Moses Reinjures Knee, Will Be on Sidelines Until August or Later

Times Staff Writer

Edwin Moses’ streak of 94 victories in finals and 109 in all races is safe at least until August.

Moses, the incomparable 400-meter hurdler and world record-holder, reinjured his right knee in training last week and won’t be ready to compete until August, according to Gordon Baskin, his business manager.

“Last week was the first time he has been able to go over a hurdle this season, and he popped something in his knee,” Baskin said. “He has been able, though, to run on the flat. If he isn’t careful, he could be out for the entire season.”


With Moses temporarily inactive, Andre Phillips’ recent charge that Moses was planning to select his opponents for July meets in Europe to protect his streak became only speculation.

Phillips accused Moses of that last Sunday night at Indianapolis, where, in Moses’ absence, Phillips became the national champion in the 400-meter hurdles in the fine time of 47.67 seconds.

“I’ve heard that he doesn’t want any Americans in the field, like Danny Harris, or myself, until he feels he’s physically ready,” Phillips said. “If he has to do all that to protect his streak, he should retire, or run against the best.”

Baskin, speaking for Moses, called Phillips’ remarks “absolutely erroneous and categorically untrue,” adding: “We have never made any stipulation that anyone should or should not be in a race. That’s the last thing we would do. Edwin never has and never will select a field.

“When Edwin is physically ready, he’ll run. He has never backed off from anyone. He has taken on Andre Phillips time and time again. He relishes the fastest competition because that’s when he is at his best.”

Moses originally hurt his knee while training on a wet track in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in May. He was expected to run the hurdles there but competed instead in a flat 400, not finishing the race.


It was rumored at the time that Moses pressured the meet promoter to keep Americans Tony Rambo and Bart Williams out of the hurdles race.

As for the rumors in Brazil, Baskin said: “Edwin didn’t even know who was going to be in the race and didn’t know about Rambo, Williams or anybody else.”

Baskin said that Moses was disappointed when he heard about Phillips’ comments.

“Edwin has had a close relationship with Andre,” Baskin said. “Phillips has had a chance for years and years to beat Edwin, but he never could. Edwin told me, ‘I’m going to let my legs speak for me.’ ” It’s generally believed in track and field circles that Moses won’t be able to command high fees from promoters once his streak is broken.

It began in 1977 and was on hold in 1982, a year in which Moses was inactive because of an injury. But he came back strong in 1983 and won the world championship, lowering his world record to 47.02 seconds. He was unbeatable again in 1984, winning his second Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles.

Harris, then an Iowa State freshman, was the silver medalist. Phillips, a former UCLA star, didn’t qualify for the team, finishing fourth in the Olympic trials.

Phillips said he had been suffering from a virus at the time and was so depressed afterward that he lost his desire to compete.


But Phillips has made a strong comeback this year. He is training to become a decathlete while fitting the hurdles into his schedule. He has made remarkable improvement in the 110-meter hurdles, an event he ran as an afterthought at UCLA to get points in dual meets.

Phillips has lowered his time in the high hurdles to 13.32, second best in the world this year. He made his season debut in the 400 hurdles at the ARC0-Coliseum meet June 8 and recorded a 48.37.

Then, at Indianapolis, he went out fast, caught and passed Harris by the fifth hurdle and won impressively, in the fashion of Moses. Harris, the NCAA champion, had previously not lost to any hurdler other than Moses.

Phillips’ time of 47.67 made him the third-fastest performer of all time in the event. Only Moses and West Germany’s Harald Schmid have ever run faster.

“I feel I have something to prove to myself this year,” Phillips said after the race.

A fashion show was part of the national championship meet last weekend in Indianapolis.

Models included sprinters Carl Lewis and Kirk Baptiste, javelin thrower Tom Petranoff, triple jumper Al Joyner and Lewis’ sister, Carol, a long jumper.

They competed in body suits that looked like stylish overalls. Geoff Hollister, who designed the suits for Nike, said the material is stretch Lycra, a combination of nylon and Spandex.


“The design is not considered for 800 meters on up,” Hollister said. “It’s for sprints and field events where there is possibly a little more muscle bulk and the potential for pulling a hamstring is higher.”

According to Hollister, the suits keep athletes warm on cold days or nights, reducing the odds of pulling a muscle.

“Field-event performers are generally conservative, but Petranoff said that he wanted to shock everyone by wearing the body suit,” Hollister said. “He also said, ‘If I’m going to wear this suit, I better win.’ ”

He did.