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Par for Webb:s Course

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  • #16
    Re: Par for Webb:s Course

    Ryun's career had a few notable downers (Mexico City wasn't one of them - that was perhaps his greatest performance), but to even mention Webb in the same sentence is silly. Ryun ran 3:55 on dirt to beat the defending Olympic champion in high school. Webb caught lightning in a bottle in a fast, even-paced race in Eugene. Ryun broke the world half-mile record at age 19. Had the Olympics been held in 1966 or 1967 at sea level, he would have won by 20 meters.

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    • #17
      Re: Par for Webb:s Course

      but to even mention Webb in the same
      >sentence is silly. Ryun ran 3:55 on dirt to beat the defending Olympic champion
      >in high school. Webb caught lightning in a bottle in a fast, even-paced race in
      >Eugene. Ryun broke the world half-mile record at age 19. Had the Olympics been
      >held in 1966 or 1967 at sea level, he would have won by 20 meters.

      Bear-

      No, its silly to say its silly. Come on. Webb beat Ryun's mile record and you say its silly to mention them in the same sentence? Get real.

      Would Ryun at 18 have been close to today's world champion - El G? No. This is not a fair comparison. And Webb catching "lightning in a bottle" isn't true either. He backed up the 3:55 with a very strong 3:38. It was not a one-race fluke. He was in very good condition in '01.

      Yes, post high school there is no comparison up to this point. Hopefully Webb will be able to pull it together. What may now look like a curse, early injuries, apendicitis, problems with coaches etc. may turn out to be a blessing. He is now getting the big $$$, he is now with the coach of his choice and he may have learned valuable lessons over the last couple of years. Remember, as good as he was, Ryun's career was relatively short. Webb still has plenty of time.

      But to say you can't put the two in the same sentence is SILLY.

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      • #18
        Re: Par for Webb:s Course

        There have been fluke performances before. Howabout Rich Boulets 3:53 mile in the late 90's. After that he kind of disappeared. Some runners only have one fast race in them.

        Boulets 3:53 is the fastest US mile in the last 6 years. It is even faster than Webb's HS school record.

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        • #19
          Re: Par for Webb:s Course

          Cyril--I usually agree completely with the points you have made on this board...but,for the first time, I think you missed it on your response to Bear's Ryun/Webb comments. I think he (Bear) was right on.

          Having said that, I hope Webb can pull it together and prove Bear and I wrong. When Webb can be as competitive as Ryun was on a world class level....but, even in his 3:53.4 he was far from it.

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          • #20
            Re: Par for Webb:s Course

            I, too, agree with Bear. Webb ran two fast races way way way back in 2001, but he didn't come close to winning either one. Ryun was head-and-shoulders above Webb when you compare their '65 to '01 seasons. After that, there's no comparison at all. I used to think Webb had some sort of future. I wish the kid well, but I've completely given up on him. I'm afraid his lifetime PRs came in 2001.

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            • #21
              Re: Par for Webb:s Course

              If Webb becomes the next Jason Lunn is that really a bad thing. I think he will be better than that. Webb should be a 3:51 miler within the next few years.

              As for the next great American miler I guess he is either not born yet or is a 10 year old running after school. Among the 280 million people in this country the next great US miler is somewhere. He is just not running at the elite level now.

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              • #22
                Re: Par for Webb:s Course

                Kuha's correct. I have never seen any evidence that he even has the possibility to be competitive. Tactically suspect, no kick. Towed around to 3.53 will be the highlight of his T&F career. He may run faster than that in the future but he'll be 50m. behind the winner. As for championship races...no chance, even against less than stella Americans.

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                • #23
                  Re: Par for Webb:s Course

                  Mark: "Less than stella" is all we've got! Forget Ryun, Scott, etc. I'd settle for Bob Seaman, Jim Grelle, Tom O'Hara, Jim Beatty, Dyrol Burleson, etc. Yeech!

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Re: Par for Webb:s Course

                    I think my point is being missed. To say that Webb and Ryun shouldn't be compared ("listed in the same sentence")is ludicrous.

                    We can compare Ryun to Webb, Ryun to Scott, Webb to Hollman, Scott to Coe, etc. etc. Webb was in the same class as Ryun as a HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE - and, like it or not WEBB RAN FASTER as a high schooler. Once this is acknowledged we can begin to compare (yes, put them both in the same sentence) advantages A.W. had and whether these advantages are worth the difference in their mile times. My point is - there are similarities and it is interesting to compare and contrast them.

                    As I mentioned above, Webb's POST high school performances don't even approach what the great Ryun did. So, to compare their post h.s. careers would be SILLY - there is no comparison.

                    It would be nice if ten years from now we can look back and compare their careers and say that they were close. But Webb has a long, long way to go to make that comparison something that would be worth writing about. And, while he has shown some promise in the last couple of months, there is nothing that would indicate that he will soon (or ever) approach the level of Ryun. But, it would be nice if he did.

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                    • #25
                      Re: Par for Webb:s Course

                      We can compare Ryun
                      >to Webb, Ryun to Scott, Webb to Hollman, Scott to Coe, etc. etc. Webb was in
                      >the same class as Ryun as a HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETE - and, like it or not WEBB RAN
                      >FASTER as a high schooler. Once this is acknowledged we can begin to compare
                      >(yes, put them both in the same sentence) advantages A.W. had and whether these
                      >advantages are worth the difference in their mile times. My point is - there
                      >are similarities and it is interesting to compare and contrast them.
                      >

                      The major difference is that Ryun was competitive with the best in the world. Webb wasn't.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Re: Par for Webb:s Course

                        Webb's post High School performance is typical of a above average professional runner. Ryun was the best in the world by the time he left high schoool. Webb post high school career has been that of a journey man.

                        If Webb didn't set that HS record he would be just another runner. There is nothing in his post HS career that really stands out.

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                        • #27
                          Re: Par for Webb:s Course

                          www.kuhistory.com

                          Sound a little like Webb? Breakthroughs, injuries, feuds with coaches, time off, and returning to the sport to find he was not at same level - or no longer dominant? Meet Jim Ryun: high school phenom, world-beater, Olympian and burned out.

                          Excerpts:

                          Barrier Breach. In 1964, Jim Ryun burst onto the national scene when he became the first high school student to break the four-minute barrier in the mile run. The 17-year-old junior from Wichita went on to qualify for the Olympics that year and represented the United States in the 1,500-meter run at Tokyo as the youngest member of the team. By the time he entered KU in 1965, he was already America’s fastest miler and a national celebrity.

                          Victory Laps. Six weeks after setting a new prep record of 3:58.3 at the state meet in Wichita on May 15, 1965, Ryun prepared to run in the Amateur Athletic Union Track and Field Championships. One of his competitors, New Zealand’s Peter Snell (a two-time Olympic gold medallist) dismissed the young Kansan’s chances of winning the race. “He’s 18-years old,” he asserted. “Enough said?” Ryun not only defeated the New Zealander, but also set a new American record for the mile of 3:55.3.

                          Freshmen were forbidden from competing in varsity sports, so Ryun could not officially run for KU in the 1965-66 school year. Nonetheless, the 6-foot 2-inch, 160 pound freshman, competing “unattached,” shattered records as he compiled victory after victory. Track fans simply could not get enough.

                          Like Cunningham Before Him. On July 17, 1966, at the All-America Invitational, Ryun knocked more than two seconds off the previous mile record with a time of 3:51.3. Proud newspapers, especially those from Kansas, were quick to point out that the heralded Jayhawk had returned the record to his country (and his state) for the first time since KU’s Glenn Cunningham had held it 29 years earlier. Sports Illustrated honored Ryun by naming him its 1966 Sportsman of the Year.

                          Ryun’s 1967-68 season proved somewhat disappointing. After battling illness and injury, then feuding with his coach, the KU junior competed in the 1968 Mexico City Olympics where he finished second. He returned home to criticism in a nation that had long tended to view the second-place finisher as the “first loser.”

                          At 22, Ryun had been one of the world’s premier competitors for almost five years. He had traveled the world, participated in two Olympiads, and gotten married. But he had ceased to enjoy running, and by 1969, was mentally exhausted and decided to retire. Eventually he returned to running, but found he was no longer dominant.

                          WEBB HASN T BEEN ONE OF THE WORLD:S PREMIER COMPETITORS. HECK, HE HAS BARELY BEEN ONE OF THE USA:S PREMIER COMPETITORS. HOWEVER, WITH GUIDANCE, PROPER TRAINING AND GOOD COMPETITION, WEBB MAY HAVE AN ADVANTAGE OVER RYUN: WEBB WILL STILL BE COMPETING AFTER AGE 22, WITH A GOOD 4-7 YEARS STILL AHEAD OF HIM. RYUN HAD SEEN IT ALL, DONE IT ALL AND WAS THROUGH WITH IT ALL BY THE TIME HE WAS IN WEBB:S GENERAL AGE GROUP.

                          AND I CHANGE MY MIND: RYUN WOULD HAVE BEEN RIPPED ON THESE MESSAGE BOARDS ALL THE SAME (ie He returned home to criticism in a nation that had long tended to view the second-place finisher as the “first loser.”). JUST IMAGINE WHAT FOLKS WOULD DARE TO SAY ABOUT HIM BEHIND CLOSED DOORS AND IN THE COMFORT OF THEIR OWN HOMES.

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                          • #28
                            Re: Par for Webb:s Course

                            It's probably true that Ryun would have been heavily criticized IF there had been an internet back then. Thankfully there wasn't. Message boards like this basically allow bar or streetcorner conversation to be elevated to the level of international discourse. I'm not sure whether that's a good or bad thing, but it's OUR thing. The bottom line here seems simple. Ryun actually DID great things over a reasonable period of time. (Which the summary above doesn't begin to do justice to, by the way.) Our collective fixation with Webb is all about wishing and hoping, which is obviously a useless enterprise. I just don't care anymore what Webb "might" do, or "could" do, or "has the potential" to do. If he actually DOES these wonderful things, great, but I'm not holding my breath. I have no delusions whatsoever that he's going to be the saviour of the sport.

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                            • #29
                              Re: Par for Webb:s Course

                              If any American distance got a silver medal today the boards would be full of praise.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Re: Par for Webb:s Course

                                >It's probably true that Ryun would have been heavily criticized IF there had
                                >been an internet back then. Thankfully there wasn't. Message boards like this
                                >basically allow bar or streetcorner conversation to be elevated to the level of
                                >international discourse. I'm not sure whether that's a good or bad thing, but
                                >it's OUR thing. The bottom line here seems simple. Ryun actually DID great
                                >things over a reasonable period of time. (Which the summary above doesn't
                                >begin to do justice to, by the way.) Our collective fixation with Webb is all
                                >about wishing and hoping, which is obviously a useless enterprise. I just
                                >don't care anymore what Webb "might" do, or "could" do, or "has the
                                >potential" to do. If he actually DOES these wonderful things, great, but I'm
                                >not holding my breath. I have no delusions whatsoever that he's going to be
                                >the saviour of the sport.

                                An excellent analysis of the Ryun/Webb discussion!

                                Comment

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