INDIANAPOLIS, AUG. 12 -- A leisurely day quickened late tonight when six track and field records were set at the Pan American Games. Joaquim Cruz's gold medal in the men's 1,500 meters was a slow one in coming, but little else was, including Judi Brown-King's U.S. record in the women's 400-meter hurdles.
Among other things, a pair of Cubans set Pan Am records in the high jump and 400-meter dash, and a pair of Mexicans provided diversion with a disqualification controversy in, of all things, the women's 10,000-meter walk.
Maria Colin won the gold medal in the 10,000-meter walk after teammate Graciela Mendoza was disqualified. Mendoza cried nepotism because of the presence of Colin's father among the judges.
Cuba's Javier Sotomayor established a Pan Am mark, 7 feet 7 1/4 inches, in the high jump on his way to the gold medal, and compatriot Ana Quirot set a meet record in her qualifying heat of the women's 400-meter dash, 50.12 seconds.
Brown-King's hurdles time of 54.23 broke the Pan Am record of 56.03 she set in Caracas in 1983 and the national record of 54.38 she set in Rome in 1985.
In the men's 400-meter hurdles, Graham Winthrop of Jamaica set a Pan Am record, 48.49.
In the 3,000-meter steeplechase, Adauto Domingues of Brazil navigated the course in 8:23.26 to defeat U.S. contestants Henry Marsh (8:23.77) and Brian Abshire (8:27.30). The record was 8:38.2 by Chris McHubbins (U.S.) in 1983.
In the men's 10,000, U.S. runner Bruce Bickford clocked 28:20.37 and broke Frank Shorter's 1971 Pan Am record of 28:50.08.
There were other surprises. In the shot put, Ramona Pagel (60-10 3/4) became the first U.S. woman to win a gold medal since 1971.
Brown-King's record was remarkable considering she almost didn't qualify for the Games. At the qualifying TAC meet this spring, she fell at the start of her race and almost didn't get up. However, a passionate fan began screaming for her to get to her feet. Brown-King concentrated on the voice, and went on to qualify.
"Please tell that fan to send his address so I can send a surprise," Brown-King said.
Brazil's Cruz, the 1984 Olympic 800-meter gold medalist trying to come back from injuries and ailments that sidelined him most of the last two years, finally won another gold with a 1,500 time of 3:47.34, a full 18 seconds behind the world record. Linda Shesky of the United States took the gold in the women's 1,500, with a kick on the backstretch, in 4:07.84.
Cruz overtook U.S. runners Jim Spivey and Steve Scott in just the final 25 meters of an otherwise sluggish race. Spivey took the silver medal in 3:47.46, U.S. mile record holder Scott the bronze in 3:47.76.
Cruz began his move as he came around the final turn and a once-commanding lead for Spivey disappeared quickly. He pulled past first Scott and then the leader with just paces to go to the finish line.
"If it had gone even slower, no problem," Cruz said. "Just before the bell I saw Steve Scott make his move, I tried to make my move, someone else made his move, and I bumped him."
Said Scott: "I just took off too hard."
Spivey still thought he had it won. "I didn't think he could catch me, but I heard the crowd," he said. "I thought I could hold him off, but I couldn't get that extra gear, and he kept going right on by me."
Sotomayor's leap of 7-7 1/4 made obsolete countryman Franciso Centelles' Pan Am mark of 7-6, set in Caracas in 1983. It also broke the Indiana University Track Stadium record of 7-6 1/2 by Dwight Stones (1983) and Brian Stanton (1985).
In her qualifying heat for Thursday's 400-meter final, Cuba's Quirot bettered the Pan Am and stadium record with her 50.12.
Mariano Delis of Cuba won the gold medal in discus as expected, with a throw of 220 feet 3 inches.
The Mexican-versus-Mexican tempest arose after Mendoza received her third disqualification card for not maintaining a walk at the 80-meter mark of the 6.2-mile race at Indianapolis University Track Stadium, and thus lost. Disqualification findings from judges representing three countries are required to effect a change in placings. The second judge to disqualify Mendoza was Pablo Colin, the winner's father and coach.
"They stole the medal from me," Mendoza said through an interpreter. "It is his daughter. He wants her to win always."
However, the third and decisive disqualification card came from Ruben Aguilera of Argentina, the head judge for the event as designated by the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the worldwide governing body for track and field.
"The disqualification of Graciela Mendoza is simply the application of Rule 1919 . . . ," Aguilera said. "Three different judges handed in disqualification cards on Mendoza. It is the duty of the chief judge to let her know she was disqualified, so I informed her in the final 100 meters of the race."
While Pablo Colin could not be reached for comment, his daughter pointed out that he was invited to be a judge by the track federation. She said her father once before had disqualified Mendoza in a race in Mexico. She said she was not surprised by Mendoza's accusations.
"He doesn't like to be a judge when I'm competing," Colin said. "He didn't want to be here. He was invited to come by the organizing committee. When you are invited you can't refuse. We cannot do anything about it."
Colin, in tears, added, "He's not the only one who can disqualify her. Graciela seemed like she wasn't keeping her feet on the ground. The final one to disqualify was Mr. Aguilera, not my dad."
Walking competition is usually judged by a panel of six. However, two judges, one from Canada and one from Cuba, did not show up. International rules allow a race to be run with four judges. In addition to Aguilera and Colin, the panel included U.S. judges Bob Hickey and Frank Alongi.
The disqualification resulted in a medal for the United States, as Ann Peel of Canada was moved from third to second and received a silver medal. Maryanne Torrellas of Clinton, Conn., was advanced to third and received the bronze.
The top four finishers were under the stadium record 48:38.16 that Torrellas set in a 1985 meet. Colin's time was 47:17.15.
Mendoza broke from the pack and took the lead with about 250 meters left, but received the third warning flag shortly thereafter. In the meantime, Peel had also received two disqualification warnings because of the fast pace, and had to slow down.
A press attache' for the Mexican delegation, Jose Luis Sanchez, said there was no concern among officials over Colin's presence among judges of the race.
Another family affair ended on a happier note. U.S. team handball star Jim Buehning of Short Hills, N.J., will be suspended only for three games, rather than the duration of the competition, a three-man jury ruled late Tuesday night.
Buehning was initially suspended for the entire Games when he was ejected from a U.S.-Canada contest Sunday after slapping an opponent on the head. Buehning is the younger brother of former touring tennis pro Fritz Buehning. His mother, Renate, is president of the U.S. women's handball federation, and his father, Peter, coached the 1972 Olympic team.
While Buehning will miss two more games (he already has missed one, a 21-12 victory over Argentina) he would be available for the gold medal game should the United States get there. As a result of the controversy, CBS has decided to televise Sunday's final match if the United States plays for the gold.
Keith Robinson of the United States was in second place through the first five events of the men's decathlon, trailing Ecuador's Fidel Solorzano.
Solorzano took the lead by placing first in the long jump with a leap of 24-4 and first in the high jump, 6-8.
The U.S. women's handball team defeated Cuba, 33-10.
In women's softball, Ella Vilche of Fresno, Calif., threw a no-hitter and struck out 15 of 22 batters in a 6-0 U.S. victory over Venezuela.
In skeet shooting, Olympic and national champion Matt Dryke of Sequim, Wash. won a third Pan Am gold medal by edging out by one point teammate Al Mullins of Columbus, Ga. Brian Gabriel of Canada won the bronze.
Cuba swept the middle heavyweight division, becoming the first nation in Pan Am Games history to win gold medals in every weightlifting class it entered. The 10-member Cuban team participated in seven weight classes, winning the maximum 30 medals, with 25 golds.
The United States dominated yachting, and Kathy Steele of Annapolis led the way in women's sailboard.
Led by national champion Scott Johnson, the United States won the compulsory team competition in men's gymnastics, edging Cuba, 289.90 to 288.05.
Johnson, of Lincoln, Neb., scored a 9.90 on parallel bars and vault, and led the individual standings, 58.75 to 58.25 over Casimiro Suarez of Cuba.
Equestrian Emily MacGowan was one jump away from earning an individual gold medal, but blew it when a slight misjudgment resulted in her horse, Jet Set, knocking down the rail. MacGowan, of Coopersburg, Pa., couldn't be overly upset, however, because that only allowed her husband, Mike, to claim the gold medal.
"I know I said yesterday that I wouldn't be disappointed if Mike won," she said laughing, "but I was very disappointed."