NORWALK, CALIF., JUNE 16 -- Jackie Joyner-Kersee has this alter ego. She calls it her husband, Bob Kersee. He doubles as her coach and triples as her PR agent.

She was in need of both today at the Mobil Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Cerritos College. First, Bob guided her through the long jump competition. She listened and jumped 23 feet 2 3/4 inches, second best in the world for a woman this year, best by an American this year and second best ever by an American.

And did we mention she was jumping into a wind of 2.6 meters per second? Were that wind at her back, the jump wouldn't have been any sort of record. Anything over 2.0 meters per second is considered wind-aided.

Inessa Kravets of the Soviet Union is the only woman long jumper to go farther than Joyner-Kersee this year, at 23-3 1/2. Joyner-Kersee owns the best all-time U.S. mark, 24-5 1/2.

After today's long jump competition and about two hours before she put the shot, Joyner-Kersee was led to the interview tent to answer the media's questions. Only Bob Kersee beat her to the punch on several of those queries.

"Why did you enter the unusual double of long jump and shot put?" one writer asked.

"Because she has to get back into her multi-sport mode," Kersee answered.

"Is it realistic to expect a world record in the heptathlon at the Goodwill Games next month in Seattle?" asked another reporter.

"Yeah, I think it's realistic," Kersee said. "The problem is putting the timing together. But I feel, and I'm going to shout the numbers out because I'm the husband around here, she's capable of going 7,299 {points} to 7,312 if things go well."

No, those numbers are not out of the realm of possibility. She already holds the world record in the seven-event heptathlon. She accumulated 7,291 points at the Seoul Olympics in 1988.

Now the organizers of the Goodwill Games are offering a $15,000 purse to anyone who can better a world record. Is her interest piqued?

Let's ask Bob Kersee.

"The incentive in setting a world record is not money," he said. "We're going to continue to chase world records until it's time to start thinking about Bob Kersees and Jackie Joyner-Kersees of the future."


Even the second-place finisher in the long jump, Sheila Echols (22-2 1/4), got into the act of preempting Joyner-Kersee.

"I thought her jump was incredible into that wind," Echols said. "That was real good."

In the women's javelin throw, Karin Smith, just two months away from her 35th birthday and three years removed from her second knee operation, took first place with a throw of 206-3. It was the sixth time she has won the event at the nationals.

Today's mark was six feet from her all-time best of 212-2. Nothing to brag about except for the fact that she set that personal record one decade ago. It was her best throw since 1984, when she took first place at the nationals at 212-2.

Later that year Smith's career began a quick descent when she suffered the first of two knee injuries in a non-javelin related mishap.

After operations in 1986 and '87, she is just now rounding into form.

"Most people have to go through life with the same body," she said. "Well, I got a fresh start with two new knees." Now Smith, who participated in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, but did not medal, gets a chance to compete in the second Goodwill Games.

She's planning on making the most of it.

"I've never seen a meet as pumped up as the Goodwill Games," she said. "It's been in the newspapers for a year. I know Seattle is ready. It's going to be like L.A. all over again."

She is treating the Goodwill Games as if they were an Olympiad for two reasons. First because of the competition to get there. "To me this is like the Olympic Trials, only harder because there's only two spots," she said.

And secondly because, well, this could be the end of the road for her. "I missed qualifying {for the 1988 Olympics} by two inches," she said. "So this is it for me. It's a big competition."

Other winners today included Ken Flax, who threw the hammer 249-6, and Tim Lewis, who won the 20-kilometer race walk in 1:27:28.0. Joe Falcon won the 1,500 meters in an unofficial time of 3:37.52. He took the lead at the start and never gave it up.

The official results of the women's 1,500 were held up by a protest. Pattisue Plumer gave Suzy Favor, who had led from the start, a scare by kicking right after the final turn. Favor maintained a three-step lead to the finish. She crossed first in an unofficial time of 4:13.49, just ahead of Plumer.

In the pole vault, Earl Bell won his third title in as many decades with a vault of 18-10. His first national title was in 1976.

Mark Everett won a tight 800-meters in 1:45.01 after taking the lead from Ocky Clark along the backstretch of the second lap. George Kersh was second at 1:45.01, Johnny Gray third at 1:45.32 and Clark ended up fourth at 1:45.99.