There is a distinctive mystique to Bob Beamon's world long jump record of 29 feet 2 1/2 inches that is enhanced with each passing year.
It is a record that has endured since 1968, when Beamon startled the track and field world at the Olympic Games in Mexico City.
Twenty-nine feet. It has become an elusive target for Carl Lewis, who has made a career out of 28-foot plus jumps.
So it was somewhat surprising when the Soviet Union's Robert Emmiyan joined Beamon in the select 29-foot circle with a jump of 29-1 May 22 in the Soviet state of Armenia.
Never mind that the mark was recorded at an altitude of 5,130 feet. Beamon's mark was altitude-assisted at 7,500 feet in Mexico City.
So Emmiyan, not Lewis, is closer now to Beamon's revered record.
Larry Myricks doesn't think so. In fact, he firmly believes that Emmiyan's 29-foot mark is a bogus one.
Myricks, a world-class long jumper for a decade and a 28-foot jumper in his own right, said Saturday at the Bruce Jenner Invitational that Emmiyan's achievement is just so much Soviet propaganda.
"I just don't believe it," said Myricks, who won the long jump here with a wind-aided jump of 27-3. "He doesn't come off as that good of a jumper. He's a solid 26- or perhaps, 27-foot jumper at best. The Soviet Union is determined to have a long jumper."
Myricks said he's even more skeptical since Emmiyan jumped only 26-6 1/2 in a dual meet Friday in Turin, Italy, between the Soviet Union and Italy.
"You just don't go from 29 feet to 26 feet," he said, adding that there's a certain consistency level that a jumper maintains.
He pointed out that Lewis is a consistent 28-foot jumper and he has been consistent in the 27-foot range.
Myricks even doubts Emmiyan's mark of 28-3 at the Goodwill Games in Moscow last July.
"I don't think it was legit," he said. "I don't trust the measurement."
Myricks was second in that meet with a jump of 27-7.
"We'll get him (Emmiyan) at Rome," said Myricks, referring to the World Championships Aug. 29-Sept. 6. "He'll be at our mercy."
And if Emmiyan beats the Americans?
"I'll be the first one to bow to him," Myricks said, smiling.
On a warm, windy day at San Jose City College there were some creditable performances at the first Grand Prix meet of the season, namely:
--France's Thierry Vigneron beat Mike Tully in the pole vault by clearing 19-2 on his last attempt. Tully settled for second at 19-0.
Tully was angry after Vigneron's winning jump.
"His jump was probably an 18-6 jump," Tully said. "He was "Volzing" it. I never did that in my life."
Tully was referring to a method used by vaulter Dave Volz, who would steady the cross bar with his hand if it was about to fall off.
A pole vault official said there isn't any rule in the IAAF book against any so-called "Volzing."
--Judi Brown-King threatened her American record of 54.38 seconds in the 400-meter hurdles with a winning time of 54.85.
--Steve Scott surged in the last five meters to barely beat Jim Spivey in the 1,500 meters. Scott's winning time was 3:37.48, equivalent to a 3:54 mile, while Spivey was second by a hundredth of a second.
"Jim was ahead with five yards left and I just beat him on the lean," Scott said. "I overcame some negative thoughts the past week. I wasn't real confident. I have a strained ligament in my foot and didn't work out from Monday through Thursday."
--Ray Kimble, 34, won the triple jump with a wind-aided effort of 57-0 3/4, beating Willie Banks, who was second at 56-3 3/4.
Banks, the world record-holder at 58-11 1/2, predicted that his record will be broken in the TAC meet here June 23-27.
"And I think four athletes are capable of breaking that record," said Banks, specifically naming Kimble and Mike Conley as a threat to his record.
--Louise Ritter had two good attempts at an American record of 6-7 1/2 in the high jump. She won the competition at 6-6.
"I know I'm ready to jump 6-8," said Ritter, adding that she's also ready to challenge Stefka Kostadinova of Bulgaria, the world record-holder at 6-9 3/4.
"She's a fine jumper, but I think I can beat her," Ritter said, "and if I beat her once it will be easier to beat her the second time."
--Antonio McKay held off Nigeria's Innocent Egbunike to win the 400 in 44.69, equaling his personal best.
--Tonie Campbell won the 110-meter high hurdles in a wind-aided 13.34 and said that he was fortunate to beat Cletus Clark.
"I just wasn't aggressive, a little bit flat and if Clark hadn't hit the eighth hurdle, he would have beaten me," Campbell said.
--Delisa Walton Floyd ran down front-running Essie Washington to win the women's 800 in 1:59.80. Washington was timed in 1:59.83. Floyd's time was the best in the world this year.
Track and Field Notes
Renaldo Nehemiah, the world record-holder in the 110-meter hurdles at 12.93, was a spectator at Saturday's meet. Nehemiah said he won't be able to run in the TAC meet which qualifies athletes for the World Championships. Nehemiah had surgery last February to remove an overgrowth of bone in his left heel. "I'm swimming, doing deep-water running, cycling and some jogging," Nehemiah said, "but I won't be able to run for a while." Nehemiah is hopeful that he'll be able to compete in European meets in August. . . . Kory Tarpening had a personal best of 18-10 1/2 while finishing third in the pole vault. . . . Mary Knisely was impressive in running away from the field in the women's 3,000 meters. Her time of 8:49.49 was the best in the country this year outdoors.