Remembering what happened to him at the Summer Olympics, Greg Foster had no intention of apologizing to anybody for what occurred tonight at Madison Square Garden.
Foster turned in a personal-best time of 6.85 seconds to win the 60-yard hurdles in the USA/Mobil Indoor Track and Field Championships. But his victory -- also a meet record -- was not without controversy.
The race was protested, not solely because of Foster's extremely fast start -- some said he rolled into it -- but also because of what was thought to be a "jump" by Henry Andrade. But after 20 minutes the protest was denied and Foster's time stood, much to the displeasure of Olympic gold medalist Roger Kingdom and Tonie Campbell, who apparently made the protest.
"As far as I know, Roger and Tonie protested," Foster said. "I gave away a gold medal in Los Angeles by hesitating (after what he thought was his own false start), so I'm taking everything they give me."
Foster's time was not a world best, but four world-best times were posted here in other events and several other performances barely missed.
Olympic gold medalist Valerie Brisco-Hooks recorded a world best in the afternoon session, then broke it in the final tonight by running 220 yards in 22.95 seconds, easily beating Florence Griffith. As a result, Brisco-Hooks became the 1985 overall women's Grand Prix winner.
Brisco-Hooks, obviously the favorite among the crowd of 14,358, credited the fans and men's distance runner Eamonn Coghlan with helping her final performance.
"The crowd really helped me. They made me move on that second curve," she said. "And Eamonn told me yesterday to lean into the curve as if I was going to fall. I usually struggle with curves, so I leaned on the curve and the win was my result."
Coghlan was not as successful. His 15-meet, four-year indoor winning streak ended when Doug Padilla won the three-mile in 12:57.15.
One of Brisco-Hooks' records did fall to Diane Dixon, who recorded a world best in the 440-yard dash in her morning heat, then bettered it with a time of 52.20 in the finals.
Dixon also received her Olympic gold medal tonight for being an alternate on the U.S. 1,600-meter relay team.
"Setting two world records and getting a gold medal in the same day; I don't think I could ask for more," Dixon said. "It seemed so real. He announced it in two languages, just like they did in Los Angeles, and they played the national anthem. I tried not to get too sentimental, but better late than never."
Alice Brown did not set a world best; she missed breaking Evelyn Ashford's mark in the 60-yard dash by two-hundredths of a second and had to settle for a final time of 6.54 seconds. And Mike Conley, an Olympic silver medalist, came a quarter-inch from breaking Willie Banks' triple jump best.
Conley's jump of 57-1 was just short of Banks' 57-1 1/2 set in San Diego in 1982. It did better the meet record of 55-11 set by Keith Connor of Southern Methodist University in 1982.
Conley later added the long jump title, going 26-11 3/4, his best ever indoors by nearly 11 inches. He is the meet's first athlete to win both jumps since 1977, when Tommy Haynes did it.
Antonio McKay of Georgia Tech won the men's 440 in 47.90, well off Sunder Nix's world best. But McKay couldn't figure out how he won at all. Looking at a replay on a television monitor he said, "How in the world did I win this race? I nearly stopped three times and twice I got boxed in."
Albert Lawrence, a Jamaican Olympian, edged defending champion Emmit King in the men's 60-yard dash. Both were timed in 6.16, with Lawrence just winning at the finish.
Candy Young won the women's 60-yard hurdles in 7.57 seconds. Stephanie Hightower did not compete because of a groin injury.
Carol Lewis matched her brother Carl's accomplishment of winning three straight national indoor long jump titles, taking the women's event at 21 feet 7 1/2 inches, a half-inch short of the meet record she set last year.
The major excitement came early in the evening, and the Garden started buzzing when the entrants came out for the men's 60 hurdles.
Foster has maintained that the only reason he didn't beat Kingdon for the gold medal in Los Angeles was because he hesitated after he thought he'd had a false start.
Foster got off to an incredible start this time; so incredible, in fact, that only Andrade appeared to be running through the race. At the end, all the runners except Foster questioned the starter and recall starter about the start, including Campbell, who did not even leave the blocks.
The referee upheld the start as legal, and Foster had broken 6.9, as he had hoped. Kingdom and Campbell refused to comment later.
"At first, it was said that I had the false start, but they changed it to Andrade," Foster said. "I thought I was the first one out of the blocks." Foster said he might have been "a little close to the gun and I almost hesitated. But that's how I gave away a gold medal this summer."
Foster then addressed the issue of his supposed rivalry with Kingdom. "How can anybody call it a rivalry when I've beaten him 21 times to one? L.A.-Boston (in the NBA) is a rivalry. This is no rivalry; I'm the best in the world. In order for Roger to beat me, I'll have to slow down and we saw tonight that isn't going to happen.
"This shows me I'm not over the hill at 26. It's still there. This is my first time going over a hurdle in three weeks," Foster said, explaining that he had been in bed nearly a week with flu. "I wish I did have another race tonight."