Billy Oslo, Mary Decker Tabb, Willie Banks and Evelyn Ashford set unofficial world indoor records at the Jack in the Box Invitational tonight, then accepted them with varying degrees of enthusiasm.
Decker Tabb, who seems to rewrite the book every week, ran the women's mile in 4:20.5, with the crowd screaming for her every stride. She had no competition except the clock as she bettered the mark of 4:21.47 she had a week ago in the Millrose Games.
Smiling brightly, she took a victory lap and accepted the Jean Nate award, which amounted to $9,000 for her sweep of the four-meet series and will be funneled to her through her club, Athletics West.
Banks was more demonstrative, as he produced the first 57-foot-plus indoor triple jump. After checking the tape, which read 57-1 1/2, Banks leaped high into the air, spread his arms to accept the crowd's ovation, then kissed the runway.
Keith Connor of Great Britain set the old mark of 56-9 1/2 while representing Southern Methodist in the 1981 NCAA Championships. Joao Oliveira of Brazil holds the outdoor mark of 58-8 1/2.
Ashford won the women's 60-yard dash in highly suspect circumstances, then quickly put her 6.48-second performance in perspective.
"I don't care if people don't pay any attention to the record, because indoors doesn't mean diddly," she said. "I want to run fast in the 100 meters. That's what counts to me."
The anticipated battle between Ashford and Jeanette Bolden produced more angry words than competition. Three runners, including Bolden, pulled up after what seemed an obvious false start, but Ashford and two others ran it out and, with no recall sounded, Ashford was officially awarded the victory and the record.
Not immediately, however. The abundance of protests first prompted meet officials to order a rerun, "because one of the runners' blocks slipped and she was at an unfair disadvantage."
On hearing that, the women decided to forget the whole thing, although Ashford said she was willing to run again.
"All I know is the gun went off and I ran," Ashford said. "I don't think I jumped the gun, although one of the coaches claimed I did."
"No comment, gentlemen," Bolden said, moments after she muttered, "I ain't never felt as bad in my whole life as I do right now." Bolden had set the old mark of 6.60 earlier this season.
Doug Padilla won the two-mile in 8:16.8, wiping out Steve Prefontaine's U.S. record of 8:20.4 that had stood since 1974. Emiel Puttemans holds the world indoor mark--which is unofficial, as are all world indoor records--of 8:13.2.
Don Paige stormed past Mark Belger at start of the gun lap and captured the 880-yard run in 1:48.6, with Randy Wilson edging Belger for second.
Dwayne Wycoff, the designated rabbit, ran the opening quarter in 54.0 and then stepped off the track, permitting Belger to take the lead. Paige was close behind, however, and, as usual, overpowered his former Villanova teammate on the final lap.
The women's high jump was a major disappointment, as Canada's Debbie Brill won with a mediocre leap of 6-2 3/4, clearing that height on her second attempt. Coleen Rienstra made it on her third try and finished second, as both failed at 6-4 3/4.
Brill swept the four-meet Jean Nate series, worth $9,000 to her through the Pacific Coast Club, as per amateur requirements. Brill had a world indoor best of 6-6 1/4 earlier this winter and Rienstra bettered it last week with 6-6 3/4. Neither did it here, however, and the approach, which resembled a jigsaw puzzle with a missing piece, was a key factor in the low-grade performances.
A less-than-potent 50-yard dash field seemed set up for Houston McTear, but the onetime indoor record-holder has deteriorated so much that he was overhauled by both Ron Brown of Arizona State and Darwin Cook of Southern California. The electronic timer malfunctioned worse than McTear, so Brown was given a hand-timed 5.2.
A half-hour later, the 60 provided an instant replay. McTear, out of the blocks first once again, once more wound up third behind Brown, 6.13, and Cook, 6.15.
Larry Myricks, the most consistent long jumper of the indoor season, had all five of his fair jumps better than 26-4 as he won at 26-7 3/4. With Carl Lewis absent, this was a rare opportunity for Myricks to win, as well as be consistent.