They didn't win the 100-meter race, didn't even advance to the finals.
Yet in their preliminary heat at the 1982 NCAA track and field championships held at LSU, all eyes — and cameras — were focused on Georgia's Herschel Walker and correspondingly the guy who happened to be next to him, the University of Washington's Sterling Hinds.
They were a pair of football players, both running backs. They doubled as elite track and field sprinters, at their best in relay events.
Walker, already considered one of the college game's greatest rushers and the winner of the Heisman Trophy later that year, drew massive attention wherever he went, especially in the South.
The day before the race, UW sprint coach Clyde Duncan introduced Hinds to Walker in the LSU dormitory where they were staying. This was an eye-opening experience for the Canadian athlete by way of Seattle.
"When I met him, I thought he like was a shot putter or discus thrower because he was huge, just like a door," Hinds said of the hulking 6-foot-1 and 225-pound Herschel, race size for a sprinter.
He remembers how polite Walker was. He's never forgotten this guy's extremely high-pitched voice.
Hinds later was shocked to find they were not only entered in the same 100-meter heat, but assigned to adjoining running lanes.
In terms of success, this particular race would not rank among either guy's greatest track highlights.
Walker would finish as part of an SEC-winning 4x100 relay team while Hinds earned a bronze medal in the same event at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
Yet this college meet in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was a memorable time for the Husky athlete who later ran against Carl Lewis and alongside Ben Johnson.
In his gold track uniform and bib number 818, Hinds came from behind to nip Walker as the horde of sprinters came rushing over the finish line. Hinds placed maybe fourth, certainly out of the finals qualifiers, but he was ahead of Walker.
"He just exploded out of the blocks and had me by a good body length for sure," Hinds said. "I got into my running motion and chased him and ran him down at the finish line and ended up beating him."
They were not alone in their competitive exchange — after the event, this moment, not any championship won, graced the cover of a leading track and field magazine.
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