Watchdog

Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

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Former NYC track star Shola Lynch profiles Mary Decker

Four years later, the USSR returned the favor

Four years later, the USSR returned the favor by boycotting the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles citing a lack of security for their athletes. The Soviets, along with 14 of their boycotting allies, held the Friendship Games instead. Pictured: American distance runner Mary Decker gets her feet tangled with England's Zola Budd and falls to the side of the track midway through women's 3,000-meter run on Aug. 10, 1984 at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. (Credit: AP)

It’s not every day I get to write about a film directed by an athlete I covered when she was in high school, but today is one of those days, thanks to “Runner,’’ Tuesday’s entry in ESPN’s “Nine for IX’’ documentary series.

Shola Lynch, a star runner at Hunter College High School in Manhattan in the mid-1980s, recalls Decker’s days as one of America’s biggest sports stars – she was SI’s 1983 Sportswoman of the Year – including her ill-fated showdown with Zola Budd in the 1984 Olympic 3,000-meter run.

Newsday’s John Jeansonne is among an interesting group of talking heads.

Lynch, whom The New York Times compared to Decker in 1984, when Lynch was 14, said the film allowed her to better understand her one-time athletic idol.

“As a fellow grownup I got to see more of the whole person,’’ Lynch said. “She has a sense of humor. She’s lovely. She has her insecurities, but she really has a lovely life.’’

 

     

    

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