Leaping lizards! Carl Lewis was furious, bickering with officials between jumps, but it didn't stop him from soaring into Olympic history with American teammate Roger Kingdom, a hooded blur in the high hurdles.
Lewis dropped his John McEnroe imitation Monday just long enough to fly 28-feet, 71/2-inches, lead a U.S. sweep with silver medalist Mike Powell and bronze medalist Larry Myricks and become the first long jumper to win back-to-back golds.It was the first 1-2-3 long jump finish for the United States since 1904.
Kingdom, too, won his second straight gold in the 110-meter hurdles with an Olympic record time of 12.98 seconds - five one-hundredths of a second off the world record by Renaldo Nehemiah and third-fastest ever after Kingdom's own 12.97 last month.
Kingdom resembled the comic book character Flash in his red and white hooded racing suit, skimming over the hurdles to become the first two-time Olympic winner in the event since Lee Calhoun in 1956 and 1960.
The prospect of an American gold rush in the final week of the Games seemed more real a day after Matt Biondi donned his fifth gold and record-tying seventh medal and Florence Griffith Joyner lit up the stadium with her blazing speed and brilliant smile.
Super heavyweight Riddick Bowe scored a second-round knockout to become the ninth U.S. fighter to reached the quarterfinals; the men's basketball team made the semifinals with a ridiculously easy 94-57 romp over a good Puerto Rican team; the men's volleyball team reached the semis with a 3-0 victory over Tunisia; and diver Greg Louganis was poised to defend his platform title in the finals Tuesday.
The Soviets picked up three more golds Monday to boost their haul to 33 golds and 75 medals overall. East Germany remains second with 27 gold and 67 overall, and the United States is third with 14 gold and a total of 44.
Lewis, who hopes to grab two more golds in the 200 sprint and 400 relay after gaining a silver in the 100 against Canada's Ben Johnson, got into an unusual quarrel against the officials.
"It's not fair," Lewis claimed repeatedly, complaining he wasn't being given enough time between jumps.
He had first argued the scheduling was too tight between his 200-meter qualifying heats and the long jumps. He ran in the last first-round heat and the first second-round heat of the 200, coasted through both to make the finals Wednesday, and was scheduled to go first in the long jump.
"They couldn't have found a worse way to set me up," he said.
Was it a challenge?
"More than that," he said. "I think it was a planned challenge."
He requested a change and got it from the long jump referee and was allowed to go last among the 12 long jumpers to get more rest.
After three qualifying jumps, though, he was moved back to first in the order, and he complained he should have 10 minutes between jumps. Instead, he said, an official told him to get on the runway right away.
The argument gained him more time. He picked up a few more when the official clock failed. Then he stripped off his white pants and produced his winning jump, pumping his legs four times in the air after taking off, and landing just 23/4 inches short of his personal best.
"I said the rules state in between jumps you have to get at least 10 minutes' rest," Lewis said. "It wasn't really a confrontation. It was more of a discussion. And then it became a stall tactic. And then the funny thing is the clock ... went dead, so there is a Lord.
"I seized the moment, took the adrenalin and came up with a great jump."
In contrast to 1984, Lewis took each of his jumps in Seoul in an attempt to match the 29-21/2 record set by Bob Beamon in the rarefied air of Mexico City. At Los Angeles, Lewis took only two jumps and passed four, and suffered criticism for not challenging the record.
When it was all over, and he had stretched his long jump streak to 56 meets, an exhausted Lewis said, "This is, without question, the toughest day of track and field I can remember."
He was still thinking about his 100 loss to Johnson as he got ready for the 200, he said, but he felt good about the 100 because he ran his best time of 9.92 seconds.
"And I used that energy, that positive energy, to just move on," he said. "That inspired me to run well this morning and to jump well this afternoon."
In other track events, unheralded Paul Ereng of Kenya foiled Said Aouita's bid for a distance triple, kicking to victory in the 800; Ibrahim Boutaib of Morocco won the gold in the 10,000; and East Germans Sigrun Wodars and Christine Wachtel finished 1-2 in the women's 800 with American Kim Gallagher taking third.
Olga Bryzgina of the Soviet Union won the women's 400 gold, with defending Olympic champion Valerie Brisco of the United States fading to fourth.
"I went to try and find one more gear," Brisco said, "and honey, let me tell you, at 320 yards you can't find no more gears."
Florence Griffith Joyner couldn't stop smiling Sunday, beaming broadly from start to finish as she proved herself the fastest woman in the world.
She ran in the red U.S. track suit instead of the sexy one-legged outfit that brought so much attention at the Olympic trials. No one, though, ever came across the finish line in the Olympics the way Griffith Joyner did: bright red lips unsmudged, mascara on her eyes and long fingernails painted red, white, blue and gold.
Waving the American flag in victory, she could have been a cover girl for both fashion and sports magazines.
A favorable wind slightly over the limit during her 10.54-second run ruined her bid to break the Olympic record of 10.62 she set in the second qualifying heat on Saturday, but the gold was much more important to her. It may, in fact, be worth millions in endorsements.
Swimming ended Sunday with Biondi draping a fifth gold and a record-tying seventh medal around his neck after anchoring the 400 medley relay, and East German Kristin Otto winning the 50 freestyle for a sixth gold to cap the most glittering Olympics ever by a woman.