(photo by Errol Anderson)
By Christopher Hunt
The press conference just ended which is always a good time for a photo op. So Willie Gault backed up in front of a wall of Millrose Games and Visa logos and put his fist up, then Tim Dwight joined him in a fight stance, like two boxers poising for flashing cameras before a Vegas main event.
There might be more of that, more showmanship, sure, but sports are supposed to be about fun. And why not a little bit of showmanship? Meet organizers added a “Super 60” to the Millrose Games this year that’ will have five current and former NFL players to spike up and take the start line at Madison Square Garden Friday.
They could have made a show of it and had five of the biggest, roundest giant offensive linemen penguin across 60 meters. But instead, they’ll have a race with five Super Bowl veteran players known for their speed. Detroit Lions’ cornerback Phillip Buchanon, Anthony Dorsett, Jr., who played safety in Super Bowls for Oakland and Tennessee, Ryan Lacasse, who earned a ring in Indianapolis, former Jet Tim Dwight, who had a touchdown for Atlanta in its 1998 loss to Denver and Willie Gault, who won with Chicago in 1985 and is one of the fastest masters runners in the world.
Gault was part of two world record 4x100 relays – one with Tennessee University and one with Team USA at the 1983 World Championships in Helsinki. Gault set the world 100-meter record for the 45-49 age group in 2006, running 10.72 at age 45. Now at age 49, he still trains with H.S.I., a Los Angeles-based club with a world-class group of sprinters. Gault even competed at Millrose twice in college and once in the hurdles post-collegiately.
“I love to work out,” said Gault, who also danced with the Chicago ballet and won a gold medal at the 1998 World Bobsled Championships. “For me it’s like breathing. If you breathe, then you live. For me track, is like breathing.
Dwight was an all-American track athlete at Iowa. Two months after his Super Bowl game, where he ran back the fourth quarter kickoff, Dwight went back to the track team at the University of Iowa. There, he ran 10.3 in the 100 and 20.91 in the 200 and was an all-American on Iowa’s 4x100 and 4x400 relays.
Dwight, 34, has designed a special full-body, short-sleeved speed suit for the race, white with pinstripes and logo for his business, a solar solutions company called Integrated Power Incorporated. He bombed a 60-meter race in Iowa two weeks ago – his first in 10 years – stumbling out of the starting blocks and watching most of the race.
“I started laughing 20 meters before the finish line,” he said. “But I’m starting to feel in better shape and I’m hoping run faster here.”
Buchahon ran 10.5 in the 100 in high school at Lehigh in Florida and 21.8 in the 200. He’s been recorded at 4.3 for 40 yards. Dorsett, Jr., won the 1995 IC4A 55-meter championship. He clocked 6.28 in that race and also ran on school record 4x100 and 4x200 relays at Pittsburgh. Lacasse is the biggest. Listed at 6-2, 225 pounds, Lacasse also as a high school PR of 10.5 in the 100.
Asked who would win the race, Gault said, “Who ever gets to the finish line first.”
He also said that events like the Super 60 have a place at events even outside of track meets. Gault has been a proponent for visibility for the sport and opportunity for anyone who wants to race. He sued the International Olympic Committee in a federal suit after the USOC wouldn’t allow him to compete in the 1984 Olympic Games because he was playing for the Chicago Bears in a time when pro athletes couldn’t compete in the Games.
And for the record, Gault picked the Colts to win the Super Bowl. Dwight picked New Orleans.
Reach Christopher Hunt email@example.com.