Lewis wins in 100, may retire as long jumper

July 21, 1991|By Ron Reid | Ron Reid,Knight-Ridder News Service

NEW YORK -- Carl Lewis sprinted 100 meters through 100-degree heat to shatter a meet record yesterday in the third New York Games, then coolly announced that this season might be his last one as a long jumper.

With another spectacular closing burst reminiscent of the way he chased Leroy Burrell to the 100-meter world record of 9.90 seconds five weeks earlier at Randalls Island, Lewis came back from a so-so start to win his race in 10.02 seconds.

At the finish, Lewis was two strides ahead of runner-up Mike Marsh, his Santa Monica Track Club teammate, and had brought considerable ruination to the former meet record of 10.21, set two years ago by Lee McRae.

For Lewis, the time was hardly as hot as the weather, which threatened to dehydrate the brave crowd of 8,118 throughout the sweltering afternoon at Columbia University's Wien Stadium, where the temperature on the infield was measured at 120 degrees.

Indeed, the six-time Olympic gold-medal winner created a bigger surprise later when he suggested that, at age 30, it might be time he left the long jump for events less likely to cause him physical damage.

Lewis is the most accomplished competitor in the history of the ** event, having extended his long-jump winning streak to 65 competitions last month in the USA/Mobil outdoor championships.

That streak, which includes the Olympic Games of 1984 and 1988, started in March 1981 and includes several last-attempt victories.

Lewis said he will shoot for Bob Beamon's world record of 29 feet, 2 1/2 inches on Aug. 1 in Sestriere, Italy, where the 6,600-foot altitude should be as much help as was Mexico City's 7,347-foot elevation to Beamon's record performance, in the 1968 Olympic Games.

"I think I'll be in great condition at Sestriere and ready to jump far," said Lewis. "My plan is to have the best meet I've ever had, as far as technique is concerned. If I do that, the distance will take care of itself. If I can't do it now, why continue? I don't take chances on my body."

Lewis' lifetime best in the long jump is 28-10 1/4 , achieved in 1983.

The day's best performance was turned in by the fashionable Sandra Farmer-Patrick, who scorched her way through the 400-meter hurdles in 53.77.

Her best this year is 53.54, set in Nice, France, on July 15.

Farmer-Patrick showed up for her event wearing a self-designed chiffon skirt over Danskin tights adorned with a touch of gold glitter.

The outfit and her flamboyant hairstyle aside, Farmer-Patrick made amends for her uncustomary runner-up finish in the national championships by winning the hurdles by an 8-meter margin over Kim Batten, the Florida State senior who out-kicked her at Randalls Island.

Batten this time visibly faltered when both runners hit the eighth hurdle; it was no contest after that.

The time marked the seventh occasion that Farmer-Patrick had beaten the 54-second barrier. No other American can make that claim.

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