Mary Decker Slaney put an end to a disappointing season and Steve Scott put a new car in his driveway by posting victories Saturday in the Mercedes Mile on Fifth Avenue.
Slaney, who failed last month to win a medal in two Olympic events, captured the women's race in 4 minutes, 20.03 seconds. Scott, a loser in the 1,500 meters at Seoul, won his race in 3:53.43. Because he was a past winner, the event's sponsor awarded Scott a $35,000 Mercedes-Benz.On a glorious day, Slaney broke ahead of a strong pack with about 400 meters left and outkicked Britain's Christina Boxer Cahill to the finish. Cahill clocked 4:20.77 and Elly Van Hulst of Holland took third in 4:22.09.
"This was very gratifying," said Slaney, who finished a shade off Romanian Maricica Puica's course record of 4:19.48. "I needed to do something positive."
Had Slaney bettered Puica's course record, she too would have won a Mercedes.
Slaney had been favored to win at least one gold medal at South Korea, but she developed a viral infection in August, weakening her for the Summer Games.
She said she entered Saturday's event feeling stronger, but added she is not fit enough to run more than one race in a two- or three-day span.
"If I had to come back tomorrow I probably couldn't have," said Slaney, who competed in the 1,500 and 3,000 meters at the Olympics. "The way I've been feeling lately, I've had no energy."
Like Slaney, Scott also faced a tough field. Mark Rowland of Britain, an Olympic bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, made the initial move to break from the pack with about one-quarter mile remaining. Scott, however, stayed with him and took the lead.
The American record-holder in the mile then held off charges from fellow U.S. Olympian Jeff Atkinson and Marcus O'Sullivan of Ireland to win his Mercedes.
"I had enough strength and speed to hold them off," said Scott, who won the event in 1983. "I just kept my eye on the finish and hoped it would come soon."
Atkinson finished in 3:53.77 and O'Sullivan clocked 3:54.24.