Jesse Owens Track Meet : Reynolds’ Fast 400 Steals the Spotlight From Moses

<i> Associated Press </i>

Butch Reynolds flirted with track immortality but said he wasn’t even trying hard.

Reynolds, a junior at Ohio State, ran the fastest 400 meters ever at sea level and the third all-time best mark with a 44.09 second effort Sunday at the fifth annual Jesse Owens Track and Field meet at Ohio Stadium.

Reynolds’ time is slower only to the 43.86 and 43.97 by Lee Evans and Larry James, respectively, at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, 7,000 feet above sea level.

“I wasn’t pushed,” said Reynolds, who won the Owens meet last year in 45.36. “I came to the head of the stretch and I had a lot more left, but didn’t even change gears. If I had had some competition, I know I could have really pulled out in the middle of the straightaway. Today I didn’t even have a chance to change gears.”


The 22-year-old Akron native also is the reigning Big Ten 400 champion and had owned the previous best in the world this season with a time of 44.60 at the Drake Relays a week ago.

Edwin Moses ran his personal winning streak to 104 in 48.89 seconds in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles, but even he was talking about Reynolds’ feat on a rainy day before a crowd of 7,898.

“I didn’t see the race but I heard the time announced,” said Moses. “That’s unbelievable in this kind of weather.”

Competing for the first time in years in his home state, Moses declined an appearance fee and instead bused in 302 kids from Dayton who had passed a scholastic exam a month ago.

“I so seldom get home,” Moses said. “I try to pay back something to everyone because I was a student who ran track and field. All my heroes were guys I watched at the Dayton Relays.”

In addition to the marks established by Reynolds and Moses, other men’s records were set by Jud Logan in the hammer throw with a mark of 258-3; Terry Brahm in the 5,000-meter run in 13:38.98 and Peter Massfeller, who tied the javelin mark at 234-8.


Women’s records were set in the 400-meter relay by the Atoms Track Club team of Diane Dixon, Grace Jackson, Sophia Hunter and Jennifer Inniss in a time of 44.34; Connie Price in the shot put with a mark of 55-7 and Inniss in the 100 meters in 11.40.