Magic On the Track

Records shatter as the world's fastest and strongest square off for keeps

The scene at Olympic stadium was like a pointillist tableau. Huge white parasols rested on the green infield, ready to shield athletes from the autumn sun. White doves left over from the opening ceremony strutted on the grass while athletes stretched languidly. Then a Korean in white blazer and gloves climbed up a ladder and fired a pistol. The points began to blur: legs pumped, iron heaved skyward, bodies shot forward.

Track and field, the quintessential Olympic sport, began with a weekend that saw excellence both extended and ended. The world's best woman athlete, American Jackie Joyner-Kersee, piled up 7,291 points...

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