SEATTLE, JULY 24 -- Jackie Joyner-Kersee, the top performer of the women's track and field competition, closed out her heptathlon victory over the U.S.S.R.'s Larisa Nikitina today, scoring a total of 6,783 points to 6,236 for the Soviet.

This was the first meeting between Joyner-Kersee and Nikitina since the Soviet athlete went over the 7,000-point barrier last year, something no one else except Joyner-Kersee has done.

Joyner-Kersee said she wished she had gotten a stronger push from Nikitina.

"I really felt that she was going to be ready," Joyner-Kersee said. "That coming up to the hurdles {the first event} she was going to be right next to me, to give me a boost, like, 'U.S.A., I'm comin' after you.' So I could get that fire -- me and you, going for it. When I saw 14.0 {Nikitina's hurdles time to Joyner-Kersee's winning time of 12.9 seconds}, I said, 'Maybe not.' "

Joyner-Kersee said that until recently she always has been able to motivate herself. "But the last year or so, I've needed that extra boost, that person to say, 'Jackie, if you're not ready, don't step on the line.' "

In the women's 3,000 meters, U.S. Olympian Patti Sue Plumer won on the day her grandfather, Chet Purcell, was being buried in Newport Beach, Calif.

"My grandfather passed away the other night and it was a bit tough for me to come up here," she said after beating four opponents at the finish line.

"I was hoping I could make this trip worthwhile. I had a lot of mixed feelings over whether I should be here or not. If he had anything to do with it, he would never want me to stay home and go to his funeral. He pretty much hated those kinds of things to begin with.

"It's a cliche to say that you're running for someone else," she said. "I felt guilty that I was even saying that in my own head. But now I feel better that I'm up here and better that I did well. Now I can take a few days and think about {his death} a little more."