By virtue of Steve Ovett's record-setting mile, the Moscow Olympics now have the makings of a truly classic track showdowon. And rather ironically, it will pit two British middle-distance runners, Ovett and the previous mile record holder, Sebastian Coe, in the 1,500 meters. The two runners have avoided competing against each other before the Olympics, which begin July 19.
Ovett, the winner of his past 42 races, shaved two-tenths of a second off Coe's mile standard with a 3:48.8 clocking this week in Oslo. Coe also participated in the meet, but he ran the 1,000 meters, setting a new world mark with a 2:13.4 clocking over the famed Bislet International track, site of many world records. In fact, it was on the same track that Coe ran his record-breaking mile last summer.
In acknowledgment of that effort, the crowd in Oslo gave Coe a standing ovation as he watched Ovett. A tenth of a second behind Coe's pace 100 meters from the finish, Ovett used a strong kick to nail down the new record.