Renaldo Nehemiah survived a bumpy trip over the hurdles to score a photo-finish victory today and help the United States men to a seven-point triumph over Europe III in the World Cup.
While Nehemiah was reaffirming his status as the world's best hurdler, Larry Myricks and Debbie Brill were enjoying the accolades of success at the scene of 1976 disaster.
Myricks, the Mississippian who broke his right ankle during warmups for the Olympic finale here, posted the second best long jump in history, 27 feet 11 1/2 inches.
Brill, a Canadian goat when she failed to clear the Olympic qualifying height of 5-9, leaped 6-5 1/4 today for a British Commonwealth mark and defeated the world record-holder, Sara Simeoni of Italy.
Miruts Yifter of Ethiopia repeated his distance double of the first World Cup by sprinting away from the 5,000 meter pack on the backstretch and was named the meet's outstanding male athlete. The female prize went to Evelyn Ashford, who took both sprints over record-holding East Germans Friday and Saturday.
Olympic discus champion Evelin Jahl nipped Soviet Svetlana Melnikova by two inches and Ashford victim Marita Koch ran away with the 400 meters as the East German women captured team honors by eight points over the Soviets, with the U.S. a distant fourth.
Willie Smith's 44.3 third leg brought the U.S. even with pace-setting Europe and Tony Darden's 44.9 anchor held off West German Harald Schmid as the U.S. 1,600-meter relay quartet prevailed in 3:00.7.It was the third U.S. medal of the day, all gold.
A weary Nehemiah, 10 pounds weaker and far off his early season form, outleaned Thomas Munkelt of East Germany to take the day's first gold medal in 13.39. Cuba's Alejandro Casanas was another half-step back in a three-man finish so close that the crowd of 30,363 limited its reaction until the scoreboard replay was completed.
Nehemiah had no doubts, however, raising his right fist in triumph after crossing the line.
Nehemiah's primary aim in each race is to clear the first hurdle cleanly to set the right tempo. This time, however, he whacked it hard and never was able to establish control.
Nehemiah flirted with disaster at the ninth hurdle, which he flattened, but he was able to come off it with sufficient momentum to stay even with Munkelt over the 10th and beat him with that patented Nehemiah lean.
Afterward, Nehemiah chose to bypass the press interview, and steward Ed Stransenback said, "We lost him after the doping (test). He said he was with friends and wanted to spend the rest of this time with them."
Myricks was not reluctant to discuss his effort, the closest anyone has come to Bob Beamon's monumental 29-2 1/2 leap of 1968.
"I don't feel that record is out of sight," Myricks said. "They call it the greatest record in track and field, so when I break it, I'll have the greatest record. One thing I don't do is limit myself."
Myricks was in third place at 26-8, behind East German Lutz Dombrowski's 27-1 1/2, as he took his final jump, and he knew as soon as the takeoff judge waved the white flag that he had the winner.
"I had fouled twice and I was a little afraid of that one," Myricks said. "When they announced 8.52 (the meet was measured metrically), I thought it was about 27-8 or 27-9. I didn't find out until later how close I'd come to 28. I sure am going to try to be the first one to 28, but I don't intend to stop there."
Brill recently placed herself in the hands of the coach she deserted in 1972, Lionel Pugh, and he came out to hug her after Simeoni's final failure at 6-5 1/2 assured Brill's victory. Brill later had a close try at 6-6, only an inch away from Simeoni's world record.
"I was probably the most prepared I've ever been going into a meet," said Brill, who became an international star 10 years ago at age 16. "I was concentrating so well I wasn't aware of anything going on around me. I did not expect to win, but I expected to jump well."
Brill thought the fact that she was competing for Americas II, rather than Canada, lifted some of the pressure from her. Previous failures, including that at the Olympics, had made her something of a national flopper.
"Everybody thinks I should feel terrible about the Olympics, but I did the best I could," Brill said. "It just happened that my best that day was pretty bad. But I didn't feel I had to redeem myself."
The final-day crowd, lured in large part by Brill's presence, produced a three-day turnout of 69,836, barely half of the 135,000 who attended the first edition at Dusseldorf in 1977.