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10-year-old Girl Phenom

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Powell
    Originally posted by Marlow
    I really for every Mary Decker there are dozens of whatever-happened-to's, but Mary Decker DID do it, so THERE! :twisted:
    I know Decker was a child prodigy, but had she done anything of note before age 11?
    I do not think she had run a race until she and a friend entered a race at about age 13. She did 'very well' in that first race. Natural talent to beat the band.

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    • #17
      She is probably more likely to do something in the sport as an adult than somebody of that age sitting on the couch playing video games.

      It would be interesting if someone were to do an actual study of how national contenders in track and field ranked in their sport at ages 10-12. I'll bet it would be found that a significantly higher percentage of national rankers came from the top ten rankings at those ages than positions 10-20 and even higher than from positions 20-30, and so on.

      My theory is that the main obstacle to continued success at later ages is the necessity of doing progressively more training as one gets older and competes at higher levels. This is probably true of all fields of endeavor, playing the violin, mathematics, writing poetry, etc. I am pretty sure that puberty has very little to do with it. It doesn't even affect women's gymnastics that much. Girls who are good distance runners or gymnasts at a young age tend not to mature into Sophia Loren, but into the body type of say, Mary Decker or Nastia Liukin. There are exceptions of course.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Powell
        I know Decker was a child prodigy, but had she done anything of note before age 11?
        Earliest mark I can find is a 2:15.8 800 at age 12. It's hard to believe she debuted that fast. :shock:

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        • #19
          To "unclezadok" -

          puberty doesn't have much to do with it? Most gymnasts are either DONE when they hit puberty, or delay puberty with excessively restrictive diets. The exceptions prove the rule. Have you ever coached girls? You can up their training and starve them and try to fend it off (not recommended for quite a number of reasons). A few sail through merely growing a bit and moving into a more adult strength (that's their genes, there), but that maturation phase is not to be dismissed lightly.

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          • #20
            There's a little prayer some of our middle-school girls say.
            It's called, "Lord, please don't give me hips" :P

            On the other hand, the Romanian stars of yesteryear had full hips and they always seemed to do fine!

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            • #21
              Originally posted by Marlow
              There's a little prayer some of our middle-school girls say.
              It's called, "Lord, please don't give me hips" :P

              On the other hand, the Romanian stars of yesteryear had full hips and they always seemed to do fine!
              There is an ex-gymnast PVer that has pretty solid hips (and everything else); those strong hips not only help coming down from 5m up but getting there in the first place. :wink:

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