When Ramsey first stepped onto the Waco campus, he was awestruck at the prospect of being around Johnson. "This was like a dream come true," Ramsey says. "Now it's an everyday thing. He's one of the guys. He doesn't want you to look at him any differently or treat him any differently than you would any other person. He's been a very good motivator for me. He stays behind me and he pushes me to do well."
There are differences, says coach Hart. "Marlon has some real possibilities as a sprinter. He doesn't have 19-point 200 speed like Michael Johnson does, but I think he can run in the low 20s with the right training. Marlon's a different type of runner than Michael. He has half-miler strength, which Michael doesn't have."
On one point, Ramsey bears a strong similarity to the volunteer coach who is the world's top long sprinter: "He's a competitor," says Hart. "I used to think he was hot-dogging it because he got so mad when he lost. But now I know he really does get mad when he loses. And that's a good quality for an athlete."
Ramsey says he learned some valuable lessons in 1995. "I matured a lot," he concedes. "I learned patience, mostly. I learned you have to work through injuries. You have to keep your own head on straight, continue to work hard and maybe your time will come."
Last spring, when teammate Deon Minor got injured before the Southwest Conference meet, Ramsey stepped into the void. "He won the conference championship [in 45.99]," says Hart." I think he saw that he was needed."
Ramsey followed with an NCAA runner-up finish. The top U.S. finisher there, he covered the distance in 44.74, a Baylor freshman record. Then came his 5th at the USA Championships, followed by a win at the Olympic Festival.
In Gothenburg, Ramsey got his first chance to represent the United States internationally. He ran leadoff on the gold medal-winning 4 x 400 squad, which was anchored by Johnson. "That was my biggest moment," says Ramsey.
Hart forecasts a better year for Ramsey in 1996. "Last year there was always something wrong: minor injuries and distractions," Hart says. "He never got in the training like we wanted him to. This year, he's had an extremely good fall. I think he learned a lot last year from being around world-class talent."
Just a sophomore at Baylor, his major still undecided, Ramsey has a decidedly bright future ahead of him. He refuses to predict what he's capable of in the Olympic year: "I want to get this collegiate season out of the way, then I'll worry about post-season activities."
Born September 11, 1974 in Galveston, Tx 5-9/1.75m 145/65kg West Brook HS (Beaumont, Tx) '94 Baylor '98 PRs (outdoor): 200--21.08 '94 400--44.74 '95 PRs (indoor): 400--45.86 '96 600y--1:11.02 '95 Major Meets (400): 1995 2)NCAA 1995 5)USA 1996 3)USA Indoor Major Relays: 1995 4)NCAA Indoor 4 x 400  1995 1)World Championships 4 x 400