Evelyn Ashford and Calvin Smith assumed the mantels of fastest humans today, smashing the world records for 100 meters within 15 minutes of each other on the Air Force Academy track.
First Ashford covered the distance in 10.79 seconds, to erase the mark of 10.81 established by East German Marlies Goehr on June 8 in East Berlin.
Ashford took a victory lap, waved to the overflow crowd of 15,500 and then lay on her back in the middle of the track and stared at the sky.
"I was stunned; maybe I should have jumped up and screamed, but I didn't," Ashford said.
No sooner had she left the track to accept further congratulations than Smith settled in the blocks for the men's 100. He got off to a good start and sped across the finish in 9.93 seconds, finally wiping out the oldest record in track and field, Jimmy Hines' 9.95 at Mexico City on Oct. 14, 1968.
"When Ashford ran her world record, I felt that if everything went well, I had a chance for a record, too," Smith said. "Coming here and running at altitude, I knew if I straightened out some of my problems, I could do it."
The races were run at 7,000 feet and the thin air obviously helped. So did following winds, with Ashford pushed at 1.25 miles per hour and Smith at 3.08 mph. Anything under 4.473 mph is allowable for record purposes.
Smith, 22, an Alabama senior from Bolton, Miss., ran a wind-aided 100 in 9.91 a year ago at Karl Marx- Stadt, East Germany. Smith defeated Carl Lewis twice in 1982 and was ranked second in the world to Lewis. However, he suffered through a difficult 1983 season, finishing second to teammate Emmit King in the NCAA and third behind Lewis and King in the U.S. Championships.
"The last couple of races I was behind and now the world record puts me back on track," Smith said. "My start was better than usual, I started accelerating around 60 meters and I pulled away from the rest of the guys.
"I've been working on improving my race and one of the big things has been pumping harder near the finish, with not so wide a motion. That's what I did and I ran through the finish hard."
Smith could not help lqughing, as he crossed the line, because the public-address announcer stated that "Calvin Smith has pulled." Actually going down with a hamstring pull was Al Miller.
Smith's previous legal personal best was 10.05, in 1982. He had not run faster than 10.11 this year.
Asked what he would tell Lewis, who came within a tick of Hines with a 9.96 earlier this year, the 5-9, 145- pound Smith said, "I'm not going to tell him anything. It just depends on the day--any of us could have done it--Carl, Emmit King or me."
Ashford, 26, came close to taking part in two world records in one day. In the first running event of the day, she anchored the U.S. 4x100 relay team to victory over four regional quartets in 41.61, one-hundredth of a second off the world mark set by East Germany in the 1980 Olympics.
"That didn't disappoint me, it encouraged me," said Ashford, a native of Shreveport, La., who graduated from Cal State-Los Angeles. "My main goal here was to get with the other girls (Alice Brown, Diane Williams and Chandra Cheeseborough) in the relay and afterward we talked about a few things we need to work on. When we work a little bit on the zones, there's no telling how fast we'll go."
There is no telling how fast the 100 will be at the World Championships in Helsinki, when Ashford again faces Goehr, who beat her in Los Angeles eight days ago.
"After losing to Goehr last week, I wanted to come here and get my confidence back," Ashford said. "She got me last week and now I've given her something to think about."
Ashford's fastest previous time of 10.90 was turned in 10 miles away, on the Olympic Training Center track in Colorado Springs, in 1981.
"I have good memories of Colorado Springs and the altitude probably does help," Ashford said. "But it's a world record. I finally got perfect conditions-- an aiding wind, a pretty day, nice mountains, nice people.
"I don't know what kind of a start I got, but it must have been good. I wasn't awake until the last 20 meters and then I was just thinking about getting across the line. I wasn't aware I put forth that much effort. That must have been why I ran so well. I wasn't thinking about it."
Ashford, 5-5 and 115 pounds, had been troubled in the past by losing concentration as she approached the finish and she said, "I ran through much better in both races today because there was no tape. The tape tends to make you back off a little bit."
Some other remarkable performances were lost in the 100-meter shuffle. For one, Edwin Moses increased his 400-meter hurdles winning streak to 77 with a runaway victory in 47.98.
David McFadgen of Virginia State won the triple jump in a wind-aided 56-53/4; Jeff Buckingham took the pole vault at 18-71/4; the South team of Laron Brown, Calvin Brooks, James Rolle and Walter McCoy won the 4x400-meter relay in 2:59.91, and the West quartet of LaNoris Marshall, Bernard Jackson, Ken Robinson and Miller took the 4x100 in 38.55.
Rod Ewaliko, the U.S. javelin champion, hit 267-1 on his last throw to edge Navy's Perry Puccetti, who hit 260-7.