Michael Johnson, the fastest man in the world this year at 200 meters, ran to a front-running victory Tuesday night at the Goodwill Games.
But Johnson's time, like most of the others during the meet on the Husky Stadium track, was slow. He was clocked in 20.54 seconds, far off the world best of 19.85 he ran July 6 at Edinburgh, Scotland. Johnson, the U.S. and NCAA champion from Baylor, also ran 19.90 in the national championships, making him the only runner to break 20 seconds this year.
"I didn't execute off the turn like I usually do, so I had to make up for it by getting out of the blocks good and running a strong stretch," Johnson said.
In his first major international championship meet, Johnson was slowed by a strong headwind but finished about two meters ahead of Robson da Silva, the South American champion from Brazil.
Da Silva was timed in 20.77, with Dennis Mitchell of the United States third in 20.89.
Meanwhile, Nadezhda Ryashkina, 23, of the Soviet Union regained the world record in the women's 10-kilometer (6.2-mile) walk, edging Australian Kerry Saxby, the former record holder.
Ryashkina, who set the record last year before losing it to Saxby, shattered the mark by 29 seconds, clocking 41:56.21. Saxby also went under her record of 42:25.2 with a time of 41:57.2.
Dan O'Brien of the United States took a 289-point lead after the first day of the decathlon.
The rapidly improving O'Brien, coming off his career best of 8,483 points, built his advantage in the 100 meters (10.99), long jump (25 feet 11 1/2 inches), shotput (49-9), high jump (6-9 3/4) and 400 meters (48.38).
Mikhail Medved of the Soviet Union, winner of the shotput at 51-1, was second.
The decathlon will be completed today with the 110-meter high hurdles, discus, pole vault, javelin and 1,500 meters.
Viktor Zaitsev, the 1989 and 1990 Soviet champion, won the men's javelin at 276-1. He had the five best throws of the competition.
Natalya Lisovskaya of the Soviet Union, the Olympic gold medalist and world record-holder, took the women's shotput at 67-7, beating Zhihong Huang of China, ranked No. 1 in the world.
The United States finished the preliminary round of team handball with a 1-1-1 record and second place behind the USSR in Group B.
The United States won a silver medal in the 1986 Goodwill Games under a different format.
Craig Fitschen scored nine goals for the Americans, including a goal with 32 seconds left that gave the Americans a 23-21 lead.
Japanese Coach Seisei Gamo said Fitschen made the difference with his speed and steals.
"When he was stealing, two of our players were against him," Gamo said. "It was a good move for him."