This is Jeff Benjamin’s piece on Steve Scott, the former AR holder in the mile at 3:47.69, the 1983 WC Helsinki Silver medalist at the 1,500m, and a man who ran just over 110 sub-four-minute miles.
40 Years Later, Steve Scott Reflects On His 3:47.69 Mile & The Future For Americans In The Mile!
By Jeff Benjamin
Four decades ago this week on July 7th, 1982, , an American came within 3/10ths of a second from breaking the world record in the Mile and it sure was not surprising to the hardcore fans of the Sport at the time!
If one looks at his complete body of work, Steve Scott stands out as possibly America’s Greatest Miler.
In a career lasting more than a decade, Scott competed at the top of his game year in and year out both on the indoor & outdoor world-class track circuit, taking on the likes of Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, Steve Cram, John Walker, Ray Flynn along with the rest of the World’s best!
This writer remembers Scott’s 7:39 3000 meters American Record indoor performance against Morocco’s Said Aouita, finishing just a hair behind the Moroccan on the wooden boards in the Meadowlands! After that race, Steve graciously answered my questions and mentioned that Oslo was the best place to race. “Besides the crowds cheering you on, the fresh oxygen from all the trees around Bislett stadium helped as well.”
A Silver medalist behind Cram in the Inaugural 1983 World Championships 1500 in Helsinki, Scott, who nowadays lives in Texas and works out regularly took the time to reflect t on his mile performance on that magical night in Oslo 40 years ago and the future of American Milers. It is amazing to look and see Scott’s 3:47.69 still stands as the #2 American performance behind Alan Webb’s 3:46.91, set 25 years later in 2007!
1) The 3:47.69 truly stands out as a remarkable performance yet except for Alan Webb – no American has run faster- why do you think that is?
“There are fewer mile races for sure, but I ran several of my sub 3:50 miles at Oslo and I believe they have a mile every year. Maybe Americans don’t have the credentials to get into the fast miles, at least not yet. However, we have 2 athletes who I think will run sub 3:47 real soon, Cole Hocker and Cooper Teare!”
2) In your competitive era, the Mile was looked upon as a worldwide marquis event – Can the Mile ever reach that top-level again?
“Like we talked about, the athletes need to be marketed, but we also need someone who can come close to the American record, or world record, not just win a medal in a slow race. If you have a dominant American miler, you will get live network TV.”
Bell Lap – Here is John Ortega’s wonderfully detailed piece on Steve Scott’s 3:47.69 race!
Here’s the video of that race!