Carl Lewis leaped 27 feet 10 inches tonight, a feat for anyone else but a personal disappointment, to complete his second straight long jump-sprint double in the TAC/USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.
More than two hours earlier, Lewis accelerated past quick-starting Calvin Smith at the 60-meter mark and won the 100 meters in 10.11 seconds. That also was a bit of a letdown, since Lewis twice has run the 100 in 10 flat and there was hope of a similar effort tonight.
Lewis turned to the stands and waved as he crossed the finish line, a bit of a hot-dog act that cost him a couple odd hundredths of a second.
"I was trying to get this crowd rolling," Lewis explained later. "They were too respectable. I was pleased with my running, because I'm starting real well, and I guess I got so pleased at my running I didn't think enough about my jumping."
Lewis, after an opening foul, put together four straight 27-plus jumps, but the crowd reacted only by departing when the running events ended. The only man over 27 in the event, Lewis passed his final attempt, by which time most of the 4,000 fans were long gone.
"I'm tired," Lewis explained. "I ran two hundreds tonight and jumped into a steady headwind. This is the only time all year I'll do the open hundred and the long jump in the same meet."
Lewis had said a week ago that he planned to compete in the event only four more times this year and did not intend to go under 28 feet. He set the American record of 28-3 1/2 in last year's TAC/USA meet.
Stephanie Hightower, fast out of the blocks despite a television-inspired delay and a series of false starts, equalled Deby LaPlante's American record of 12.86 in winning the 100-meter hurdles against a slight headwind.
"I wish it could have been 12.85, but I finally got down to where I know I can do it," Hightower said. "Hopefully, I'll get down to 12.66 in Europe. When I get with the Europeans, they'll be up there with me and that will help me."
Local favorite Benita Fitzgerald, Tennessee junior from Woodbridge, Va., fell behind at the start and tried in vain to play catch-up, placing second in 13.01.
"My biggest problem is maintaining my concentration and when there are delays like there were tonight, it takes a little edge that I need away from me," Fitzgerald said.
The crowd had a chance to cheer a victorious favorite in the next event, when Tennessee football hero Willie Gault captured the 110-meter high hurdles in 13.54.
Evelyn Ashford, another of the fans' favorites, carried an abbreviated red bodysuit across the finish line to a meet record of 10.96 in the 100 meters, trimming one-hundredth of a second off her 1979 mark. Although complaining about the spongy track, Ashford was running her best time at low altitude. Ashford set the American record of 10.90 last year at Colorado Springs.
Merlene Ottey, the NCAA champion from Nebraska and Jamaica, set a British Commonwealth mark of 11.06 in finishing second.
Bob Roggy, competing despite a strained muscle in his right thigh, aggravated during a filmed stunt throw off a 150-foot cliff into the Pacific Ocean, won the javelin at 289-9. That erased the second-oldest TAC/USA meet standard, Mark Murro's 284-3 of 1969. Only Jim Hines' 10.03 for 100 meters in 1968 has been on the books longer.
Kevin Akins of Ohio State, third in the NCAA meet, hit an outdoor best of 69-9 1/2 to win the shot put. Dean Crouser of Oregon, the NCAA champ, was second at 69-1 1/2 and Dave Laut, the defending champion, placed third at 68-8.
Akins offered an unusual explanation for his sudden improvement: "I found out two weeks ago that the shot I had been using for the whole outdoor season weighed 17 pounds. That really flipped me out."
The first of today's 11 finals produced a meet record, with Ria Stalman of the Netherlands winning the women's discus at 203-10, adding more than 10 feet to the standard she established in Friday's trials.
Debbie Brill of Canada tied a meet record by winning the women's high jump at 6-4 3/4 Matt Centrowitz won his fourth straight 5,000-meter title in 13:31.96 and the Naturite Track Club took the women's 1,600-meter relay in 3:28.68.
Men's discus qualifying began the day's lengthy schedule at 10 a.m. and Al Oerter, 45, advanced to Sunday's final with a throw of 197-6. Cofavorites Mac Wilkins, 213-9, and Cuban Luis Delis, 211-0, moved on without difficulty.
Navy's Leo Williams hit the bar going up and coming down on his third and final high-jump qualifying effort at 7-3, then kneeled in thanks as it stayed up and made him the 14th man in Sunday's final. Del Davis of UCLA, who matched the American record of 7-7 1/4 two weeks ago, was not so lucky, missing at the opening height of 7-1 3/4.
The reason for the problems was a diabolical approach, beginning on grass and crossing a carpet spread over an area of dirt before reaching the Tartan apron.
"The carpet isn't even and it moves when you hit it," said Williams, who peeled it back after slipping the first time. "I'd rather go grass to dirt to Tartan. I had a bad problem on my third step because of it and I'm just glad to be over."
James Robinson cruised home first in his 800-meter semifinal in 1:47.92. Brian McNelis of Georgetown and Sandy Chapman, the Coolidge High graduate attending Mt. San Antonio (Calif.) Junior College, both clocked 1:48.37 and barely missed berths in Sunday's final.
Cliff Wiley, the defending champion from Baltimore, moved into the 400-meter final with an excellent 45.51, despite sitting on the track for 10 minutes while television commentators filmed their opening segment for the taped account of the meet on June 27.
The D.C. International quartet of Sherri Funn, Roberta Belle, Alice Jackson and Shonel Ferguson gained Sunday's final of the 400-meter relay in 45.03.
Jackson later lowered her lifetime best for 400 meters to 52.41 in qualifying for Sunday's final.