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Thread: The Athletics Thread...

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    The Athletics Thread...

    So the London Olympics are just over a year away, which makes this year a crucial one for our Olympic hopefuls. We have the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea, at the end of August, the Diamond League which includes Powell v Gay (twice) in the UK and of course the prestigious () English Schools Championships all to come in the next few months. I thought we could kick off this discussion with our top 5 athletes of all time lists and take it from there.

    1. Michael Johnson. Not even close, the greatest athlete I've ever seen. And a great analyst too...

    2. Haile Gebrselassie. The greatest distance runner that there has ever been. What he has achieved in distance running will never be repeated.

    3. Sergei Bubka. Transformed the pole vaulting event and took it to levels that had never before been thought possible.

    4. Steve Ovett. The main reason I took up athletics as a kid. I wanted to run like him, I wanted to have his spikey personality. Some may say I achieved one of those things...

    5. Merlene Ottey. Competed in SEVEN Olympic Games, a truly incredible feat. Won an Olympic medal at the age of 38 and was still competing last year at the age of 50. Amazing woman.

    I feel bad that I have only included one female athlete, because there have been some great ones, but when I think of great athletes it is usually the men that come to mind first. Maybe a separate post will be needed for the greateset women in athletics...
    Last edited by Deutsch Wolf; 21st June 2011 at 12:30 PM.
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    There are plenty these days that I admire (Usain Bolt, Jessica Ennis and many others) but for now I will stick with the guys and girls that got me interested in track and field in the first place:

    Michael Johnson
    Steve Backley
    Carl Lewis
    Colin Jackson
    Roger Black

    Linford Christie would have been in there but he is a cock, as well as having a massive one.
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    I've posted that and put no girls!

    So Denise Lewis, Wolverhampton's own, can have her own mention and a picture:

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    Gebresellasie
    Seb Coe
    Rosa Mota
    Henry Ronoh
    Mark Spitz - are swimmers allowed, if not then
    Said Aouita

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    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMunro-371 View Post
    Gebresellasie
    Seb Coe
    Rosa Mota
    Henry Ronoh
    Mark Spitz - are swimmers allowed, if not then
    Said Aouita
    We'll have to start a separate thread for swimming, Frank! Some good athletes on your list. Henry Rono, that's a name I haven't heard in a while...Apparently he became an alcoholic, destitute and lived in a homeless shelter. Rather sad.

    I would add Miruts Yifter ('the Shifter') to your list of great distance runners.

    And Ed Moses to the list of great athletes. He won 122 consecutive races for crying out loud! Apparently he went 9 years, 9 months and 9 days without losing a race...
    Last edited by Toon Wolf; 2nd April 2011 at 11:23 PM.
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    Toon - what do you reckon of Mo Farah's chances in the Olympics? I read this week that he is intensifying his training even more and really focusing on 2012. I think he's a wonderful runner and an even better person, always comes across as an incredibly nice guy.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post
    Toon - what do you reckon of Mo Farah's chances in the Olympics? I read this week that he is intensifying his training even more and really focusing on 2012. I think he's a wonderful runner and an even better person, always comes across as an incredibly nice guy.
    I think he's the best distance runner we've had for a long, long time. He's a genuinely nice bloke and a great advert for British athletics. But he'll have a tough job breaking the African dominance in distance running. The Kenyans and Ethiopians are just too damned good. Those 2 nations could each put out at least three 5000m/10000m runners that would beat the rest of the world. I hope he does make it onto the podium in London, but making the final will be tough.
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    This is true. Winning the Europeans was great for him but it's the next level up for him now. Still, his story is inspiring.
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    Can I offer Emil Zatopek - truly incredible athlete in his time
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paddingtonwolf View Post
    Can I offer Emil Zatopek - truly incredible athlete in his time
    Indeed, as was Lasse Viren.
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    Question for you: Geoff Capes v Brendan Foster in a 100m race- who wins?
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    So, our medal hopes for 2012: (gold wise, anyway) limited to Jess, Paula Radcliffe (is she running) and erm....that's it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toon Wolf View Post
    Question for you: Geoff Capes v Brendan Foster in a 100m race- who wins?


    I've met Mr Capes, about eight years ago. He's a unit. I'd have to go with Mr Foster.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post
    So, our medal hopes for 2012: (gold wise, anyway) limited to Jess, Paula Radcliffe (is she running) and erm....that's it?
    Lisa Dobriskey, the relay teams, Jenny Meadows, Christine Ohurougu, Phillips Odowu, Dai Greene, Tasha Danvers all have chances of getting a medal. Of those I'd say Dobriskey and Odowu are the only ones with any chance of a gold. Odowu is a good bet, Dobriskey would have to run the race of her life but she is capable.

    Stephen Miller in the Paralympics is a dead cert for a gold.

    As for Paula, who knows if she'll be running. If she gets back her fitness she's certainly a gold medal contender.
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    Is there any reason why we don't produce good middle distance runners any more? Or was the 80s peak of Coe/Evott/Cram just a freak spike? As far as I can tell it's not like the long distance events where Africans dominate, it's a real mixed bag. But we haven't had anyone any good for 20 years or so now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post
    Is there any reason why we don't produce good middle distance runners any more? Or was the 80s peak of Coe/Evott/Cram just a freak spike? As far as I can tell it's not like the long distance events where Africans dominate, it's a real mixed bag. But we haven't had anyone any good for 20 years or so now.
    Dobriskey and Meadows plus Hannah England are all potential medallists, definite finalists in the women's middle distance events. In the men's Michael Rimmer has the ability to be a medal contender in the 800m but his race tactics are always so suspect that I'm not sure he ever will. He always seems to make a mistake in the final. Whether it's kicking too early or allowing himself to be boxed in at the 200m mark, I've never yet seen him get the race right when it mattered most. He's still young though, so there is time. He is another contender that is for sure, it's all about preparing correctly and getting it right on the day.
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    Paula Ratcliffe must be worth a mention i think

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post
    So, our medal hopes for 2012: (gold wise, anyway) limited to Jess, Paula Radcliffe (is she running) and erm....that's it?
    Quote Originally Posted by Toon Wolf View Post
    Lisa Dobriskey, the relay teams, Jenny Meadows, Christine Ohurougu, Phillips Odowu, Dai Greene, Tasha Danvers all have chances of getting a medal. Of those I'd say Dobriskey and Odowu are the only ones with any chance of a gold. Odowu is a good bet, Dobriskey would have to run the race of her life but she is capable.

    Stephen Miller in the Paralympics is a dead cert for a gold.

    As for Paula, who knows if she'll be running. If she gets back her fitness she's certainly a gold medal contender.
    Quote Originally Posted by manhattan project View Post
    Paula Ratcliffe must be worth a mention i think
    *cough*
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    Not really a fan of athletics but Sonia O Sullivan deserves a mention for her marathon running back in the 90's. Epic stuff back here in Ireland. Just dont mention Michelle Smith....
    Quote Originally Posted by James View Post

    I honestly didn't think people were that stupid...

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    Geoff Capes used to spend a bit of time in Penkridge, I assume he had friends there. You don't see him anymore, so I assume his friends have moved on.

    Edwin Moses was always top of my list of athletes.
    Last edited by Penk Wolf; 3rd April 2011 at 11:22 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toon Wolf View Post
    Question for you: Geoff Capes v Brendan Foster in a 100m race- who wins?
    Quote Originally Posted by Deutsch Wolf View Post


    I've met Mr Capes, about eight years ago. He's a unit. I'd have to go with Mr Foster.
    I'm assuming everyone agrees?
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    1.Carolina Kluft..a stroke of patriotism surely.Still..undefeated in the hepathlon(or whatever its called in english)as a senior,with the junior world record and the titles to match.3 straight WC golds,2 straight european championships and won the OG gold in the only games she ever attended.
    Has the second best personal result in the event,after Jackie Joyner Kersee..who of course was on strong substances most part of her career.

    2.Haile Gebrselassie..I don´t know just how many medals he has won,or the number of world records he has beaten.I don´t care.Just a fantastic athlete.

    3.Carl Lewis..leaves a bad taste since I am fully aware of that he most probably was on illegal drugs through his career.I shouldn´t rate him really..but the longjump in Atlanta 96 made me feel young again.

    4.Sergei Bubka..probably the most dominant in a single event.The pole vault jumper of all pole vault jumpers for now and probably forever.

    5.Jesse Owens..for stickin it to the nazis on their own home turf.100 meters champion long before the use of illegal substances and a great world record in the long jump beating the germans darling Lutz Long into second place.A small jump for mankind.

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    How on earth do athletes do the pole vault. I tried it once, and nearly did myself an injury...

    Toon, in my younger days I was an ok runner, and did a few marathons, though I preferred the half marathon. That is why I admire the long distance runners. As for Ronoh, he was a great runner, but what followed afterwards is very sad. Alcohol took over his life. I prefer to remember the great athlete.

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    He really only had one good year as I remember it.
    Took the world record from Swedens Anders Gärderud in the 3000 m steeplechase in 1977..so I have mixed emotions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nero Wolf View Post
    1.Carolina Kluft..a stroke of patriotism surely.Still..undefeated in the hepathlon(or whatever its called in english)as a senior,with the junior world record and the titles to match.3 straight WC golds,2 straight european championships and won the OG gold in the only games she ever attended.
    Has the second best personal result in the event,after Jackie Joyner Kersee..who of course was on strong substances most part of her career.

    2.Haile Gebrselassie..I don´t know just how many medals he has won,or the number of world records he has beaten.I don´t care.Just a fantastic athlete.

    3.Carl Lewis..leaves a bad taste since I am fully aware of that he most probably was on illegal drugs through his career.I shouldn´t rate him really..but the longjump in Atlanta 96 made me feel young again.

    4.Sergei Bubka..probably the most dominant in a single event.The pole vault jumper of all pole vault jumpers for now and probably forever.

    5.Jesse Owens..for stickin it to the nazis on their own home turf.100 meters champion long before the use of illegal substances and a great world record in the long jump beating the germans darling Lutz Long into second place.A small jump for mankind.
    Some really good choices there Nero. Kluft is/was an amazing multi-eventer. There won't be many more like her. Great call on Jesse Owens too. As for Carl Lewis, definitely tainted for me. Not just because he used drugs, but because he was so hypocritical about it, bleating on for years about drug cheats like Ben Johnson and portraying himself as cleaner than clean, only to be found out years later to have been cheating pretty much the whole time. Zero respect for him, I'm afraid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nero Wolf View Post
    He really only had one good year as I remember it.
    Took the world record from Swedens Anders Gärderud in the 3000 m steeplechase in 1977..so I have mixed emotions.
    I think that's a little unfair. He had several good years, but one GREAT year, 1978. 4 world records in just over two months. Incredible achievement.

    It raises another interesting discussion. It has been said that Usain Bolt could knock another tenth of a second (or more) off the 100m world record. However, the chances of him doing that in one race are very small because each time he breaks the record he gets a huge prize, therefore his aim is to beat the record in small increments in order to maximise his prize money. Bubka was the same in the pole vault years ago. Everyone knew he could smash the record if he chose to, but he increased it in 1cm increments in order to keep getting the prize money! Is that ethical, or should an athlete capable of breaking a world record just aim to beat the record by as much as they can?
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    Oh and for those of you who expressed an interest when I mentioned it on another thread, one of the athletes I coach who was aiming for the English Schools Championships this year injured his knee playing rugby (don't ask, I'm furious) the weekend before last and is now out for 6-8 weeks. Given the first round of qualification is a little over a month away he now has no chance of qualifying this year.
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    Toon as our resident athletics expert do you expect the 2012 Olympics to be 'clean'?

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    I don´t know how Toon sees it but for me there ain´t such a thing as a clean championship.
    The shortcuts and illegal methods is all over sports in general I think.
    The methods to detect the most flagrant cheaters has improved greatly though..so nowadays all it takes is a mistake to get caught.

    Still,the money´s too big and the chance of evading capture continues to be great..so the cheating continues.

    Just look at the records of Usain Bolt for example.I mean..is anyone with any type of knowledge of track and fields buying those?

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    I think Bolt is clean, more of a freak of nature.

    there is cycling in the olympics. that is the breeding ground for all the innovations to get round drug tests. from a personal point of view I hope WADA and the UCI nail Contador to the wall for his positive test. For Spanish cycling to let him off as he 'ate a steak from the one cow in europe high enough on clenbuterol to register a positive' is a disgrace.
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