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The downfall of Western European T&F

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  • #46
    Re: The downfall of Western European T&F

    Originally posted by nevetsllim
    I think Decker's ban was overturned?
    It wasn't. USATF reinstated her, but IAAF confirmed the ban. She lost her silver from the 1997 WIC.
    Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...

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    • #47
      Originally posted by eldrick
      Originally posted by rasb
      Eldy,
      I seem to recall some pretty big names in distance running coming from Countries such as Norway, Belgium, Finland and Portugal.
      well rasb,

      norway - rodahl from 12y ago & he woudn't have won if kip was there

      finland - it's 24y ago since likes of vainio, maininka

      portugal - ribero 12y ago & was lucky to beat an inexplicably poor wang & as soon as the thopys came thru in numbers, she got crushed

      belgium - are we going all the way back to puttemans 32y ago ?

      these countries eras were so long ago it's hardly woth remembering
      In terms of medalists yes but these countries had guys who were competitive.

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      • #48
        I think the decline in Western Europe is a trend that should concern us all. How long will Finns, Germans, Belgians, French, etc. support their great track meets when their own countrymen are no longer competitive? This is what happened in North America 40 years ago and it is about to happen in Western Europe. Also, importing "instant" citizens from Africa or Eastern Europe will have no more effect than it has in Qatar and Bahrain -- i.e. the public doesn't see them as "our" athletes.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by Jacksf
          I don't necessarily agree with this statement.
          Africa was even more primitive and isolated at that time, and without Western training methods, I don't think their athletes could have beaten Europe's best.
          Oh those poor Africans. Can they do anything without western help ?
          Geez Louize !
          Firstly training for distance events is not rocket science despite how much people here try to make it.
          And think of John Ngugi who had only 2 or 3 years of schooling, could barely read, trained on his own, did not interact much with other runners and wound up winning 4 world cross country titles and an Olympic gold

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          • #50
            Originally posted by eldrick

            i'm not too sure about "western" training methods - likes of keino/abebe/jipcho/kipkurgat/boit/bayi/yifter/etc either won golds/broke wrs/almost broke wrs with whatever training they had in '60s/'70s - i doubt the african coaches were taking phd's in lydiard/daniels back then
            The guy who opened the floodgates was, of course, Abebe Bikila. That breakthrough may have occurred regardless, but Bikila was, in fact, trained with "Western training methods" by his Finland-born Swede coach Onni Niskanen. He would very likely have been familiar with the methods of both the Flying Finns and his own Swedish coaches (he was a national-class distance runner for them in the '30s).

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            • #51
              rich

              did same apply to kenyans of '60s/'70s ?

              Comment


              • #52
                Re: The downfall of Western European T&F

                Originally posted by Jaack
                I had no idea about some of those guys!
                Kenta Bell? :shock:
                Crystal Cox?
                MARY DECKER?????? :shock:
                Dreschler?? :shock:
                Greg Foster?? :shock: :shock:
                Natasha Myers
                MARY ONYALI???????? :shock: :cry:
                Prokhorova?
                Well, that document isnt totally accurate as Drechsler has never admitted to steroid use. There was a big palava a few years ago when she competed in Glasgow indoors (2001?) and the UK press misquoted her condemnation of the GDR system. However, what she actually said was the evidence shows that doping existed for some athletes in the GDR, which is true. But she's never admitted knowingly taking anything.

                As for some of the others, Jaack, get with it!

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                • #53
                  Germany had an atrocious games, but it's peaks and troughs - I'm sure they'll come back again another year and win medals in the womens JT (again), the mens and womens SP, the mens PV...

                  I think events where Germany has a strong tradition, like the technical throwing events, have seen countries like Belarus overtake them.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Brettboy
                    Germany had an atrocious games, but it's peaks and troughs - I'm sure they'll come back again another year and win medals in the womens JT (again), the mens and womens SP, the mens PV...
                    Yes, they are probably going to be stronger in Berlin next year, but their talent pool has become much shallower in recent years. There is very little to get excited about in running events in general - and women's sprints in particular are shockingly weak these days. No one under 23.5 at 200 this year :shock: Did DLV decide they were not going to win medals on the track and start to invest in field events only?
                    Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by Powell
                      Yes, they are probably going to be stronger in Berlin next year, but their talent pool has become much shallower in recent years. There is very little to get excited about in running events in general - and women's sprints in particular are shockingly weak these days. No one under 23.5 at 200 this year :shock: Did DLV decide they were not going to win medals on the track and start to invest in field events only?
                      Yes, the women's sprints have been really poor. I think there are a few reasons for this: for starters their dope testing policy is excellent, far better than in countries such as Belarus, Jamaica, USA, Russia etc - other big sprint nations who are now way ahead of them. There's also been a change in the guard these last few years - Andrea Philip, Melanie Paschke, the Rockmeier twins all retired within a couple of years of each other, only leaving Marion Wagner from that era still active in the short sprints, while Feller and Rohlander alos retired, and Rucker is now 36. Esther Moller also appears to have retired after injuries, while Sina Schielke and Nadine Hentschke are pregnant/injured. Then there's the whole image of athletics, a lot of young women simply do not take the sport up anymore.

                      I suppose a consolation is that the German women made the 4x1 and 4x4 finals, beating Ukraine and Poland on times in the latter. They have a genuine talent in Verena Sailer, and with Schielke and Hentschke hopefully back to full fitness a 4x1 team of Schielke, Tschrich/Hentschke, Sailer and Wagner should, in theory, be threatening for medals like Russia, and not be 'also rans'.
                      They also have young talents like Janin Lindenberg & Sonia Nwachwkwu, both just 21, who have run 52.9 and 52.6 this season. With Marx back from injury, and looking at Hoffman's 50.1 from the heats in the 4x4, they could have a half decent 4x4 team, capable of making the final again, but definately not a medal threat.

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Brettboy
                        They also have young talents like Janin Lindenberg & Sonia Nwachwkwu, both just 21, who have run 52.9 and 52.6 this season. With Marx back from injury, and looking at Hoffman's 50.1 from the heats in the 4x4, they could have a half decent 4x4 team, capable of making the final again, but definately not a medal threat.
                        Which is still light-years away from the elite, same for Jonna Tilgner. There is no professional environment to be an athlete in Germany right now and unless that changes - basically until more money is available - it's not going to get better. The standards should be a lot higher than they are and I wish the officials and media would focus less on doping allegations and concentrate on getting back to where they once were.

                        Now that we have reached the lowest point imaginable you would think that there are going to be major changes, but I'm not even sure if that is really that going to happen.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Well the first thing the DLV needs to do is change it's ridiculous selection policy. The cut off was way too early, insisting on two qualifying marks was simply daft, and targetting certain qualifying meets just restricts where the athletes compete - they need more international competition, but instead they focus on the german meets.

                          Tilgner ran sub 52 over 400m, and on that form she should take at least 0.5 off her 400mh PB, which is 55.7

                          Lindenberg and Nwachwkwu may not be elite, but they are world class, and only 21. The latter's 51.5 relay leg was 1.1 fasTer than her PB, (take note, TBO!) and shows there is talent there.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            Originally posted by eldrick
                            rich

                            did same apply to kenyans of '60s/'70s ?
                            I do not know the answer to that. I'm sure others here know who trained the likes of Kip and co. Like I said, though, it probably would have occurred regardless, but Abebe was the first guy. The one who really opened the world's eyes to the possibilities, especially those of his fellow Africans.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Brettboy
                              Well the first thing the DLV needs to do is change it's ridiculous selection policy. The cut off was way too early, insisting on two qualifying marks was simply daft, and targetting certain qualifying meets just restricts where the athletes compete - they need more international competition, but instead they focus on the german meets.

                              Tilgner ran sub 52 over 400m, and on that form she should take at least 0.5 off her 400mh PB, which is 55.7

                              Lindenberg and Nwachwkwu may not be elite, but they are world class, and only 21. The latter's 51.5 relay leg was 1.1 fasTer than her PB, (take note, TBO!) and shows there is talent there.
                              It looks like we have different definitions of "world class". I won't consider anything but sub 51 world class and even that might not be enough. There are only a handful worldclass athletes in each discipline and none of the German sprinters, actually anyone on the track, belongs to that category.

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                Most of the successful "early" Africans were for the most part coached by Europeans and/or used European methods. They didn't just run around playing games. The rise in African success began as track was hitting the skids in popularity in Europe. While I believe there is no doubt E. Africans have a higher percentage of talented people when it comes to the 3k thru the 10k - amd a fair percentage of them actually give running a go, there are no doubt more than just a couple of European descended guys with the innate talent or ability to run a sub 13 5k or what have you. They probably aren't involved in our favorite sport. They probably are damn good at Halo or Crysis on the Xbox or PC - or they're mountain biking or what ever. Look at the turn out for National Cross Country events in GB. I can remember an article in a British paper a few years ago lamenting the fact that only a couple hundred kids or so were lined up for the National XC when back in the late 70's to the early 80's the numbers were in the thousands, then they began to decline rapidly. Many people also point out the sudden surge in fast times by the Africans with certain individuals with apparently shady pasts and shadier character getting involved coincided with the arrival of EPO etc but that's for another thread or board. Soccer is a huge culprit these days in nabbing some potential talent, it's a far bigger call now then it was a couple of decades ago, even in countries that were always soccer mad. I couldn't help but notice the gasp and then cheers when Beckham appeared during the Closing Ceremonies in Beijing. Maybe KB could get a roar like that in Addis Ababa or maybe Bolt could receive the same in Kingston, but Soccer is King. In the US the X-Games 'stars' are more well known than Tyson Gay or Jeremy Wariner.

                                I suppose it is frustrating for a lot of distance fans right now, and the lack of confidence in the few Western runners out there (I won't get into sociology here) doesn't help. It's along the lines of the frustration these days among the Kenyans when the Ethiopians with their smaller numbers in terms of "team size" come out and knock them silly.

                                It isn't only the distance events that are in decline in the West however. Overall participation and interest in the sport seems to be down. There are so many things going on that I guess a simple way to put it is to say that the attention of youngsters in the US and Western Europe is divided, although there are other factors, including that fact that with more of the world competing, everyone's share of the pie becomes smaller. Look at what's happened in boxing. Some claim for instance that the heavyweight division is dead because it's no longer ruled by inner-city black Americans. More of it has to do with the sport expanding - it was in decline by the 1940's in fact, and for decades most of the people fighting were from poor urban areas of the US with small pockets here and there around the world also contributing fighters. Now the sport has taken off - also helped by the rise of MMA I believe. With that, the heavyweights are now bigger and stronger, and strength and some other factors have become more of a premium than speed and other skills. The E. European heavyweights are simply far stronger than their US counterparts, but very few people like to admit this or comment on it. The fighters know this however. In the lower weight divisions from 150 lbs on down, Hispanics have almost completely taken over just as from 150 lbs on up most of the champions are now of European extraction, despite American TV doing its best to give the impression that the status quo is still in place, that the US rules the ring. Unlike a shortage of kids getting into track in the West, there isn't a shortage of fighters in the US, the gyms are more crowded than ever. It's more competition. Even if more kids in the US or W. Europe get into track, there is going to be more competition out there.

                                So in track, we have more people competing from some areas, along with a drop in competitors and interest in other places, like W. Europe. I'm not sure what the sport could do in the West to increase popularity - unless the money handed out becomes as outrageous as it is in other sports. The mindset that's in place among a lot of people will have to change also - coaches in many sports slot whites these days just as blacks were and are slotted, and there is a lot of "can't" told to white youngsters. I doubt Jeremy Wariner is the only white guy out there with the physiology that allows him to pull the trigger on a sub 44, but how much of that "talent pool" has been ignored or just not been interested in the sport because they are told or believe they can't do something? I think a lot of kids of all stripes have been affected by this type of thinking in many sports, and in track, it's the pale kids who get the brunt of this type of thinking. On the other hand, I have little doubt more than a few black kids in the US get this if they decide they want to be a pole vaulter for instance.

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