1980sABCJim LampleyLegendsTeam USATeam USSRWide World of Sports

Track & Field – 1985 – IAAF World Cup – Womens 400m & 4 x 100m – Mens 200m & 5000m & 4 x 100m


When the track and field world reconvened in Canberra, Australia for the 1985 IAAF World Cup after the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics one year later….this competition included the Eastern Block powerhouse countries like the USSR and East Germany….who had boycotted the L A Games….so, this was the 1st time since the 1976 Montreal Olympics that all of the track and field world was represented….since the US led Western Bloc boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games….causing the 1984 L A Games to be boycotted by the entire Eastern Bloc countries.  Simply put, this was the 1st time in almost a decade that all the powerhouse nations of the track and field world were participating….which makes this video a piece of important track and field history.    

Just as ABC Sports had covered the 1984 Los Angeles Games….they also covered this 1985 IAAF World Cup….with broadcasters Jim Lampley, Marty Liquori and Donna de Varona at the helm….who clearly set the stage for the potential of several World Records being broken….since the Russians and East Germans were in attendance….for this was the 1st world stage for their top athletes to perform….which provided World Records achieved by USSR high jumper Igor Palkin with a leap of 7′ 10.5″…..along with East Germany’s womens sprinter Marita Koch world record in the wormens 400m with a time of 47.60 seconds …..plus the East German womens 4 x 100m relay team setting a new world record time of 41:37 seconds… which if you put the clock on Marita Koch’s final 100m….for we at Ima Sportsphile put our video clock on the “incredible one”….and we’ve got her somewhere in the range of 9.8 to 10.1 seconds….for any way you cut that pie….THAT’S FAST !!!!

This video starts off with a look at URS Igor Palkin’s world record setting high jump….then shifts to a personal profile highlight of GDR Marita Koch….who quite possibly is the greatest female sprinter of all time due to her setting world records in the womens 100m, 200m and 400m dashes…..as she blows the field away in the 400m with her world record setting dash by taking gold with a time of 47.60 seconds…. followed by URS Olga Vladykina taking silver and also breaking the prior world record with a time of 48.27 seconds….which was a full second behind Koch’s awesome run….as USA Lilly Leatherwood would garner bronze with a time of 49.23 seconds.  Also of note, this womens 400m featured legendary Czech womens runner Jamilo Kratochvilova in her final competition.  

Lampley and Liquori then introduce a profile of USA sprinter Kirk Baptiste….who was at the time of this race, the reigning US Outdoor 200m dash champion….for Baptiste was an outstanding sprinter in both the 100m and 200m….but he languished up until this race…. in the shadows of the incredible Carl Lewis for years….but all of that passed when Baptiste subsequently pulled off a gold medal sprint….winning by “one length” over Brazil’s R. C. Da Silva….as Baptiste covered the distance in 20.38 seconds, with Da Silva posting a time of 20.44 seconds….who won siver over East Germany Heinz Emmelmann….with a bronze medal winninng time of 20.51 seconds. Kirk Baptiste was finally the World Champion in the mens 200m dash.   The program shifts to coverage of the mens 5000m race….as coverage picks up in the next to last lap of the track in Canberra….with a tight race going on between Wodaje Bulti of Kenya….Stefano Mei of Italy….and Doug Padilla of the USA….which is led by the Italian and Kenyan….with Padilla in 6th place….and the race turns into a “smack down” as USA Padilla “blew by”.his competition on his way to gold with a time of 14:04.11…..with ITA Mei capturing silver with a time of 14:05.99….as KEN Wodaje garnered broze with a time of 14:07.17….as this accomplishment by the not so well known Padilla insured that the USA would win the team competition….for just like all these athletes….their stories are wothy of being told.

The final event featured by ABC on this day’s coverage of the 1985 IAAF World Cup was the mens 4 x 400m relay….which is without question….one of Bone Daddy’s (the original Sportsphile) favorite events that he has watch in his entire 2300 hours of video content in his library….cuz in the final pass of the baton as USA Darren Clark was preparing to pass to anchorman Michael Franks….a Soviet Union runner was pushed into Clark by a the Kenyon runner (Kenyon team was disqualified for this)….which propelled Clark off the track and into a judge on the sidelines….when after having to restart from a dead stop…Clark recovers to get the baton to USA teammate and anchor leg, Michael Franks….who also was now at a dead stop…so, by the time that Franks starts to run….the US team is in 5th or 6th place and a long way behind ….but the performance by Franks was so exceptional….that somehow, someway he pulled off a gold medal victory “the hair of his chinny chin chin”…..a performance that Bone Daddy says “other feats and events with last milli-second victories can tie…but never defeat.”….making this video MUST SEE TV !!!   

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