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What do you consider world class?

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  • What do you consider world class?

    The term world class is used way too often when referring to athletes. How do you define world class? Do you deem athletes "world class" based on the top 10/25/50 performances on the year-end world list or do you compare the athletes marks with the all-time lists? Is it based on a subjective time/height/distance? Do you base it on performance in major championships or how the athlete fared against the competition in the same era? Or is it a little bit of everything?

    For example, I consider someone "world class" mostly on a subjective time/distance/height, or course taking into account performance in major championships. So for me it's something like this:

    100 - sub 10.05
    200 - sub 20.10
    400 - sub 44.8
    800 - sub 1:44
    1500 - sub 3:32
    5K - sub 13:10

    Would like to hear how others define world class.

  • #2
    Re: What do you consider world class?

    I think we may have reached a point where you have to be sub-13 in the 5K for world class. Which boggles my mind, considered 13 hadn't yet been breached when I started watching track only 20 years ago.
    "Run fast and keep turning left."

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    • #3
      Re: What do you consider world class?

      Wow! You must have very high standards :-) I just checked an all-time list and there are only 107 sub 13 5Ks ever...and Geb, Komen and Salah Hissou have more than a 1/3 of them!

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      • #4
        Re: What do you consider world class?

        "world class", IMHO, in the context of US athletes, means good enough to compete as a member of a national team. Seems simple.

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        • #5
          Re: What do you consider world class?

          I'm not sure I'd use marks to determine "world class." I'd say top 10-20 in each event are "world class." I would also say they're position in the last has to be consistent over some period of time, say a season.

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          • #6
            Re: What do you consider world class?

            A subjective term, no doubt. I think you are _____-class if you are competitive against that level of competition.

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            • #7
              Re: What do you consider world class?

              To go along with 1.97hjsteve & joel, I think you must be world-class if promoters invite you to meets that include other competitors of the highest level. In essence, if you are world-class, you will be invited to the world's top invitational meets and you will represent your country in WC's & OG's. I do understand that agents and other things play into this, but in my mind, this constitutes world-class.

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              • #8
                Re: What do you consider world class?

                I've had a simplistic litmus test for x-class for years: whatever the length of T&FN's year-end lists is. If you make those lists you've got a chance to qualify for the various Championships, and that's good enough for me.

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                • #9
                  Re: What do you consider world class?

                  Good question. There are a lot of ways to look at this, not the least of which is going by the lists presented in TFN. I think 1:44, rather than sub 1:44 is world class for the 800, though.

                  If you can make the top 30 on the lists for most events, you are truly, well usually, world class. At least for that year.

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                  • #10
                    Re: What do you consider world class?

                    The problem with focusing in on a specific time/distance, like say your 1:44, is that you get hung up on round numbers.

                    Thus it was for years (in the English world) that a 7-foot high jumper or sub-4:00 miler got a disproportionate amount of praise for not really being any better than somebody in an event that didn't have quite the same benchmark available.

                    Metric/english differences also skew the field events. You might think of 55-feet as a good place to start calling a men's triple jumper world class, but a European would be likely to say 17m (55-10.5), which is a lot different.

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                    • #11
                      Re: What do you consider world class?

                      i actually agree with the original list. it seems so hard especially for some of the best american/european runners. krumm ran 1:43 and 3:31 last year. he's ran constantly around 1:47 or better this season including a 1:45 at the world indoors. he's world class for sure in the 800 and 1500.

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                      • #12
                        Re: What do you consider world class?

                        I like the year-end list approach too. I have a hard time going with the national team approach because it's too simplistic. Some events the US is very strong and there are athletes not making the team who are still among the top 10/20 in the world. In other events the US is weak and the athletes wouldn't even make the C or D squad of another nation.

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                        • #13
                          Re: What do you consider world class?

                          Here's an obvious way . . . you're world class if you are either in the World Rankings or seriously considered for them.

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                          • #14
                            Re: What do you consider world class?

                            I would REALLY be interesting to hear what ghill's (and/or other t&fn staffers) take on this is ... at least for me

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                            • #15
                              Re: What do you consider world class?

                              >Here's an obvious way . . . you're world class if
                              >you are either in the World Rankings or seriously
                              >considered for them.

                              That's too restrictive, in my opinion. For example, there are more than 10 world class Kenyan marathoners.

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