Sport: Above and Beyond

When the International Track Association first pitched its professional tent two years ago, it aimed to lure cash customers with a blend of carnival and first-class track and field competition. Unfortunately, performances have been spotty, purses have been paltry, and the tour's personalities have shown little of the crowd-pulling pizazz so important to commercial survival. The I.T.A. still has problems, but its struggle to succeed has been made easier by a pair of iconoclastic performers: Shotputter Brian Oldfield and Pole Vaulter Steve Smith. Both world-record holders, they are also flaky, free spirits who...

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