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Fellow phenom films 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 is rare in my line of work that a male finds himself vastly outnumbered, but so it was Tuesday as ESPN introduced "Nine for IX,’" a series of documentaries by and about women tied to Title IX's 40th anniversary.

The lineup is impressive, with films about Pat Summitt, Katarina Witt, Sheryl Swoopes (directly by Hannah Storm) and Venus Williams, and about the history of female sportswriters in locker rooms.

More on all of the above when the series starts July 2, but my personal highlight was catching up with Shola Lynch, whose film on Mary Decker brought together two former middle-distance phenoms.

It was the first time I had spoken to Lynch since covering her as a star runner for Manhattan's Hunter College High School . . . in 1987!  Unlike me, Lynch, 43, doesn't look much older than she did then.

The film inevitably covers the 3,000-meter run at the 1984 Olympics, when Zola Budd inadvertently tripped Decker.

"That's what people remember her for, which I think is a travesty," said Lynch, who as a teen often was compared to Decker, and often misunderstood her.

"As a fellow grownup I got to see more of the whole person. She has a sense of humor. She's lovely. She has her insecurities. But she has a really lovely life."



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