The pull of history over the 400-meter hurdles

LONDON -- Virtually everyone, even those who have only a passing knowledge of track and field, knows Edwin Moses. In the 1970s and 1980s, Moses was unbeatable. Literally. He won 122 straight races in the 400-meter hurdles. He won Olympic gold in the event in Montreal in 1976 and again in Los Angeles in 1984; surely the U.S.-led boycott of the Games in Moscow in 1980 was the only thing that prevented him from gold there, too. In 1988, in Seoul, Moses won bronze.

On Monday night, Angelo Taylor -- out in Lane 4 -- felt the weight, the pull, of history. The Olympic champion in the 400-meter hurdles in 2000 in Sydney and again in Beijing in 2008, he had the opportunity to tie or even surpass the great Edwin Moses.

There is a reason the late filmmaker Bud Greenspan used to say that the most interesting stories at the Olympics arrive in fourth or fifth place.

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