Almost two months after Mikhail Gorbachev's much-celebrated 15-yard Connecticut Avenue stroll, less fanfare will greet Vladimir Krylov's 200-meter dash.
Krylov is one of seven Soviet Union track team members who arrived at Dulles International Airport yesterday to compete in three indoor meets in the United States over the next two weeks. Saturday night, the Soviets will be at the Meadowlands for the Vitalis/U.S. Olympic Invitational.
The team will compete Sunday in the Mobil 1 invitational at George Mason University. Then, it's north again to New York's Madison Square Garden for the 100th anniversary of the USA/Mobil Indoor Championships, Feb. 26.
Krylov was ranked seventh in the world last year in the 200 meters. He placed fifth in the world championships with a career-best 20.23.
One of the other top Soviet performers is high jumper Igor Paklin. He set a world record in 1985 with a 7-foot 10 3/4-inch jump that has since been broken by Sweden's Patrik Sjoberg (7-11 1/4). Paklin has been ranked in the top three for the last three years. He won the indoor title last year (7-9 3/4) and tied for the silver medal in the world championships (7-9 3/4).
The meets are tuneups for the Summer Olympics in Seoul, but nothing exceptional is going into Paklin's training. The only special training element Paklin uses was left behind in Central Asia -- the climate. "My whole training is not uncommon to the others," he said through an interpeter. "But the main thing is the climate . . . I'm starting slowly and carefully. I'm not speeding any training. I'm taking it step by step."
Paklin has no fixed height as a goal. "I need only to win. I don't mention much about height . . . It is not height, but work," he said.
Olga Bryzgina holds the Soviet women's record for 400 meters (48.27) and has been ranked second in the world for the past three years. East German Petra Muller was ahead of Bryzgina last year. Marita Koch, also of East Germany, was first in 1985 and 1986, and finished ahead of Bryzgina in the 1985 World Cup and the 1986 European championships.
"The athletes we have brought here are among the best," said delegation leader Nikolai Politiko. "The competition with the strong Americans will be good practice for the Olympics . . . I am sure we will have good results."
Pole vaulter Rodion Gataullin is another strong performer, having cleared 19 feet three times in 1987. He also managed that feat six times in 1986, and cleared 19-2 three times the same year.
For now, he needs to clear baggage checks through the airport before he can concentrate on the meet. His poles were too big to fit on the 737 short-hopper the team took from Dulles to New York, so they will be flown on a bigger plane out of Dulles, to Chicago, then to the team's hotel in New York sometime today.
Also flying with the track team was a nine-member cross-country ski team from Murmansk, about 1,200 miles north of Moscow. The members will stay with families in Reston before leaving for the Birkebeiner Race, a 34-mile cross-country race in Heyward, Wis., Feb. 20. The Birkebeiner is the cross-country ski equivalent of the New York Marathon, boasting 6,000 entrants from 40 countries. This will be the first appearance by the Soviets.