Monday, July 22, 2013

1984 US Olympic Trials 800 meter Final:
John Marshall Runs Fastest 800 Ever by Villanova Athlete

No Villanova runner has ever gone faster over 800 meters than John Marshall's 1:43.92 at the 1984 US Olympic Trials final.  Marshall came third on June 19th in a thrilling race, out-leaning pre-race favorite James Robinson to make the Olympic team.  Robinson wasn't the only favorite not to make the team:  Villanova's Don Paige, who won the 1980 US Trials in 1:44.53 but could not compete due to President Carter's Olympic boycott, was generally expected to make the team easily.  However, the fast pace (the leaders out in 50.2 seconds) seems to have caught him off guard and he could rally to no better than 5th place.  Marshall's time was only .01 second off the US national record (Rick Wohlhuter's 1:43.91) at that distance as the day began, as both Jones and Gray (who would go on to win the US Trials in 1988, 1992, and 1996) went under the old mark.  Indeed, it was the first 800 meter race in history where four men dipped below 1:44.00.  In the video below, Villanova's legendary Marty Liquori covered the race for ABC Sports with Al Michael.

1. Earl Jones        1:43.74
2. Johnny Gray       1:43.74
3. John Marshall     1:43.92
4. James Robinson    1:43.92
5. Don Paige         1:45.17
6. Stanley Redwine   1:45.32
7. Pete Richardson   1:46.62
8. Eugene Sanders    1:47.05

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