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Is showmanship important in track and field?

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  • Is showmanship important in track and field?

    I'm as big a critic as anyone of Tirunesh Dibaba's follow-the-leader tactics, and Asafa Powell's shutdownitis. Their greatness is indisputable, but I've always appreciated greatness more when it comes with a little panache. Can anyone imagine Steve Prefontaine ever winning a race the way Dibaba does? What about Mo Greene shutting down before the finish line when a stadium or meet record was on the line? I don't think so. I can't tell you how disappointed I was for Elvan Abeylegesse when she got outkicked in the Olympics last summer, because she made that race. I guess at the end of the day, winning is winning, but I appreciate a win much more when the runner takes the bull by the horn the way Kenenisa Bekele did in the Olympic 5000. And that brings us to Lolo Jones, who thankfully, agrees with me.
    Did Jones go out too fast in hoping to break the Olympic record? Could she have backed off a bit?

    Not an option.

    Sure, her semifinal performance — a personal-best 12.43 seconds — would’ve easily won the gold medal, but she was looking for more. Jones didn’t want to win gold so much as win gold in spectacular fashion.

    “I was trying to give my all and my best,” Jones said. “I wasn’t just trying to get an ‘A’ on a paper, I was trying to have the best paper ever written in history.”
    http://www.2theadvocate.com/sports/40342252.html
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  • #2
    Re: Is showmanship important in track and field?

    Originally posted by jazzcyclist
    I appreciate a win much more when the runner takes the bull by the horn
    I do too, but I'm also OK with a sit-and-kick runner. I was also OK with Bolt's 'showboating' in his 100, but paradoxically, it grates on me when Asafa does it. I guess that's because Bolt looks happy and celebratory, while Asafa looks bored.

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    • #3
      I think showmanship is important in everything and everywhere.

      When that cooking dude says lets kick it up a notch and then yells bam! when he adds incredients, he is a showman. The more showmanship the better i say, not to be confused with show-boating!
      phsstt!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SQUACKEE
        ...The more showmanship the better i say, not to be confused with show-boating!
        What's the difference? Showmanship vs Show-boating, pretty much the samething just a difference of opinion.

        I was going to vote yes until I read the original post. Sorry, but there is nothing wrong with the way Dibaba wins her races. She has set records running on her own. (and how many PB's have been set by others riding her coattails during those record attempts.) Championships are about winning, the way is unimportant. (as long it is not by cheating :roll: )

        As for shutting it down before the finish when the win is inhand, don't all the teams sports start benching or resting their stars when the lead is unsurmountable? Should the NFL demand that all starters have to play the entire game of week 17 even when it is meaningless to their playoffs? I think your need for all to set PB's everytime out is unrealistic.

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        • #5
          Re: Is showmanship important in track and field?

          Originally posted by Marlow
          Originally posted by jazzcyclist
          I appreciate a win much more when the runner takes the bull by the horn
          I do too, but I'm also OK with a sit-and-kick runner. I was also OK with Bolt's 'showboating' in his 100, but paradoxically, it grates on me when Asafa does it. I guess that's because Bolt looks happy and celebratory, while Asafa looks bored.
          I agree in general, but one of the great things about the sport is that it contains so many different personalities--there really could never be "one" type, or approach, or style. I have my own preferences, as everyone does--I like frontrunners rather thank sit-and-kickers, for example--but at the end of the day, it's (nearly) all good. I'm fine with the quiet types and I'm fine with the Mo Greenes. And, in reference to Powell above, one of my personal high points last season was witnessing the GIGANTIC smile on his face after his blazing Lausanne run. I realized that we don't see him smile all that often--but he is certainly capable of it!

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          • #6
            I think Baby Face put on an incredible show in Bejiing.
            phsstt!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jnathletics
              As for shutting it down before the finish when the win is inhand, don't all the teams sports start benching or resting their stars when the lead is unsurmountable? Should the NFL demand that all starters have to play the entire game of week 17 even when it is meaningless to their playoffs? I think your need for all to set PB's everytime out is unrealistic.
              I find that analogy unsupportable. Asafa shutting down (totally his perogative) in a 100 meter race is, to me, nonsensical. I would be all over an athlete of mine who tried that. The race is 100 meters, run 100 meters (or 101, 102). Maybe that's just me. It is not the same in distance races (800 up). There it is sometimes counter-productive to go 'all out' because you may overextend yourself too early and NOT run your best race. So it's OK to sit and kick, if that's your best strategy. The NFL analogy simply does not apply.

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              • #8
                I'd take a Filbert Bayi rather than a sit-and-kicker any day.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by bad hammy
                  I'd take a Filbert Bayi rather than a sit-and-kicker any day.
                  You're old enough to remember Ryun's come-from-behind (not that he had to very often) kicks? That, to me, was exciting!.

                  Some runners can't forge a pace to save their lives, and look like they're struggling to keep up with a strong leader, but with 200 to go, can find that one last gear that sweeps them to victory. I like that a lot!

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                  • #10
                    Mike Farmer (remember him) used to stand in front of his blocks and would wear one knee high black sock. He was good enought (HS level) to make it work.

                    Charles Greene had the shades working and seemed to think..."cool":

                    We all know about Jon Drummonds antics and "The Green Machine".

                    I'm cool with some personality/showmanship, it adds to it. I'm not into what Marvin Mills once pulled. I guess Texas A&M had a huge lead in a 4x4, Mills either turned around and ran across the line backwards or did (can't remember exactly what happened) something goofy. Yep A&M got DQed.

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                    • #11
                      Yes

                      Every competitor is different, but there are constansts. The spectators are there, in one manner or another, to see a sound performance. The other factor is establishing a psyschological advantage over one's opponent(s).

                      There's no real right or wrong, but once "brothers' become involved- be they Carib, Brit, or Yanks, some (not all) are going to introduce an element of grandstanding. Mo Greene, on the other hand, was a bit much, even in that context.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Marlow
                        Originally posted by Jnathletics
                        As for shutting it down before the finish when the win is inhand, don't all the teams sports start benching or resting their stars when the lead is unsurmountable? Should the NFL demand that all starters have to play the entire game of week 17 even when it is meaningless to their playoffs? I think your need for all to set PB's everytime out is unrealistic.
                        I find that analogy unsupportable. Asafa shutting down (totally his perogative) in a 100 meter race is, to me, nonsensical. I would be all over an athlete of mine who tried that. The race is 100 meters, run 100 meters (or 101, 102). Maybe that's just me. It is not the same in distance races (800 up). There it is sometimes counter-productive to go 'all out' because you may overextend yourself too early and NOT run your best race. So it's OK to sit and kick, if that's your best strategy. The NFL analogy simply does not apply.
                        Well I disagree with you. :P The NFL analogy is similar in many ways. First, why do they rest the stars in week 17? to avoid injury, similarly a runner backs off once the race is in hand to avoid over exerting him/herself, avoiding injury. If all that matters is championships, then the individual meets are meaningless, similarly to week 17. Second, why do the stars even play in week 17? as preparation for the playoffs, there is no practice like real competition. So, praticipation in other meets are to prepare for the big day. But they may not view it as an all or nothing event, which allows them to shut it down once they have achieved there goal for the meet.

                        I have no problem with a athlete shutting it down, celebrating or anything else they want to do in the middle of the race. It's not my goals they have to achieve. I just enjoy watching their accomplishments.

                        I would be all over an athlete of mine who tried that.
                        You're viewing his antics as a coach not a fan. and I assume your not a professional athletes coach. Your goals for your athletes are a little different then an elite coach's.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jnathletics
                          She has set records running on her own. (and how many PB's have been set by others riding her coattails during those record attempts.).
                          Without rabbits? :?

                          Originally posted by Jnathletics
                          As for shutting it down before the finish when the win is inhand, don't all the teams sports start benching or resting their stars when the lead is unsurmountable? Should the NFL demand that all starters have to play the entire game of week 17 even when it is meaningless to their playoffs?
                          This is a terrible analogy. In the NFL, the primary goal is to win, but the second most important goal is to keep all of your starters healthy. Furthermore, its considered poor sportsmanship to run up the score in team sports. Having said that, if an NFL player is close to some type of game or season record, you will see starters stay in the game longer than what's necessary, because in that context, you would be depriving the fans of extra entertainment if that player is pulled from the game.

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                          • #14
                            Panache or Pancake?

                            Interesting question. A term employed in Puerto Rico for a baseball player (generally a middle infielder, as they have the most opportunities to display flair, if so inclined) who has grandstanded to distaste is "...el es demasadio showman..." (he's too flashy).

                            I've heard it applied to basketball players there too, Another word for it in Latin America is "fanfarron" (exhibits too much fanfare). Love language!

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                            • #15
                              Track - No
                              Field - Yes

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