Mary Decker Slaney broke the world record for the women’s mile Wednesday with a time of 4 minutes 16.71 seconds.
The Weltklasse meet at Letzigrund Stadium was also marked by Said Aouita of Morocco running the second fastest mile in history and Carl Lewis finishing fourth in the 100 meters.
Additionally, Valerie Brisco-Hooks, the American triple Olympic gold medalist, edged world champion Marlies Gohr of East Germany in the women’s 100 meters with a personal best of 11.01 seconds. She also won the 200 in 21.98, beating world record-holder Marita Koch of East Germany.
And Pierre Deleze of Switzerland rewarded his fans with a stirring victory in the 1,500 meters over Olympic champion Sebastian Coe.
The meet--attracting 36 Olympic champions, world champions and world record-holders--was the most expensive ever staged, costing $700,000. It cost $440,000 to pay for the expenses of more than 300 athletes from 39 countries.
The only event in which a world or Olympic champion was not competing was the men’s 400 meters hurdles where Edwin Moses was absent.
Slaney gained double revenge over Romania’s Maricica Puica by regaining the world record that Puica captured from her three years ago in a time of 4:17.44.
Natalia Artemova of the Soviet Union ran a 4:15.80 at Leningrad last year, but her time was not recognized by the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the world governing body for track and field, since no drug tests were made after that race.
Slaney also went some way toward avenging her defeat in the Olympic 3,000 meters final last year in which Puica won after Slaney collided with Briton Zola Budd. Puica’s time of 4:17.33 was also inside her old world record while Budd was third Wednesday in 4:17.57.
“The field was so strong that it was always going to be a fast race tonight,” Slaney said. “It was exactly the kind of race I like. I think that within the next year the record could come down to 4:10.”
Slaney said the 1,500-meter record also could have been broken had the early pace been faster.
“The second lap was too slow,” she said. “It would have been a lot faster race if I had set the pace myself from the beginning.”
DeLisa Walton-Floyd of the United States led for the first two laps in 2:10.17, then Decker picked up the pace herself.
With Budd, Puica and East German Ulrike Bruns pushing all the way, they hit the bell at 3:15.25. Puica kicked as they came out of the final bend but Slaney accelerated away.
Slaney said she hopes to make another attempt to break the 1,500-meter record at Brussels next Sunday. Before that meet, Slaney is scheduled to run the 3,000 in another Grand Prix meet at West Berlin Friday if she does not feel any pain in her left ankle.
“I twisted my ankle two days before the Bislett Games in Oslo three weeks ago,” she said. “But it doesn’t hurt when I run, only afterwards.”
Aouita had to be content with the second fastest mile in history (3:46.92) when his attempt on Briton Steve Cram’s world record failed by .61 seconds.
Cram ran the fastest 800 meters in the world this year in 1:42.88, a personal best by almost three-quarters of a second. He edged Olympic champion Joaquim Cruz of Brazil in a battle down the home straightaway.
Lewis, the quadruple Olympic gold medalist, was making his first outing in Europe since injuring a hamstring in the spring.
He started poorly in the 100-meter final, never recovered and finished fourth in 10.31 seconds behind Olympic bronze medalist Ben Johnson of Canada (10.18). World record-holder Calvin Smith of the United States (10.19) finished second and Desai Williams of Canada (10.26) was third.
Lewis pulled out of the 200 meters later in the meet.
Deleze received the biggest cheer of the night when he defeated Coe in the 1,500 meters. Deleze came from the middle of the pack in the final 80 meters to clock a national record of 3:31.75. Coe could not respond and finished second in 3:32.13.
“Obviously, I am not happy,” said Coe, who missed the European Cup Final in Moscow because of injury. “And I need a few more races and more training before I can run faster. But I am not sure it is worth it at this stage of the season.”
The men’s 400 meters boasted two high quality finals. World champion Bert Cameron of Jamaica won the B final and Thomas Schoenlebe of East Germany the A final.
WOMEN’S MILE All-Time List
Mark Name Country Year 4:15.8* Natalya Artemova USSR 1984 4:16.71 Mary Decker Slaney United States 1985 4:17.33 Maricica Puica Romania 1982 4:17.57 Zola Budd Britain 1985 4:19.41 Kristy McDermott Britain 1985 4:20.89 Lyudmila Veselkova USSR 1981 4:21.40 Fita Lovin Romania 1981 4:21.52 Vesela Yatsinska Bulgaria 1982 4:21.59 Ulrike Bruns East Germany 1985 4:21.78 Vanya Stoyanova Bulgaria 1982 4:21.78 Ruth Wysocki United States 1984 4:21.89 Tarmar Sorokina USSR 1982 4:22.09 Natalia Marasescu Romania 1979 4:22.5 Zamira Zaitseva USSR 1981 4:22.64 Christina Boxer Britain 1984 4:23.29 Gabriella Dorio Italy 1980 4:23.8 Svetlana Ulmasova USSR 1981 4:24.57 Christine Benning Britain 1984 4:24.6 Silvana Cruciata Italy 1981 4:25.03 Brigitte Kraus West Germany 1985
*--Natalya Artemova ran 4:15.8 on Aug. 5, 1984 but the mark was never submitted to the International Amateur Athletic Federation. World Record Progression
Mark Name Country Year 4:39.2 Anne Smith Britain 1967 4:37.0 Anne Smith Britain 1967 4:36.8 Maria Gommers Netherlands 1969 4:35.3 Ellen Tittel Wessinghage West Germany 1971 4:34.9** Glenda Reiser Canada 1973 4:29.5 Paola Pigni-Cacchi Italy 1973 4:23.8 Natalia Marasescu Romania 1979 4:22.1 Natalia Marasescu Romania 1979 4:21.68 Mary Decker United States 1980 4:20.89 Lyudmila Veselkova USSR 1981 4:18.08 Mary Decker Tabb United States 1982 4:17.44 Maricica Puica Romania 1982 4:16.71 Mary Decker Slaney United States 1985
**--Mark never submitted to the IAAF but considered statistically valid.