Kingdom, 13.17 Into Wind, Routs Foster : Joyner-Kersee Jumps 24-3, Griffith Joyner Runs 10.89 in San Diego

Times Staff Writer

Jackie Joyner-Kersee was concerned about getting to the church on time. It wasn’t her wedding. She’s already married to her coach, Bob Kersee.

But Jackie wanted to arrive at a San Diego church close to 2 p.m. Saturday to be present at the wedding of UCLA’s Gail Devers and Ron Roberts, a former Bruin distance runner.

So Joyner-Kersee took only three jumps in the long jump at the Michelob Invitational in Balboa Stadium. The last two were foul attempts, but her first effort was 24 feet 3 inches, just 2 1/2 inches short of her American record.

It was an impressive performance considering that it was Joyner-Kersee’s first outdoor competition of the season in the long jump. She has multi-event obligations since she is the world record-holder in the heptathlon.

There were other noteworthy performances on a warm, slightly breezy day at the venerable stadium that was once the home of the San Diego Chargers:


--Roger Kingdom, the 1984 gold medalist in the 110-meter hurdles, is surfacing with authority in another Olympic year.

Kingdom easily beat world champion Greg Foster in 13.17 seconds while running into a headwind of 2.76 meters per second. It was the fastest time ever recorded under such conditions.

Kingdom was in command of the race by the fourth hurdle as Foster was not in contention, finishing second in 13.85.

--Ramona Pagel improved on her American women’s shotput record twice, the best a throw of 66-2 1/2. She reached a milestone as the first American woman to surpass 20 meters (20.18).

--Mary Decker Slaney, running out in front of the pack as usual, and without being challenged, won the seldom-contested 2,000 meters in 5 minutes 36.35 seconds. She didn’t threaten the world record of 5:28.69 held by Romania’s Maricica Puica.

--Florence Griffith Joyner, an accomplished 200-meter sprinter, established her credentials in the 100. She was timed in 10.89 into a slight headwind. Evelyn Ashford, the women’s world record-holder at 10.76, is the only American to run faster on three occasions.

--Randy Barnes showed that he is peaking for the Olympic trials July 15-23 at Indianapolis with a mark of 72-2 3/4 in the shotput.

--Steve Scott won a tactical mile race in 3:56.06.

Joyner-Kersee recently lost her world record of 24-5 1/2 that she shared with East Germany’s Heike Drechsler. The Soviet Union’s Galina Chistyakova has the record now at 24-8.

Joyner-Kersee said earlier that she expected to jump 23-3 or 23-5 in her first outdoor apperance in the event, then exceeded expectations with her 24-3 jump.

“Then, I started to get greedy,” Joyner-Kersee said. “I became impatient and started to rush my jumps.”

Her first foul was just barely over the board, a big jump that could have been close to 25 feet. Her third and last jump was an obvious foul.

The long jump is Jackie’s favorite event, and her husband, Bob, said she’ll have other opportunities to regain her world record.

And it seems that Kingdom is on schedule to repeat his gold-medal performance in the high hurdles based on his times this year. He is undefeated in seven races and has beaten two of his most formidable challengers, Foster and Tonie Campell, twice.

“Running a time (13.17) like this into a wind tells me that I’m ready to run 13.0 or 12.9,” said Kingdom, who had been bothered by a hamstring injury in post-Olympic years.

Renaldo Nehemiah, trying to make a comeback after a short career in pro football, is the world record-holder at 12.93, and no one has run faster than 13.10 since Nehemiah dominated the hurdles in the late 1970s and early ‘80s.

Foster, who finished second to Kingdom in the 1984 Olympics, didn’t want to be interviewed.,

“It’s just like 1984 when I beat him,” Kingdom said. “He knows now that he has to go back and work.”

Slaney was reasonably pleased with her performance, considering that it was only her third outdoor race of the year after a long layoff due to injuries and the birth of her daughter.

“I would have liked to run faster, but the number one thing is that I’m healthy and now I’m going to start my speed and sharpening work,” she said.

Slaney plans a 1,500-3,000 double in the trials because she would be required to run only five races in nine days compared to the 1984 Olympic trials, when she had to run six races in five days.

Track and Field Notes

Ramona Pagel has improved on her American shotput record four times this season, twice on Saturday. After a 66-foot throw, Pagel came back with her 66-2 1/2 effort. “I had my rhythm, so I knew I could break the record,” she said. . . . Florence Griffith Joyner, who is married to Al Joyner, the 1984 gold medalist in the triple jump, recorded the fastest time in the world this year with her 10.89 in the 100. “It’s the best year I’ve ever had,” said Griffith Joyner, the silver medalist in the 200 at the World Championships in Rome last September. “I want to go after the world record in both the 100 and 200.” . . . Brazil’s Joaquim Cruz was in control of his 1,000-meter race all the way, looking around in the stretch at the runners pursuing him. His winning time of 2:17.76 didn’t threaten Sebastian Coe’s world record of 2:12.81. . . . Denean Howard, who beat Valerie Brisco in the 400 at the Pepsi Invitational June 5, did it again Saturday in 50.56. . . . The meet attracted a crowd of 3,753 in a 4,500-capacity stadium that once could accommodate 35,000 before stands were removed.