It generally comes as a shock to casual followers of track and field to learn that Carl Lewis does not hold an individual world record.
This weekend, at the 110th U.S. Track and Field Championships, Lewis will try to alter that situation. As a spur, he can look back two years, to the night when he should have set a world mark for 200 meters at this same Indiana University Track and Field Stadium.
Lewis blew away a strong field with remarkable acceleration around the curve but, as he approached the finish line, he could not restrain himself from giving a victory wave. That premature celebration and his failure to run through the finish cost him, his time of 19.75 seconds falling short of Pietro Mennea's record of 19.72.
Lewis also won the 100 meters and long jump here in 1983. His long jump of 28-10 1/4 was the second-best performance ever, behind Bob Beamon's 29-2 1/2. Lewis will not compete in the long jump this time because of a strained right leg suffered in an unsuccessful challenge to Beamon's record at UCLA May 18, but he said the injury was minor and should have no effect on his sprinting.
Quarterfinals in both the 100 and 200 are scheduled Friday, with the 100 semifinals and final Saturday, the 200 semis and final Sunday.
Sam Graddy, the Olympic silver medalist, and Calvin Smith, the world record holder at 9.93, are expected to challenge Lewis in the 100. The 200 field will include Olympic silver medalist Kirk Baptiste, bronze medalist Thomas Jefferson and Smith.
Although Lewis commands the spotlight anywhere he competes following his successful pursuit of four Olympic gold medals, the presence of such stars as Joe Dial, Jim Howard, Mike Conley and Earl Jones guarantees interesting competition in other events.
Dial, who has improved the U.S. pole vault record to 19-2 1/2, is scheduled to meet Mike Tully, the Olympic silver medalist who is undefeated outdoors and cleared 19 feet last week.
Howard, who recently claimed the U.S. high jump mark at 7-8 1/2, faces Dennis Lewis and Dwight Stones, the men who shared the record at 7-8 before Howard topped it May 25. Stones, a six-time national champion, comes here from Boston, where his baby daughter underwent successful heart surgery earlier this week.
Conley set a U.S. record of 58-1 3/4 in the triple jump as he completed an NCAA double in the horizontal jumps and led Arkansas to the team title.
Jones, the NCAA champion and Olympic bronze medalist at 800 meters, is undefeated outdoors but faces strong opposition from Johnny Gray, who has the year's best time of 1:44.72, and James Robinson, who has seven victories and three thirds in the 800 here.
As in most track meets, the missing include some of the best, with the women's fields especially diluted by the absence of triple Olympic champion Valerie Brisco-Hooks, Mary Decker Slaney, Evelyn Ashford, Jackie Joyner, Alice Brown and Florence Griffith. Edwin Moses and Greg Foster are also absentees.