Renaldo Nehemiah, 10 pounds weaker and a year wiser, said today he would pass up college competition next year if it proved necessary to properly prepare for the Olympic Games, in which he is favored to win the high hurdles gold medal.
The Maryland junior also outlined an abbreviated four-race indoor campaign that does not include the National Invitational meet at College Park.
"The Olympics are what count in 1980," Nehemiah said "I want to peak in July, not May or June, the way I have been doing. If I have to, I'll junk my college season. It's not until you run until August that you realize how much the college season takes out of you.
"I've been running since October and it's been too much. This is like the third season for me. If I didn't have to run here (in the World Cup), I wouldn't run here."
Nehemiah laid down two goals for himself this year, to establish a world record and to dominate the hurdles. He ran a world-record 13.16 in April, reduced it to 13.00 in May and ran a wind-aided 12.91 in June.
His times, however, have been less startling since and his domination was shattered last week in Zurich, where he was beaten by Dedy Cooper.
"I maintained my domination through the Pan Ams, which was pretty good," Nehemiah said. "But I got hit by a virus, which took off 10 pounds and some of my strength. Zurich was a combination of jet lag and my needing a race, after having to lay off for a month. The Sports Festival would have been perfect, but I was too sick to run."
Sunday in Cologne, West Germany, Nehemiah not only won the hurdles but captured the 200 meters in 20.48.
That 20.48 prompted Coach Sam Bell, bedeviled by injuries to sprinters, to offer Nehemiah the chance to double in the 200 meters here, scheduled a half-hour after the hurdles Sunday. Nehemiah quickly declined.
Nehemiah's chief opposition Sunday will come from Aljandro Casanas of Cuba, who has not run in competition since losing to Nehemiah in San Juan, and Thomas Munkelt of East Germany, the defending World Cup champion.
Nehemiah does not intend to run again until December, passing up the World University Games. Indoors, the New Jersey native will run only four times, twice in Madison Square Garden ("because I consider New York my hometown) and in the Atlantic Coast Conference and IC4A meets.