The 1988 Summer Olympic Games were quite a success for the
United States, especially with representatives like Greg Louganis,
Carl Lewis, Florence Griffith-Joyner, and Matt Biondi. Photo courtesy Associated Press.
Although Canadian Ben Johnson clocked the fastest time, he allegedly was using steroids and was thus disqualified, moving Carl
Lewis (far right) up to receive the gold medal. Photo courtesy
Thousands were in attendance as the opening ceremonies got under way. The torch, burning intensely, signified the heated competition that was present in each of the representatives from
around the world. Photo courtesy Associated Press.
Winning a gold medal is quite
an accomplishment, but winning
a gold medal at the Olympic
Games is even better. Track star
Joe Deloach now knows that feeling quite well. As an underdog at
the 1988 Summer Olympic
Games, held in Seoul, Korea,
Deloach turned a long-time
dream into reality, beating out
friend, foe and obvious favorite
choice Carl Lewis in the 200 meter dash. His time of 19.75 seconds tied Lewis' U. S. record.
Deloach first became interested in running competively as a
child in Bay City. "I was the fastest kid on the block; I was the
fastest kid around; I was the fasted kid in the state (in high school,
he won the state championship) " he says. Now, he's one of
the fastest men in the world.
Deloach attends the University
of Houston majoring in Accounting, although he plans to switch
over to Physical Education.
"Ultimately, I want to coach," he
says. Although he plans to continue running, he will no longer
represent UH in collegiate meets
because the NCAA does not allow
athletes to receive money while
competing on the collegiate level.
He recently signed to endorse
Mizuno, a Japanese company,
and more endorsements are likely to follow.
Although Deloach and Carl
Lewis are fiercely competitive,
they have managed to remain
very close friends. "We train together, we have the same coach,
and we can relate to each other
real well," Deloach says. When
on the track, neither one lets personal feelings get in the way —
they're both out to win. When off
the track, no competition exists
— they're just friends who like to
have a good time. They even poke
fun of each other at times, but
never in an antagonistic way.
Deloach views the '88 Summer
Olympics as a success for the U.
S. team and a stepping stone for
himself. "I won the gold the firs
time out and so, people's expec
tations of me have increased," h(
says. For himself, he wants to b<
the best that he can possibly be
and, like many of us, wants to
leave a mark. When asked wha
held the most significance fo*
him at the Olympics, he responded that it was the drug issue. "I:
was significant because of tho
stand taken against it. I think it'll
be good for the younger athlete is
to see that drugs are a dead-end,"
Deloach feels positive about th i
direction his life is going. He will
continue his education, do endorsements, and run professionally. He's happy right now and h i
owes it to his family, especially
his parents to whom he dedicated
his gold medal. "Without them,
wouldn't be where I'm at today,"
he says. Perhaps Joe, but with
your talent and ambition, you'd
probably be close. ► Henry
268 ■ Sports
Often the busy schedule Deloach talks
about involves his practice. He says he has
had to practice a lot to get where he is now.
Photo by Mark Lacy.
Gold medalist Joe Deloach takes time from
his busy schedule to sit down and talk about
his life, his triumphs and disappointments.
Photo by Mark Lacy.
Olympics ■ 269