The Hurdler


I was filming a Kodak spot for the Los Angeles Olympics and we had some authentic Olympic hopefuls. The amateur conditions had relaxed quite a bit and the athletes were allowed to accept remuneration for their work under ‘training expenses’ or something like that. Edwin Moses’ training must have been expensive because he showed up driving (or being driven in) a Mercedes sedan with a license plate that said OLYMPIAN.


One of the scenes was one of a sort-of failure (isn’t failure just failure?). A female heptathlete stumbles in a competition. The girl we chose did a great job, expression perfect.

The commercials were a great success. Richie Havens did the tracks and that helped a lot.

Some years go by (many?) and I’m filming on a running track on a junior college around LA. I don’t remember what it was for, but a female coach came over to me. She looked familiar, but not that familiar.

Do you remember me?

Help me.

I filmed a Kodak spot with you.

For the LA Olympics?


You were the heptathlete.


How have you been?

Fine. I coach track and field here.


You jinxed me.


I was the girl that stumbles in the commercial.

I remember that. I loved that commercial. You did a great job. The expression on your face was real.

Too real.

What do you mean?

I didn’t make the Olympics.


No. I kept that scene in my mind- failure. I could never get rid of it for some reason. It affected me.

There was nothing I could say after that.