Carl Lewis accomplished the first indoor 28-foot long jump and Billy Olson boosted the American indoor pole vault record to 18 feet 6 inches tonight in the Olympic Invitational meet in Byrne Meadowlands Arena.
Lewis leaped 28-1 on his third attempt to wipe out the mark of 27-10 1/4 he set last year. It was Lewis' only fair jump of the competition, as he fouled three times and passed his last two attempts.
Lewis went 28-3 1/2 outdoors in June for the second-best jump ever behind Bob Beamon's world-record 29-2 1/2 at Mexico City in 1968. Larry Myricks was second tonight at 27-1 1/4, his ninth time over 27 feet indoors.
Olson added a half inch to Dan Ripley's 1979 American mark. It was one more stage in a remarkable comeback for Olson, after he missed the last indoor season with a broken wrist suffered in a gymnastics accident.
"It was my bottom (left) hand and I had difficulty building it up to give me the strength to carry the pole," Olson said. "I don't have a full range of movement, but it doesn't hurt too bad."
Alberto Salazar, the marathon man, was knocked down on the second lap of the 5,000 meters and found himself in last place. He recovered, however, and ran away from Suleiman Nyambui to win in 13:23.08, less than three seconds off Nyambui's world indoor record, as the 12,110 fans loudly saluted his courage.
"It was a chain reaction, one guy got hit and another guy got hit and he (Solomon Chebor) hit me," Salazar said. "The jolting of the fall takes a little out of you, and of course it cost some time. But I thought anything under 13:26 would be good. I think I can get the record this winter. I don't feel I've peaked."
Another remarkable performance was turned in by Fred Sowerby, who at age 33 ran a lifetime best of 1:01.51 to defeat an outstanding field and set a meet record for 500 meters.
"I'm becoming an American citizen and I'd like to make one U.S. team before I'm through," said Sowerby, an Antigua Olympian who is track coach at Maryland-Eastern Shore. "I've been training a little harder."
In one more highlight, Renaldo Nehemiah, running in a major meet in his home state for the first time, edged arch rival Greg Foster to win the 55-meter hurdles in 6.94 seconds.
Nehemiah got off fast, had trouble over the fourth hurdle, was almost caught by Foster at the fifth and last barrier, then thrust himself forward and raised his right arm to let the spectators know he was the winner.
"This was my first meeting of the year with Greg Foster and it sort of sets the trend for the indoor season," said Nehemiah, well satisfied although he was five-hundredths off his world indoor record. "He came 3,000 miles to run and I wanted him to have a long trip back. I was more nervous than usual tonight, the meet being in New Jersey and me being a New Jerseyan. I put a lot of pressure on myself. There was outside pressure, too, because the track is so fast and I'm considered a record chaser."
Oliver Bridges' sensational 47.1 third leg carried Howard to an upset victory over Seton Hall and Villanova in the featured 4 x 400-meter relay, as Ed Simms hung on with a 48.3 anchor. The Bison clocked an excellent 3:12.9.
Tom Byers, more noted as a front runner, slipped inside pace-setting Ray Flynn in the homestretch to win the mile in 3:56.32. Favored Sydney Maree was never a factor and finished last.
In the biggest upset of the night, Jeanette Bolden captured the women's 55-meter dash in 6.74 seconds, with Chandra Cheeseborough second in 6.76 and Evelyn Ashford, rated the best in the world, third at 6.79.
Stanley Floyd ran away with the men's version in 6.14 seconds, as Jeff Phillips finished second and Georgia football star Herschel Walker was third. Houston McTear and Harvey Glance were seeding victims, finishing 3-4 behind Phillips and Walker in a packed semifinal and failing to qualify for the final.
James Robinson came from far back to win the 800 meters in a meet-record 1:48.46. Mark Belger tried to steal the race with a spurt at the gun but was quickly overhauled.
Mary Decker led all the way to set a meet record of 4:08.32 in the women's 1,500 meters. Italy's Gabriella Dorio stayed close to Decker until she suddenly pulled over and stopped with three laps remaining.
Don Paige had an easy time in the 1,000 meters, winning in 2:21.49 over Randy Wilson, who muscled his way on the inside to make a late challenge.
Dwight Stones took the high jump on fewer misses from Nat Page as both cleared 7-4 1/4. Leo Williams of Navy was third at 7-2 3/4.
Stephanie Hightower, as expected, won the women's 55-meter hurdles in 7.50 seconds, with Benita Fitzgerald of Woodbridge, Va., placing fourth.
Delisa Walton led a 1-2 Tennessee finish in the women's 800, beating Joetta Clark in 2:06.51. Stanford's Robin Campbell of Washington, D.C., finished third.
The first event on the new fiberglass-supported 160-meter track produced a world indoor record as Jim Heiring took the 1,500-meter walk in 5:27.0. That cut 1.7 seconds off the mark for the infrequently contested event, set by Finland's Reima Salonen in 1977. Heiling, 26, is a 1977 graduate of Wisconsin-Parkside.