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  • A poor U.S. performance?

    Yes, there were some obvious let-downs by the U.S. in areas where we expected to excel, but it's worth noting: The USA team still led the world in medals (23, versus 18 for Russia and 14 for Kenya) and gold medals (7; Russia and Jamaica each had 6).
    "Run fast and keep turning left."

  • #2
    Re: A poor U.S. performance?

    Originally posted by trackstar
    Yes, there were some obvious let-downs by the U.S. in areas where we expected to excel, but it's worth noting: The USA team still led the world in medals (23, versus 18 for Russia and 14 for Kenya) and gold medals (7; Russia and Jamaica each had 6).
    You could say that. What was the worst performance for the U.S. in the Olympics? 21 in 1972? That was obviously with fewer events. There are 47 events on the schedule now (24 men, 23 women).

    How did we do at last year's World Championships? What was our best Olympic performance? I consider 2 medals for every 3 events as a measuring rod. There will obviously be events where we have almost no chance of getting a medal; but there are some where we could have and should have done much better, even if only for 4th or 5th place, especially in the events where we didn't even qualify but should have (m800, mHJ, mLJ, mTJ, w800, both 4x100s). 30 medals is within our capability, even if the individual sprint results remained the same.

    Of course, there are other issues to describe how badly the U.S. did or how unlucky the U.S. team was this time out.
    http://deseretnews.com/article/1,5143,700253830,00.html

    Comment


    • #3
      does anyone have a breakdown for all olympics and world championships
      of medal tables...

      say 3 points for a gold..2 for silver and 3 for bronze...

      i think some metric like that could be used...

      you can standardize it by using % of points available..

      so 6 points per event and total number of events gives you a max number of available points...

      so different number of events get standardized in this fashion

      Comment


      • #4
        You really need to look at our performances in the field events at Beijing. It wasn't good. For the first time in history, we did not have any finalist in the men's long jump, men's discus, men's triple jump, and the men's high jump. There have been times where we did not get a finalist in one of those events, but in Beijing we did not have a finalist in all four of them. I understand about injuries (like Adam Nelson in the shot), but something is wrong when we don't even get a finalist in these events. I say our performance in Beijing was weak, even though we did have more medals than any other nation.

        Comment


        • #5
          you can look at usa performance from a statistical perspective if you wish...

          it's all about expectation...

          you take each american in any event and you need to define an expected level of performance, a placement in eny event...

          then see how they actually performed, their actual placement...

          see how the actual compares to the expected performance...

          trafton and flanagan over performed...

          as did ritz...

          that's one approach..

          don't forget about the mens 400/400h sweeps and the 110h perfomances...

          once gay was hurt, did you really expect him to medal??

          felix got a silver....just because you get hyped, did that really mean you're better.....

          same story with richards....

          all in all, i think usa t&f is in better than decent shape...

          american distance running is better than any other time in the past 30-40 years... collectively...male and female...

          Comment


          • #6
            On the front page, there are two headlines that both link to the same URL, a European Athletics listing of lots of facts/figures from Beijing and comparisons to other Oly's and last year's World Championships. Here are US medal totals from the last four global championships:

            2008 2007 2005 2004
            7-9-7 14-4-8 14-8-3 8-12-5

            So, we have 23, 26, 25 and 25 total medals, surely pretty close, the differences explainable just by random chance. In 2007, we won all four relays, but in '05 and this year, both 4 x 100s got DQ'd or DNF. A couple of more medals in those relays, and we would be looking at 25, 26, 27 and 25, even closer.

            Obviously, the biggest difference is in the gold medals. Take away three golds by Tyson Gay and two by Bernard Lagat from last year's 14. Along came Usain Bolt and Tyson Gay got injured. Bernard Lagat was not in his best form, and his races were much faster.

            The point I am trying to make here is that there is not necessarily anything systematically wrong with US Athletics, except for the sprint-relay situation. Sometimes a country performs better than expected (US 2005, Kenya this year, perhaps), sometimes worse. When that happens, the administrators get much credit, or blame, as the case may be. Read some of the posts from the Brits. It's a national tragedy! In 2004, the UK was listed 3rd in the "Top 5 Results" list, with 3-0-1. I don't know whether that was considered a "success" by British Athletics fans, but it doesn't take much to turn 3 golds into none. A couple of people retire, and there's no one to replace them at the time.

            All of this agonizing over national results seems so pointless to me. I don't think a country should be judged by the number of medals it wins in sports, especially Athletics, which by its nature is not a team sport at all, except for the relay events. I don't think the US should make any special effort to develop distance runners, or javelin throwers, or race walkers. I do think, however, that we should endeavor to get sprint relay teams on the track that are well-coached and have practiced enough to have a 90% probability of getting the stick around without dropping it or getting disqualified.

            On that note, I am bringing up-to-date the "Brief History of Relay Gaffes" item from the 2005 World Champs issue of T&F News:

            '60 men's 4 x 100 finishes first, probably setting a WR, but DQ'd
            (an amazingly long period without any disasters, but of course only 4 OG)
            '83 4 x 4 I don't really count this, as it had nothing to do with exchanging the baton; the third runner fell after a collision with another runner
            '88 men's 4 x 1 DQ'd in heat
            '91 women's 4 x 4 drops baton in heat, DNF
            '95 men's 4 x 1 DQ'd in heat
            '97 men's 4 x 1 DQ'd in heat
            '01 women's 4 x 4 anchor drops stick while leading, team finishes 4th
            '04 women's 4 x 1 DQ'd in final
            '05 men's 4 x 1 DNF heat
            '05 women's 4 x 4 DQ'd in heat for multiple violations
            '08 women's 4 x 1 DQ'd in heat
            '08 men's 4 x 1 DNF heat

            It's not just the US, of course, as fully one-third of the 48 team/races were either DQ'd or DNF, including the heavily-favored Jamaican women, sporting two gold medalists and two silver medalists. With the US out of the race and no other team capable of sub-42 seconds, they could have used very safe passes and still won.

            A well-drilled relay team, it seems to me, should have a "safe" and a "go-for-it" plan, and be able to implement either one, depending on the competition.
            Cheers,
            Alan Shank

            Comment


            • #7
              7-9-7 14-4-8 14-8-3 8-12-5


              using points this converts into

              2008 46
              2007 58
              2005 61
              2004 53

              so in that approace 3-2-1 scoring beijing is the least successful..

              but thw image that t&f sucked in beijing is plain wrong...

              i suspect berlin 2009, we'll get another data point to measure things

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by az2004
                does anyone have a breakdown for all olympics and world championships
                of medal tables...

                say 3 points for a gold..2 for silver and 3 for bronze...

                i think some metric like that could be used...

                you can standardize it by using % of points available..

                so 6 points per event and total number of events gives you a max number of available points...

                so different number of events get standardized in this fashion
                I think you mean 3 for gold, 2 for silver and 1 for bronze. Overall, Chinese barely beat us out.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: A poor U.S. performance?

                  Originally posted by trackstar
                  Yes, there were some obvious let-downs by the U.S. in areas where we expected to excel, but it's worth noting: The USA team still led the world in medals (23, versus 18 for Russia and 14 for Kenya) and gold medals (7; Russia and Jamaica each had 6).
                  It's all relative and I'd say this was a sub par performance for the US considering expectations going into the games. But certainly nothing to panic about.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Alan Shank has documented the situation pretty accurately, IMHO.

                    The double relay debacle is both unacceptable and not too surprising.

                    To me the field events were most problematic... some big names stumbled and some others with great potential did not step up to the levels required.

                    I'm guessing we'll be mulling over the dismal results in the jumps and throws for a long time to come.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Three words: men's field events.

                      If that wasn't a disappointment I don't know what would be. Given the performances through the year, there was every reason to expect far more than 1 silver medal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This depends entirely on how you measure performance. If performance is something that is based on how the U.S. does in medal count, then I can't see the U.S. ever again not being dominant in track and field in my lifetime.

                        However, if you measure it against expectations, then it's entirely different.

                        I tend to use the latter measure for performance myself.

                        For example, Togo got one bronze medal in the entire Olympics this year. So, overall medal count was a joke just using that standard. But that was the first ever medal for Togo...ever. They had an incredibly successful Olympics IMO and I'm thinking the people of Togo feel the same way.

                        For the U.S., we did not perform well relative to expectations. Not a total disaster but certainly well below what most people projected...

                        Also, it's not necessarily a put down of any individual performer as you can say someone didn't perform up to expectations and not say "they choked" even though many people take it that way. Tyson Gay didn't "choke" at all in my opinion, he was still clearly not in shape due to lack of training and the lingering injury from the Trials.
                        "Long may you run"- Neil Young

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Double R Bar
                          For the first time in history, we did not have any finalist in the men's long jump, men's discus, men's triple jump, and the men's high jump.
                          I guess the question is should US fans have seen this coming?

                          Here's the number of US athletes TFN ranked in the Top 10 for these events last year (and their rankings):
                          LJ: 2 (3, 6)
                          DT:0
                          TJ: 2 (3, 4)
                          HJ:2 (8, 10)

                          And these were the pre:meet forecasts for the Top 10:
                          LJ: 2 (7, 8)
                          DT:1 (8)
                          TJ: 0
                          HJ:1 (7)

                          It strikes me that the decline was on the cards last year, and that in the weeks leading into Beijing not even a (slightly) US-centric mag like TFN could see too much hope (or too many certain finalists) amongst the US crew...

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