The only thing that matters, is that on the day, you ran the time. If it is the fastest by an American born runner, it is still not the American Record. AW will not sleep tonight, wake up tomorrow with a big smile, try to read the French papers, run up the stairs instead of taking the elevator and yell out loud (so no one else can hear): "3:30.54!!!"
What I remember about 1988 Koblenz, West Germany race on a Sunday afternoon - My wife was in the stands; Steve Ovett (former WR holder and Gold medalist in the 1980 800m run in Moscos); Lost my spikes in Berlin on Friday night and wearing a brand new pair; Following Lewis Johnson of now TV reporter fame through in 1:50.5, then Ken Washington for the next 200.
And, I remember coming up to a lap to go, well away from the field, and thinking, 'When I hear the bell, I am going to bear down!' Instead, I heard a voice from the infield yell: "Jim, just relax." It was Sebastian Coe's voice, who had won the 800 earlier that night in 1:43. If my coach Mike Durking or Ken Popejoy would have yelled it, I would not have know what they meant. But, the person who yelled had run 3:29, 1:41, and multiple world records and 2 Golds and 2 Silvers to his credit. I relaxed, and came through in 2:49 and then 3:31.01. Pr by 3 seconds.
It was the time I ran on the day, and I thought I would run faster the next week. Never did.
My Nike contract had a bonus for times:
Under 3:34.00 - $500
Under 3:33.00 - $1000
Under 3:32.00 - $1500
Under 3:31.00 - $2000
Under 3:30.00 - $2500
Americcan Record (3:29.77) - $5000
So, I guess I received a check for $1500.
I had a picture taken by my wife that night at the hotel, with Steve Ovett on my right and Sebastian Coe on my left.
Alan Webb - 3rd fastest American ever. Great stuff - hope he runs below 3:30 - that would be great sauce, as my 16-year old son Sebastian would say.