Carl Lewis can't win for winning. The quadruple Olympic gold medalist captured the long jump by almost two feet at the Millrose Games tonight and many in the capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden responded like those in the Los Angeles Coliseum -- with boos.
Lewis reached 27 feet 10 3/4 inches, a distance only he has surpassed indoors, and he had two other attempts over 27-8. But when he passed his last two tries because of a twinge in his right leg, the fans gave him the business.
"My right leg felt a little funny and I wasn't taking any chances," he said. "I don't think it amounts to anything. It shouldn't affect me next week, when I'm scheduled to run in Dallas. I thought I jumped well. I did everything I wanted to do.
"I didn't notice the crowd at all. I don't listen to it any more. I started tuning out the negative things long before L.A. I'm just concerned with positive things right now."
A year ago, when he trailed Larry Myricks until his final attempt, Lewis responded with a world indoor best of 28-10 1/4. Tonight Myricks was a distant fourth at 25-9 1/4 and runner-up Jason Grimes provided no challenge either, at 25-11 1/2.
Nobody altered the world best list in the 78th Millrose Games, but, as usual, the competition was exciting.
Jimmy Howard set an American indoor record of 7-8 in the high jump, matching Dwight Stones' outdoor U.S. mark. Both Howard and runner-up Patrik Sjoberg of Sweden, who cleared 7-7, had good tries at 7-9 3/4, which would have been a world indoor best.
Sammy Koskei, controversially dropped from Kenya's Olympic team last summer, ran away from a strong 1,000-meter field in 2:18.62, fastest time ever on a 160-yard track. He was only four-hundredths off Sebastian Coe's indoor best on a 200-meter oval in Oslo two years ago.
It was the third straight Millrose victory for Koskei, who ran the second-best 800 meters of 1984 and dreamed of setting a world record in the mile.
Eamonn Coghlan, the Irishman who was forced into Olympic television announcing duty by an injury, competed in the Wanamaker Mile for the sixth time and won it for the sixth time, in 3:53.82. Strung out behind him were Ray Flynn, John Walker, Sydney Maree and Steve Scott.
Coghlan ran the final quarter in 55.1 as he took the lead with 250 yards to go and won without difficulty.
Mary Slaney, nee Decker, heard some boos when introduced, but they were quickly overwhelmed by cheers. Then she destroyed a good mile field in 4:22.01, third fastest ever indoors, although she said a narrow escape from a mugger last Saturday had affected her training.
"It was the most frightening experience of my life," she said. "I didn't really want to come here this week, because I knew I'd be asked a lot of questions about it. It's one of those things you say will never happen to you, and then it does."
There were boos for the result of the women's 400 meters, but they were not directed at the athletes. Diane Dixon, in decisively beating Olympic heroine Valerie Brisco-Hooks, appeared to break her own American indoor record of 53.17. But the automatic timing failed, so she was assigned a meaningless, hand-timed 52.9.
At age 36, Fred Sowerby gave it all he had in trying to win the Mel Sheppard 600 a fourth time. He lost by inches to Mark Rowe, who fell after diving for the finish and needed treatment. Paul was timed in 1:10.94, Sowerby 1:10.97.
Greg Foster was looking back at Olympic gold medalist Roger Kingdom as he broke the tape to win the 60-yard high hurdles.
Foster, the world champion who was nipped by Kingdom in the Olympic final, was timed in 6.97 seconds. Kingdom outleaned Henry Andrade for second place in 7.07.
"I was a lot more worried about my ankle than I was about Roger Kingdom," Foster said. "My ankle was hurting; I was just happy to win."
Another Olympic champion went down to defeat in the women's hurdles, as Benita Fitzgerald Brown of Dale City, Va., finished fourth in a race won by Stephanie Hightower in 7.51 seconds.
Foreign athletes scored two stunning upsets in the sprints. The men's winner was Albert Lawrence, a Jamaican who attends Abilene Christian. Taking the women's 60-yard event was Jennifer Inniss of Guyana.
Lawrence was timed in an excellent 6.10 as he left in his wake standouts Emmit King, Ben Johnson, Harvey Glance, Sam Graddy and Kirk Baptiste. Calvin Smith, the world record holder at 100 meters, did not survive the semifinals.
Inniss outleaned Angela Thacker as co-favorites Chandra Cheeseborough and Alice Brown, both Olympic relay gold medalists, finished 3-4. Inniss was a provisional starter, added when Angella Taylor of Canada withdrew.
Other winners included Billy Olson, 18-4 1/2 in the pole vault; Michael Paul of Trinidad, 47.63 in the 400 meters, and Doug Padilla, 13:38.76 in the 5,000 meters.
Navy scored two sparkling relay victories. The Midshipmen took their mile section by a wide margin in 3:19.31 as Greg Blanchard (52.0), Derrick Dixon (49.4), Austin Coleman (48.3) and Michael Greene (49.6) led all the way.
In the two-mile relay, Navy first had to argue its way into a faster section. Then it came from dead last halfway through the first leg to win in 7:40.48, thanks largely to a 1:52.5 third leg by Lloyd Wright. The other splits were 2:00.0 by Ron Harris, 1:54.6 by Lance Davidson and 1:53.3 by Jeff Wolstenholme. Southern Methodist, coached by George Mason expatriate Ralph White, did the fastest mile, 3:14.35. The Atlantic Coast Club, anchored by Howard graduate Oliver Bridges, won the club section in 3:15.10. Arizona State won the top two-mile relay in 7:31.98.