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Championships Versus A Season

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  • Championships Versus A Season

    The TBO thread (which I have no intention of getting dragged into) got me thinking about the degree to which apparently the large majority of the athletes and a substantial portion of the fans have a very singular focus on the Olympics (and to a slightly lesser degree the World Champs) in the years they occur. Am I alone in wishing that there was actually a SEASON that athletes and fans alike cared about. The fact that there is no real season is just another reason it seems to me that our sport is so much different from team sports and other sports people seem to actually relate to.

  • #2
    Re: Championships Versus A Season

    Originally posted by donley2
    The TBO thread (which I have no intention of getting dragged into) got me thinking about the degree to which apparently the large majority of the athletes and a substantial portion of the fans have a very singular focus on the Olympics (and to a slightly lesser degree the World Champs) in the years they occur. Am I alone in wishing that there was actually a SEASON that athletes and fans alike cared about. The fact that there is no real season is just another reason it seems to me that our sport is so much different from team sports and other sports people seem to actually relate to.
    As both athlete and coach, I have always worked towards something - counties, nationals - so see it as natural progression that for an elite athlete, the OG or Worlds, or Area Champs. The season is a means to an end - the races are to work on aspects etc. This does have a negative effect from a fan point, in contrast to, say football, but not sure there's a real solution :?

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    • #3
      I too find the obsession with the Olympics for determining who is the
      best a bit odd. Certainly, an olympic gold is the highest honor an
      athlete can win, but it is not (automatically) the same as being the
      number one---as demonstrated by e.g. Vlasic/Hellebaut. Then again, if I
      were a contender, I would rather be the olympic champion than the
      number one on the TFN world ranking.

      As for a season: We do have one. What you meant is possibly something
      like a world cup a la skiing or a championship race a la tennis?
      If so, I am definitely for it. (Provided that the rules are such that
      the athletes are not forced to over-compete.)

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      • #4
        I guess I probably should have been more clear. We do have (and have had for many years) a season of sorts. We have the grand prix circuit which finishes with the grand prix final. What I was trying to say was that the grand prix season is often hugely overshadowed in olympic and to a less extent world championship years. I am not sure I really like that fact. I am fairly sure however there is not much that can or will ever be done about it.

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        • #5
          To use HS as an example (which might actually serve as an analogy to the elites) there is the regular season and then there's the post-season (District, Region, and States). For most of the kids, the regular season is the be-all-end-all, and they enjoy it thoroughly. Then there are the ones with higher aspirations, who do enjoy the regular season also, but see it more as a preparation for the post-season. Then there are the best of the best, who are working through the season and are actually peaking for States. Even on the elite level there are those that know the odds of making it to the Olympics are long, therefore the Grand Prix Circuit (GPC) is vitally important (Kenyan distance runners and American sprinters come to mind). Then there are the mid-elites who really expect to be at the Olympics and the GPC is a great way to get ready. The super-elites use the GPC as $$$-makers and 'sharpening' for a run (throw, jump) at an OG medal. I think the 'regular season', as loosely defined as GP meets (and some that just miss that designation), serves a very important role to many, many athletes.

          My 'problem' with the 'regular season' comes when one tries to rank athletes based on the whole season, when clearly some athletes are simply not pointing towards being at their best in every meet, esp. early on. CO's 50.8 coming into the OG just means just did not 'care' about looking good beforehand, because she had her eye on a bigger prize. Similarly, the meets afterwards, Zurich in particular, is important more as a pay-day than 'reputation'. Win-loss record is grossly over-rated, which is why, I, the Marks Snob, look at marks more. CO put up a good number at the OG, she won, so case closed in my book. She should be #1, even if she raced SR ten times and lost every time (which would put her at #2 in others' eyes).

          BTW, this is NOT a knock on the T&FN Rankings which I regard as GOSPEL, always have, always will.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by donley2
            I guess I probably should have been more clear. We do have (and have had for many years) a season of sorts. We have the grand prix circuit which finishes with the grand prix final. What I was trying to say was that the grand prix season is often hugely overshadowed in olympic and to a less extent world championship years. I am not sure I really like that fact. I am fairly sure however there is not much that can or will ever be done about it.
            Unfortunately, or fortunately - depending on your bias, the TFN rankings only matter to true die hard fans, and they focus on a "season" rather than a championship, as we will find out in December when a dozen or so OG champs will not be ranked first ( Bungei; Trafton; Fraser; Ohuruogu; Hooker; Majewski; Ramzi; Kipruto; Harper; ) by TFN.

            Like it or not, the OG Championships are still the platinum card of achievement. Frankly championships matter to me, and I think we'd all say Oerter was a super star, despite his so-so record outside of the championships. Bu then who's going to deny El Guerrouj his super star status, despite 2 failures in the 1500 in the OG? I think we fans can see through the forest through trees.

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