Marcus O'Sullivan set a world indoor record in the men's 1,500 meters en route to winning the mile Friday night in the Meadowlands Invitational, while Said Aouita and Paula Ivan barely missed world records in scoring sensational victories.
O'Sullivan, who was chasing fellow Irishman Eamonn Coghlan's indoor mile record of 3:49.78 set on the Meadowlands track in 1983, was timed in 3:51.66, the fifth-fastest ever.
But his 1,500-meter time of 3:35.6 broke the accepted world record of 3:36.03, set by Spain's Jose-Luis Gonzalez in 1986.
Aouita, who had said the men's 3,000-meter world record was soft, produced the second-fastest clocking ever, 7:39.71, falling short of the mark of 7:39.2, set by Emiel Puttemans of Belgium in 1973.
Aouita, who disdained a mile showdown with O'Sullivan in hopes of setting a 3,000 record, had to withstand a furious finish by Steve Scott. Scott, the American indoor and outdoor mile record-holder, broke the U.S. record of 7:41.57, finishing second in 7:39.94.
The American record had been set last year on the fast 10-laps-to-the-mile Meadowlands track by Brian Abshire.
Joe Falcon of Arkansas, who finished sixth in 7:46.42, broke the collegiate record of 7:48.1, set by Canadian Graeme Fell of San Diego State in 1972.
Ivan, the Romanian who won the Olympic gold medal at 1,500 meters last year and the silver medal in the 3,000, took the women's mile in 4:18.99, the second-fastest ever, behind the 4:18.86 set by her compatriot, Doina Melinte, on this track last year.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who just missed equaling the world indoor best in her semifinal heat, overcame a slow start and won the women's 55-meter high hurdles.
Joyner-Kersee, the 1988 Olympic champion in the women's long jump and the heptathlon, had set her goals this year on setting records in the indoor hurdles and the outdoor high hurdles and intermediate hurdles.
She nearly got the mark in the preliminaries, clocking 7.38 seconds--only .01 of a second off the world best of 7.37 which she had run twice last week at New York. The 7.38 broke the meet record of 7.45 set by Joyner-Kersee in 1987.
But after the preliminary, she required treatment for an injured right quadriceps. In the final, she appeared to be tentative out of the blocks and had to work hard in winning in 7.40, holding off a strong bid by Kim McKenzie.
McKenzie, the 1984 Olympic bronze medalist in the 100-meter hurdles, finished second in 7.42.
Meanwhile, Gwen Torrence, a 1988 Olympic finalist in the women's 100-meter and 200-meter dashes, streaked to her 48th consecutive indoor victory since 1986, including 24 finals, winning the women's 55-meter dash in 6.65.
Jack Pierce, who worked in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino before quitting this week to devote full time to track, won the 55-meter hurdles in 7.04. Tonie Campbell, the Olympic bronze medalist finished second in 7.10, and his Olympic teammate, Arthur Blake, was third in 7.12.
Another meet record was broken in the women's 800 as Melinte, the 1984 Olympic champion, swept past Joetta Clark with one lap remaining and won in 2:00.70. Clark , who set the meet record of 2:02.15 in 1987, finished second in 2:00.98.
Diane Dixon led all the way in winning the women's 400 for the sixth time, equaling the most victories by any runner in this meet. Dixon, leading all the way, was timed in 53.51.
Joe Dial won the pole vault competition at 19-0 1/4. He then missed three times at an American-record 19-5 3/4.
In two races featuring some old-timers, all past 40, Mike Boit of Kenya broke the world indoor Masters mile mark, clocking 4:15.48, and Lee Evans, the former world record-holder for 400 meters, broke the world Masters best at that distance, with a time of 51.60.
Boit, 40, the 1972 Olympic bronze medalist at 800 meters, erased the week-old mark of 4:17.88, set by Ron Bell of Britain. In that race, Boit was suffering from the flu and had no kick, placing second to Bell.
Evans, 41, easily broke the world Masters mark of 53.9, set by Thane Baker in 1976.