sports Festival at Colorado Springs over the weekend, but jumped at the opportunity to get to Europe, where he will have high-level competition and gain valuable experience in meets in Switzerland and Italy the next three weeks.
"The problem is that after the AAU championships and the Sports Festival, there are no competitions in the U.S. the rest of the summer that allow a guy of my caliber to improve. The track scene shifts to Europe and that's where I wanted to be. I hope I can do something to impress the coaches who pick the World Cup team that will go to Montreal next month."
Wiley flatly denied a rumor that he had been told by Jimmy Carnes, the head track coach of American men at Spartakiade and for next year's Olympics, that he had to pass up Colorado Springs and come to Moscow if he wanted to be included in the World Cup team.
"This is nonsense. I don't know how things like that get started," Wiley said.
"First of all, I may be only 5-foot-8 (and 133 pounds), but stature doesn't allow anyone to intimidate me. I've always thought that international competition takes precedence over domestic competition, and I felt Spartakiade was more important than the Sports Festival.
"It also enabled me to come to Europe and run in some good races over here. I need that competition to improve, physically and psychologically. Next year is a big year in track, and I didn't want to shortchange myself at any point.
"The only time I talked to Jimmy Carnes about Spartakiade was in Puerto Rico, during the Pan American Games. He asked if I would be interested in coming to Moscow, but at that point he couldn't guarantee me a place on the team. I decided I would like to come, but I never got a chance to see him or talk to him again.
"The next I heard about it was when Ollan Cassell called Houston. Nothing was said about the World Cup. Jimmy Carnes isn't even the coach of the World Cup team.Stan Bell is.
"I think if I owe anyone an apology for not going to Colorado Springs it is the coach of the East team...and not for my decision, just the fact that I couldn't get in touch with him to tell him. When I get back to the States I'll write him a letter. I tried to call him and explain, but all this happened so quickly, I didn't have time to keep calling until I got him."
"I'm sorry if anybody at Colorado Springs was offended that I wasn't there," added Wiley, who was third in the 200 meters, his specialty, at the AAU championships in Walnut, Calif. last month and still hopes to make the World Cup team in either the 200 or the relays."But that is still a local meet compared to an international one. It was important for me to come here."
In other action, the American men's basketball team suffered its second defeat at Vilnius, Lithuania, bowing to Ukrainia, 86-76. The U.S. beat Yugoslavia, 87-75, Saturday after losing in the first round to Leningrad.
The U.S. women's volleyball team opened its competition today by beating Ukrainia, 3-1, but the American women's basketball team suffered the second loss, 100-87, to Latvia.
Denise Curry, 6-foot-1 center from Davis, Calif., outscored 6-10 Ulyana Semyonova, 36-35. The Soviet news agency Tass described Curry as "the best of the foreign contestants in the basketball tournament."
She has scored 94 points in three games for a 31.3 average. Semyonova leads the individual point race with 101 points in three games for a 33.6 average.
The American women beat Leningrad, 93-90, Saturday after losing in the opening round, 89-82, to Ukrainia.
American judoist Dewey Mitchell of Seven Springs, Fla., decisioned Viktor Slavny of the Soviet Union today in the 200-pound weight division.
American light heavyweight boxer Andre McCoy of New Bedford, Mass., defeated Yuri Mudry of the Soviet Union when the referee stopped the quarterfinal bout in the second minute of the third round. Robert Hines of Philadelphia was beaten by Valery Kukhtin of the Soviet Union.