Wind fore and aft presented no problem for Larry Myricks today, as he won the long jump and 200-meter dash at the National Sports Festival.
Myricks, who has been in Carl Lewis' shadow the past two years, leaped 28 feet 4 1/4 inches, with an aiding wind of 7 miles per hour, for the seventh-best all-conditions long jump in history. Only Bob Beamon and Lewis (five times) have jumped farther, although the wind was more than the 4.473 mph allowed for record purposes.
After taking only four of the prescribed six jumps, Myricks abandoned that event and shifted to the track. He outleaned Kirk Baptiste in the 200 as he was clocked in 20.41, outstanding time considering the head wind of almost 10 mph.
"I'm happiest about the long jump, because it was a long time coming," Myricks said. "I've done a lot of work this year and it's starting to pay off. I don't care about altitude or wind, 28 is 28 to me.
"About a week ago, I lengthened my run, because it was too short and I was trying to rush things before takeoff. I also worked on my landing, because I had a tendency to bail out in the pit."
As for Lewis' absence today, Myricks said, "I might have had a little more adrenaline if he was here, but I've gotten used to Carl and all the attention he gets. I'm just trying to get myself together, to get my head right and get in shape physically. I think I'll jump very well this summer."
Lori McCauley of Rutgers set an American record of 55.69 seconds in the women's 400-meter hurdles; Michael Carter took the shot put at 69-1 1/2, his best effort of the year, and Jim Howard won the high jump at 7-6 1/2 as festival track competition moved into high gear before an overflow crowd of 12,000.
McCauley was running the race for the second time, after finishing far behind on Friday, when confusion at the start resulted in some runners covering a shorter distance than others. There was no doubt that McCauley ran the full 400 meters today, since she was in the inside lane.
"Before I found out yesterday's race was mixed up, I was ready to go home and quit," McCauley said. "I couldn't believe it. By the first hurdle, everybody was gone. I ran my heart out and only caught three runners."
Carter threw only 63-5 two weeks ago and failed to qualify for the final of the U.S. Championships, but he straightened out everything today. Carter, who has passed up his final year of football eligibility at Southern Methodist to concentrate on the shot put, edged Kevin Akins, who managed 68-10 3/4.
"This was my best throw of the year and I feel like things are starting to come around for me," said Carter, whose late addition to the festival field forced out Ian Pyka, formerly of Maryland. "My technique was off at Indy, where my last throw went out of the sector, or I would have qualified."
Leo Williams of Navy led the high jump field through 7-5 1/4 without a miss, but he finished third as Howard cleared 7-6 1/2 on his second attempt and James Barrineau, a 1976 Olympian, topped it on his third try for a personal best.
"I gave it my best shot and it wasn't enough," Williams said. "But it'll come and I hope it comes in places like Edmonton (World University Games) and Helsinki (World Championships)."
James Rolle, 19, won the 400 meters in a swift 44.73 as pace-setter Cliff Wiley faded to sixth.
In other men's events, Willie Gault reversed the finish at the NCAA 110 hurdles by edging Roger Kingdom by one-hundredth of a second, in 13.47; James Robinson won the 800 meters in 1:48.80, and Mike Ramos took the decathlon with 7,838 points.
Marlene Harmon was first in five events in the heptathlon and won with 6,266 points, a personal best that shattered the festival record by 448 points. Myrtle Chester of Tennessee and Laurel, Md., was second with 5,659.