INDIANAPOLIS, AUG. 10 -- The University of Pittsburgh's Lee McRae tonight became the first United States sprinter in 28 years to win a Pan American Games gold medal in the 100-meter dash, finishing in 10.26 seconds -- one-hundredth of a second ahead of Jamaica's Raymond Stewart.
The United States dominated the night's other glamour events, at Indiana University Track Stadium, with Gail Devers and Diane Williams finishing one-two in the women's 100-meter final and Michael Conley and Willie Banks winning first and second, respectively, in the triple jump.
Recent performances by Conley had led to widespread expectation that he and Banks might approach Banks' world record here tonight. But Banks jumped below average. His best mark was 55 feet 4 1/4 inches. Conley's best jump was his first -- 56-9 1/2.
Asked if it was unrealistic to expect a record-setting performance, Banks said, "No. That was me, the reason it didn't come off. We'd have been much more exciting if I had lived up to my ability. There was a lack of emotion in me. Everybody was expecting me to set the tone, to drive Conley. But everybody relaxed. Even Conley relaxed."
Banks also has had some foot problems and has not trained much the past several weeks.
In other track and field events tonight, United States hammer thrower Jud Logan set a Pan Am record, 253 feet 5 inches.
But the Americans were no match for the Cubans in the women's discus. Marzita Marten, the world record holder, set a Pan Am record with a throw of 215 feet 2 inches. Compatriot Hilda Ramos took the silver at 201-3. Connie Price of the United States took the bronze.
McRae got off to an incredibly fast start in the men's 100 meters and held off Stewart. McRae, already the fastest in the world at 55 meters, said he feels ready to challenge Ben Johnson and Carl Lewis for supremacy at 100 meters in Rome at the world championships.
McRae and Stewart might have challenged the world record of 9.93 seconds had it not been for the strong wind. McRae also thought the race might have been better if he and Stewart been lined up side by side. Instead, McRae was in lane eight, Stewart in lane three.
Missing from the race was U.S. champion Mark Witherspoon. Witherspoon suffered a nerve injury in his right leg and a strained right wrist in the semifinals, falling at the finish line while finishing second to Stewart in 9.91.
Devers, with her victory in the women's 100, continues to improve as she focuses on one event -- as opposed to trying to excel in six events as she has at UCLA.
While some top female track stars from the U.S. have played down the importance of the Pan American Games, Devers, who finished in 11.14, said, "My goal for this summer was to win the Pan Ams. This meet has proven to me that I can do it. To me, this is a big meet."