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  • Women's steeplechasing needs a star

    The event needs a great athlete to push it more into the limelight, like Isi did with the polevault. Someone who can break records, redefine the boundaries and consistently win championships while dominating her competition. Of course such athletes are by definition extremely rare, but most events seem to produce them sooner or later. A really outstanding women's steeplechaser could do for the event something like Isi did for another new event. It would give it more credibility.
    Obviously steeplechasing, whether men's or women's, is never going to be in the forefront of athletic competitions. But I do think a truly great athlete would enhance the status of an event that has been in global championships for less than a decade.

  • #2
    Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

    There are a few women with the potential to do this, but they either tire themselves out on the DL circuit and under perform at champs or don't compete at all on the DL circuit and appear out of nowhere to win at champs.

    Would be great for the event if we could get someone who did both.

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    • #3
      Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

      allow me to suggest that the reverse may be true: much more t han in the men's event, too many of the women steeplechasers at the back look too much like mediocre distance runners who simply couldn't make it on the flat, and that drags the whole quality of the event down. Unfortunately, it's likely to long/forever remain that way.

      The women's vault is a bad analogy. It had busted out long before Isi ever came on the scene. It was unwatchable the first few years as the manufacturers struggled to come up with the right implements, and a generation of gymnasts converted to the event. But within a few years you had a whole new class of high-end athletes not dependent on any other discipline (like the steeple is) to be good.

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      • #4
        Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

        So why only the steeple? Who is constantly breaking records in the high jump? long jump? By your logic most events would be missing (and needing) a star. And i don't think we need such dominant stars at all, i actually prefer to see close competitions with no clear favorites. To me the mens long jump in London will be one of the most exciting events because there are a dozen athletes who can win it. Now if there was a superstar like Carl Lewis in the mix it would be boring.

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        • #5
          Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

          Gh, I tend to agree with you, but why is it either/or? In fact, greater specialisation in the event, with more top quality steeplechasers running, would be more likely to produce a great athlete. A broadening of the base would help the quality of the event overall, but I think an outstanding steeplechaser would have more effect on the general popularity of the event.

          Norunner, the high jump and the long jump are long established events. My point is that an outstanding steeplechaser would help raise the profile of a new event. Obviously an event cannot have a dominant figure all of the time. I disagree about dominant figures necessarily making an event boring. One of the reasons I watch athletics is to see excellence. Of course closely competitive matches can be exciting too, but I can appreciate both. Certainly I think the overall profile of an event tends to be higher when there is a great champion in it.

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          • #6
            Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

            We've already had the kind of star you're talking about. The 8:58 by Samitova is one hell of a record, especially if you consider she set it in a non-pacemakered race in hot weather. Like the 15.50 by Inessa Kravets, it didn't get the attention it should have because it came early in the history of the event, but just like Kravets's record, it may last for a while.
            Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...

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            • #7
              Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

              Originally posted by Powell
              We've already had the kind of star you're talking about. The 8:58 by Samitova is one hell of a record, especially if you consider she set it in a non-pacemakered race in hot weather. Like the 15.50 by Inessa Kravets, it didn't get the attention it should have because it came early in the history of the event, but just like Kravets's record, it may last for a while.
              Hear, hear! Galkina had all the best times in the early history of the steeple, including a WR 9:01.59 in 2004, when, unfortunately, the event was not held in the Olympics. In 2007, she was not in that kind of shape, but tried to run 9:00 in the heat of Osaka, fading to 7th as her countrywomen finished 1st and 2nd. Then she ran that WR Olympic final, the ultimate athletics achievement. She ran 4th in Berlin in 9:11. She is now 34, and made the Russian team, but with 9:24. I suspect she will set a fast pace in London, but is a longshot to medal.

              She has tremendous range, as well, with 2:00.29, 4:01.29 and 14:33.13 PBs.
              Cheers,
              Alan Shank
              Woodland, CA, USA

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              • #8
                Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

                How many times has she competed since Beijing and how many of those were outside of Russia?

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                • #9
                  Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

                  She's competed in at least nine races outside of Russia since Beijing (including one cross country race) -- farthest from home being New York.

                  http://www.rusathletics.com/sbo/athletes.98.htm

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                  • #10
                    Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

                    Athletics stardom that translates beyond home country and/or event-specific followers is rare. I would guess that Samitova-Galkina is to some extent -- perhaps to a great extent -- I wouldn't know -- a star in Russia. As Alan Shank cites above, she is also an exception to what gh mentioned above that regarding this event -- perhaps she's the exception that (at this stage in the event's history) makes gh's point, but time will tell). But the steeple isn't really one of the star-making events in any case. When I think of some people I know who follow distance events, even most of them can't tell you much about the steeplechase, though they seem to have a special admiration for it, amidst their non-knowledge.

                    To Flumpy's question -- I don't have the entire career at hand, but as noted, she was 4th at Berlin WC in 2009, and won the 3k at Euro team championships that year, fwiw. She also won a couple of other big meets that season (Rome, Athens). I think she had a baby in 2010, so maybe nothing for that year. Last year, iirc, she ran the steeple at Adidas in NYC, in pretty good race w a couple of the top Africans (Chemos, Assefa). She also won the Stockholm (Diamond League?) race. But what I don't know is if all of this adds up to an unusually thin competition schedule (given the context -- e.g., having a child), or if it's kind of typical for a steeple specialist, especially one who is probably near the end of her competitive career (though I'm sure she would like to continue it next year at WC's in Moscow).

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                    • #11
                      Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

                      I see the women's steeple at the same place women's vaulting was BETWEEN the Dragila/Feofanova phase and the time Isinbayeva came to prominence!!

                      As someone said, women's PV'ing began with, basically, converted gymnasts.
                      They brought it to the 13 foot level.
                      (Remember Melissa Price??)

                      Then along comes Stacy Dragila (though preceeded a bit by Australia's Emma George!!) who tore through the 14 and 15 foot height levels, broke all the records, and was seen as the event's inevitable first 16 footer!!

                      But Feofanova beat her to it. (In fact, sadly, Dragila never did reach 16!!)
                      It was only after Feofanova's Roger Bannister-like breakthrough that Isi emerged as the QUEEN of women's PV'ing.

                      Same with the steeple.

                      First, any woman who could run a 9:30 or better flat 3K tried the SC.
                      Then came Samitova-Galkina!!
                      If those 9:30-flat race types could be equated to the PV "gymnast-types", then Galkina was the "Stacy Dragila AND Feofanova" of her event.

                      Dragila, because she brought the time down to "respectable" levels.
                      Feofanova, because she broke through the event's "sub-4:00 mile-type" barrier, running the first sub-9:00 SC.

                      Now we do indeed await for the SC's "Isi" to come along.
                      Bannister, George (first 15 footer!!), Dragila, Feofanova, Galkina were the barrier breakers.

                      Now we need to get someone who can run 8:48, and lead a group of 6-10 others in under 9:00.....in the same race!!

                      BTW, I thought Jenny (Barringer) Simpson had the potential to go sub-9:00.
                      And I believe that today. She's actually faster than Galkina in the flat 1500, and you'd need to run at least that fast (sub-4:00) in order to run 8:48.
                      Hopefully, Jenny will return full force to the SC next year or in 2014.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

                        Master Po wrote:

                        . . . some people I know who follow distance events -- most of them can't tell you much about the steeplechase.
                        Agreed! Consider this current authority:

                        http://www.nbcolympics.com/track-and...equipment.html

                        “Steeplechase hurdles . . . stand 3 feet (91.4 centimeters) high.”

                        The 91.4 cm height was correct for women's steeplechase hurdlesin the late 1980s and early 1990s. USA rule 122 was changed, effective 1995, to specify 76.2 cm (30 inches) and IAAF rule 164 followed via its 1996-97 rules although various countries and venues did not acquire the new (lower) barriers until 1998-99.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

                          The ongoing thread that begs to ask the question, why?

                          The men's side has never had a real star, except maybe Rono, and that was because he held the 3 other WRs at the same time. Until the equivalent happens on the women's side, you folks are all whistling Dixie....

                          As gh noted most of the women are in it because they can't compete in the other distance events. Of course, in a way that is true for the men also, but the depth in men's distance running is immense compared to the women.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

                            I'd say 9 minutes barrier for women is the same as 8 minutes for men. We already have several women under 9:10 which is fantastic result and one under 9min. How many men in history ran under 8min?
                            This event still develops and we shouldn't expect entry standard to stay around 9:45.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Women's steeplechasing needs a star

                              Originally posted by Conor Dary
                              The men's side has never had a real star, except maybe Rono
                              Kiptanui wasn't a 'real star'? Shaheen? Or, if we go back in time, Roelants, Garderud, Malinowski?

                              To me, the notion that SC isn't as important as flat distance races and is mostly run by people who aren't fast enough to be 'proper' runners seems to be US-specific. Over here, historically it's been a highly prestigious event, and the one that the most talented distance runners tended to specialize in.
                              Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...

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