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  • #76
    Re: 1:41 800s

    Originally posted by kuha
    Originally posted by Master Po
    So, I'm educatedly guessing -- and waiting for correction -- that the fastest non-rabbited was Rudisha's 1:42.12, and then Rodal's OG victory.
    You could very well be right. In terms of semantic nit-picking, I wonder how much difference there is here in people's thinking between a) a race not having a predetermined pacer; and b) an athlete actually leading wire to wire? I haven't seen footage of the '96 race recently and honesty can't recall how much time Rodahl spent in the lead. I do know that Johnny Gray's 1:42.80 was a solo-from-the-front effort.
    I think you raise an interesting point, at whatever scale of nit-picking it might be. As for the 96 OG final, here is a bit of the narrative description from the Olympics section of SportsReference.com (as always, thanks to bambam, et al.!):

    "Johnny Gray (USA) was running in his fourth consecutive Olympic final and he led, as was his custom, running 24.3 and 49.6. He still led at 600 but the field was bunched. Norway’s Vebjørn Rodal kicked from 120 out and Gray faded, eventually finishing seventh. He would hold on to win the gold over the fast-closing South African, Hezekiel Sepeng."

    http://www.sports-reference.com/olympic ... etres.html

    So, OG final of course non-rabbited, but Rodal ran brilliantly for almost 700m behind a very fast group, led (of course) by Gray. And for anyone who experienced any part of Gray's career, it's no surprise that this other candidate you suggest for fastest non-rabbited performances -- Gray's 1:42.80 -- the wire-to-wire victory variety, would be a Johnny Gray race!

    Back to Rudisha for a moment. Here is an excerpt from the IAAF news release on the Kenyan OT, which suggests to me that Rudisha's 1:42.12 was itself a wire-to-wire effort:

    "Organisers slotted in the men's 800m Trial as the last race of the programme with the main act David Rudisha sending supporters into orbit with another devastating display of front running mastery that will surely send shockwaves across the world. The anticipation was palpable since the World champion and record holder had laid down the gauntlet when he cruised to a 1:44.0 victory during Thursday’s heats and from the gun Rudisha had an unobstructed view as he pounded the track to smash his own 1:42.84 record at altitude when winning his second African title in 2010 in the same stadium."

    http://www.iaaf.org/Mini/OLY12/News/New ... x?id=65410

    Too bad Johnny Gray is not in his prime right now. He and Rudisha were made for each other!

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    • #77
      Re: 1:41 800s

      Originally posted by Master Po
      You could very well be right. In terms of semantic nit-picking, I wonder how much difference there is here in people's thinking between a) a race not having a predetermined pacer; and b) an athlete actually leading wire to wire? I haven't seen footage of the '96 race recently and honesty can't recall how much time Rodahl spent in the lead. I do know that Johnny Gray's 1:42.80 was a solo-from-the-front effort.
      Thx Master Po and Kuha for the info. I find the historic context the long time fans share to be the most interesting part of the board (esp enjoyed your recent dissection of the Monaco 1500). Re the semantics, that's why I phrased the question "without a predetermined rabbit". You could certainly argue that Rodal had J Gray as a rabbit in '96 versus a true wire-to-wire win, but I just consider that the benefit of a fast pace that still needed effective race decisions on the fly; as opposed to when all racers know in advance that "Joe will take us to the quarter in 49 flat". Wire-to-wire is always impressive, but I'd still count anything w/o a preordained pacer as un-"rabbited". Thx again for the info.

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      • #78
        Re: 1:41 800s

        I suppose it's a truism of sport that any champion or great performer in any event has to be "fearless," but for me this quality is especially in evidence in the 800, because of the combination of speed and endurance, and the brutal logic of the race that requires the athlete to set out at a pace that cannot be sustained. So, it's interesting to compare some of these paradigms of non-rabbited races. Rodal truly ran the race of his life in Atlanta -- gold medal, OR, lifetime best. In that pack at that pace he really had to be prepared and to keep his wits together. Rudisha's solo 1:42.12 effort in Nairobi, even acknowledging the altitude, is -- well, actually, I can't really get my mind around it, any more than I can his other great races, even when I've seen them. He just seems like another sort of creature from another event entirely. And I have always had great admiration for Johnny Gray. No gold medals or WR, so he's of course not among the highest level of the gods of this event, but imo, he's up there nevertheless.

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        • #79
          Re: 1:41 800s

          berkeley wrote: -
          But they weren't going in with the kind of dominance that Rudisha has now. Coe had Ovett for company in Moscow, with a very hot Cruz in LA (plus years of injury/illness). Kipketer fell foul of nationality requirements in Atlanta, and was off his game before Sydney.
          Actually, Coe was about as big a favourite and lock to win the 800 in Moscow as Rudisha is in London.
          Coe went in with a pb of 1:42.3, while the next fastest in the field was Marajo at 1:43.9. That's a 1.6 sec margin. Ovett was nearly 2 secs slower at 1:44.1.
          Rudisha's pb of 1:41.0 is 1.2 faster than the next fastest likely finalist, Kaki (1:42.2). Even based on this year's times, Rudisha is 1.5 faster than the next best.

          Having said this I think Rudisha will go in with more confidence and less pressure to win than what Coe had. I can remember clearly the expectation on Coe to win the 800 in Britain was as great as any that British Olympians are experiencing at a home games. Ovett wasn't expected to win the 8.

          I don't think Rudisha will risk a WR attempt in the final, although he is clearly going to front run and I would expect a 1:42 low win.

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