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  • 100m lineal champion

    Hello everyone. I've been trying to work out a "lineal" champion for the men's 100 metres. This the where the "champion" is whoever beat the previous champion in a race, like boxing champions are determined. I know this really is a hopeless task as the 'title' changes often, but I thought it would be fun to see how far I can get. Of course, you have to decide what counts as a eligible 'race' to do this, and also what happens if the champion retires undefeated and so on.

    Anyway, I've copied a summary below of where I have got to. Sorry its a bit long - its an excerpt from my self-published book 100m - A New Look at the World's Greatest Race (not all of the book is this obscure).

    The question is, who won the 100 metres sprint in the race in Atlanta on 13 April 1997?

    Once I have that answer then the rest should follow pretty easily to the present day (assuming Bolt was the Champion at the end of 2016), progressing as Bolt-Coleman-Gatlin (all at 2017 WC)-Ujah (Zurich)-Baker(MtSAC 2018)-Lyles(Drake)-Coleman(Rabat)-Lyles(Shanghai 2019)-Gatlin(Monaco)-Young(Drake heat)-Coleman(Drake semi). With Coleman undefeated since then he is the current lineal champion.

    Anyway, if anyone has the answer than that would be great!

    John

    ps. This is my first post here since 2014. I used to post under "johnclark". Something seemed to go wrong with my account and I couldn't log back in and eventually I gave up. I didn't think of creating a whole new account until today ... silly me.


    I’ll start the list from 1956, assuming that Bobby Morrow was ‘World Champion’ following his win in the US Olympic trials, in order to illustrate some of the problems with the idea.
    Morrow went on to win the gold medal at the Olympics later that year, and few would have disputed his claim to as the World Champion. The complication is that Leamon King, who had finished fourth at the Olympic trials and therefore did not run in the Olympics 100 metres (but did run the relay), beat Morrow twice after the trials. The first of these races was at a US Olympic team practice competition in Ontario, California, where King equalled the world record of 10.1 seconds. This meant that, on the basis of a boxing style championship, Bobby Morrow was actually not the reigning ‘champion’ at the Olympics, and the man who was the champion was in Melbourne but not competing!
    Morrow beat King in May 1957, regaining the title, but lost to Willie White later that month, who then lost to King at the US National Championships in June (where Morrow did not compete).
    King then toured Europe with several other top Amerian sprinters, winning in Olso in 10.2 seconds and Berlin in 10.4 seconds. Only the winner was reported, however, so King may have run in more races and not won. Dave Sime won in Bordeaux, for example, and Ira Murchison won in Milan.
    Assuming King was still the reigning champion at the end of 1957, things get even more complicated because in February 1958, The Stanford Daily reported:

    Leamon King, University of California's co-holder of the world record in the 100-yard and 100-meter sprints, yesterday was declared ineligible for spring competition because of his scholastic standing. A spokesman said King failed to make up the required 24 units between seasons and hence was ineligible under Pacific Coast Conference rules.

    As far as I know King’s next race was while attempting a comeback two years later, when he finished second to Doug Smith in May 1960. Smith lost to Harry Jerome soon after, who then lost to Norton, who lost to Dave Sime, who lost to Armin Hary in the Olympic final.
    Hary defended his ‘title’ twice in big races in the weeks after the Olympics but injured his knee in a car crash the following month and his sprinting career was over.
    Similarly, Bob Hayes and Jim Hines both retired after the 1964 and 1968 Olympics respectively, presumably as the ‘champions’.
    John Carlos strung together a long winning sequence in 1970, making him the probable title holder at that point. In the US national championship that year he jogged in last injured, passing the title to Ivory Crockett. Running in Europe two weeks later Crockett lost to Frenchman Alain Sarteur in Paris, who lost to Zenon Nowosz at the European Cup. Things then get murky because we don’t have a list of races run by Nowosz, but it is likely that Valeriy Borzov became champion no later than when he won the European Championship in 1971, beating Nowosz in the final.
    Borzov does not appear to have been beaten over 100 metres until 1975, when he finished third to Steve Riddick in Zurich. From there, the title changed hands very regularly, often several times a year between Riddick, Steve Williams, Silvio Leonard, Don Quarrie and others.
    Leonard took the title in 1979, beating Harvey Glance at the Pan-American Games, and lost it to James Sanford at the second World Cup in Montreal that year. Stanley Floyd beat Sanford at the NCAA championship the following year, which meant the current title holder was not at the 1980 Olympics.
    Floyd lost to Allan Wells in the celebrated showdown in Koblenz following the Olympics but Wells held the title for only one day, losing in Budapest to Ernest Obeng from Ghana, one of the most obscure ‘champions’, before Floyd took it back two weeks later.
    Through the 1980s and early 1990s Carl Lewis gained the championship title on ten separate occasions by my count, which means Lewis also lost a lot of races. Leroy Burrell, Dennis Mitchell, Linford Christie and Olapade Adeniken all held the title on at least five occasions.
    Another obscure title holder was Australian Damien Marsh, who beat title holder Donovan Bailey at Monaco at the end of 1995. In early 1996 Marsh was beaten by countryman Rod Mapstone but reversed that result at the Australian National Championships. Marsh then injured himself and did not attend the 1996 Olympics, leaving him the title holder until early 1997 when he was beaten in a race in Atlanta. Despite some searching I have been unable to ascertain the winner of that race and therefore inheritor of the title.

  • #2
    Originally posted by JC100 View Post
    Sorry its a bit long - its an excerpt from my self-published book 100m - A New Look at the World's Greatest Race (not all of the book is this obscure).
    No apologies! This is what being a REAL T&F fan is all about!!
    Great job.

    Comment


    • #3
      Back in the late 90s I remember posting a thread on darkwing that showed how 100m women's champions from the 1920s and 30s could be considered as good as/superior to Flo-Jo or Marion Jones through a sequence of victories in their careers.

      It was quite hard to find some events showing (for example) where Wilma Rudolph had beaten Betty Cuthbert given the lack of international competition options (outside of the Olympics) back then, but I managed to do it. I tried to avoid an obscure 'winner' as part of the sequence and think there was only one or two I had to include. I also had to look at pathways to the next race (eg avoiding races where a champ ended their career with a victory).

      Unfortunately I can't find my original post (probably due to losing files during a computer meltdown in the early 2000s).

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Atticus View Post
        No apologies! This is what being a REAL T&F fan is all about!!
        Great job.
        Yeah, I like this idea. Something new but interesting

        Comment


        • #5
          Worthy of a Phd.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by JC100 View Post
            Hello everyone. I've been trying to work out a "lineal" champion for the men's 100 metres. This the where the "champion" is whoever beat the previous champion in a race, like boxing champions are determined. I know this really is a hopeless task as the 'title' changes often, but I thought it would be fun to see how far I can get. Of course, you have to decide what counts as a eligible 'race' to do this, and also what happens if the champion retires undefeated and so on.

            Anyway, I've copied a summary below of where I have got to. Sorry its a bit long - its an excerpt from my self-published book 100m - A New Look at the World's Greatest Race (not all of the book is this obscure).

            The question is, who won the 100 metres sprint in the race in Atlanta on 13 April 1997?

            Once I have that answer then the rest should follow pretty easily to the present day (assuming Bolt was the Champion at the end of 2016), progressing as Bolt-Coleman-Gatlin (all at 2017 WC)-Ujah (Zurich)-Baker(MtSAC 2018)-Lyles(Drake)-Coleman(Rabat)-Lyles(Shanghai 2019)-Gatlin(Monaco)-Young(Drake heat)-Coleman(Drake semi). With Coleman undefeated since then he is the current lineal champion.

            Anyway, if anyone has the answer than that would be great!

            John

            ps. This is my first post here since 2014. I used to post under "johnclark". Something seemed to go wrong with my account and I couldn't log back in and eventually I gave up. I didn't think of creating a whole new account until today ... silly me.


            I’ll start the list from 1956, assuming that Bobby Morrow was ‘World Champion’ following his win in the US Olympic trials, in order to illustrate some of the problems with the idea.
            Morrow went on to win the gold medal at the Olympics later that year, and few would have disputed his claim to as the World Champion. The complication is that Leamon King, who had finished fourth at the Olympic trials and therefore did not run in the Olympics 100 metres (but did run the relay), beat Morrow twice after the trials. The first of these races was at a US Olympic team practice competition in Ontario, California, where King equalled the world record of 10.1 seconds. This meant that, on the basis of a boxing style championship, Bobby Morrow was actually not the reigning ‘champion’ at the Olympics, and the man who was the champion was in Melbourne but not competing!
            Morrow beat King in May 1957, regaining the title, but lost to Willie White later that month, who then lost to King at the US National Championships in June (where Morrow did not compete).
            King then toured Europe with several other top Amerian sprinters, winning in Olso in 10.2 seconds and Berlin in 10.4 seconds. Only the winner was reported, however, so King may have run in more races and not won. Dave Sime won in Bordeaux, for example, and Ira Murchison won in Milan.
            Assuming King was still the reigning champion at the end of 1957, things get even more complicated because in February 1958, The Stanford Daily reported:

            Leamon King, University of California's co-holder of the world record in the 100-yard and 100-meter sprints, yesterday was declared ineligible for spring competition because of his scholastic standing. A spokesman said King failed to make up the required 24 units between seasons and hence was ineligible under Pacific Coast Conference rules.

            As far as I know King’s next race was while attempting a comeback two years later, when he finished second to Doug Smith in May 1960. Smith lost to Harry Jerome soon after, who then lost to Norton, who lost to Dave Sime, who lost to Armin Hary in the Olympic final.
            Hary defended his ‘title’ twice in big races in the weeks after the Olympics but injured his knee in a car crash the following month and his sprinting career was over.
            Similarly, Bob Hayes and Jim Hines both retired after the 1964 and 1968 Olympics respectively, presumably as the ‘champions’.
            John Carlos strung together a long winning sequence in 1970, making him the probable title holder at that point. In the US national championship that year he jogged in last injured, passing the title to Ivory Crockett. Running in Europe two weeks later Crockett lost to Frenchman Alain Sarteur in Paris, who lost to Zenon Nowosz at the European Cup. Things then get murky because we don’t have a list of races run by Nowosz, but it is likely that Valeriy Borzov became champion no later than when he won the European Championship in 1971, beating Nowosz in the final.
            Borzov does not appear to have been beaten over 100 metres until 1975, when he finished third to Steve Riddick in Zurich. From there, the title changed hands very regularly, often several times a year between Riddick, Steve Williams, Silvio Leonard, Don Quarrie and others.
            Leonard took the title in 1979, beating Harvey Glance at the Pan-American Games, and lost it to James Sanford at the second World Cup in Montreal that year. Stanley Floyd beat Sanford at the NCAA championship the following year, which meant the current title holder was not at the 1980 Olympics.
            Floyd lost to Allan Wells in the celebrated showdown in Koblenz following the Olympics but Wells held the title for only one day, losing in Budapest to Ernest Obeng from Ghana, one of the most obscure ‘champions’, before Floyd took it back two weeks later.
            Through the 1980s and early 1990s Carl Lewis gained the championship title on ten separate occasions by my count, which means Lewis also lost a lot of races. Leroy Burrell, Dennis Mitchell, Linford Christie and Olapade Adeniken all held the title on at least five occasions.
            Another obscure title holder was Australian Damien Marsh, who beat title holder Donovan Bailey at Monaco at the end of 1995. In early 1996 Marsh was beaten by countryman Rod Mapstone but reversed that result at the Australian National Championships. Marsh then injured himself and did not attend the 1996 Olympics, leaving him the title holder until early 1997 when he was beaten in a race in Atlanta. Despite some searching I have been unable to ascertain the winner of that race and therefore inheritor of the title.
            can you give me an executive summary please??

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Vault-emort View Post
              Back in the late 90s I remember posting a thread on darkwing that showed how 100m women's champions from the 1920s and 30s could be considered as good as/superior to Flo-Jo or Marion Jones through a sequence of victories in their careers.
              Here are my best estimates of the most 'title defences' in history - these are unbroken runs.

              44 Bob Hayes, from beating Roger Sayers (1962 AAU in Miami) to losing to John Moon (1964 AAU (heat) in Bakersfield)
              30 Asafa Powell, from beating Aziz Zakari (2005 Athens (heat)) to losing to Keston Bledman (2007 WC (heat) in Osaka)
              21 Valeriy Borzov, from beating Dominique Chauvelot (1971 EC (heat) in Helsinki) to losing to Steve Riddick (1975 Zurich)
              21 Usain Bolt, from beating Justin Gatlin (2013 WC in Moscow) to losing to Christian Coleman (2017 WC (heat) in London)
              12 John Carlos, from beating Ivory Crockett (1969 in Honolulu) to losing to Robert Taylor (1970 AAU (heat) in Bakersfield)

              I am confident of the records for Hayes, Powell and Bolt, but Borzov and Carlos may have run more races (and possibly not won some) in between. The lists would not be much different if preliminary round races are excluded as the runners generally lost again soon after anyway (and Bob Hayes ran only three more finals in his career after his loss to Moon - the 1964 AAU, OT and the OG).

              For most 'title defences' in a career, even if not sequential, the list is:

              49 Bob Hayes
              44 Usain Bolt
              42 Asafa Powell
              21 Valeriy Borzov
              19 Frank Fredericks
              17 Carl Lewis
              16 Ato Boldon
              15 Dennis Mitchell
              14 John Carlos
              13 Maurice Greene
              12 James Sanford
              12 Linford Christie

              Take these with a very large grain of salt.

              Comment


              • #8
                great stuff, but note that most track statisticians don't include prelims when it comes to winning streaks, so everybody in your first list should have an even longer run

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JC100 View Post
                  For most 'title defences' in a career, even if not sequential, the list is:
                  49 Bob Hayes
                  44 Usain Bolt
                  Which is another reason why I'm trending back to how close the GOAT discussion needs to be between them.

                  BH certainly had a shorter career (less hardware), but surfaces are so much faster now, even half a second looks smaller and smaller.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by gh View Post
                    great stuff, but note that most track statisticians don't include prelims when it comes to winning streaks, so everybody in your first list should have an even longer run
                    Thanks Garry. Out of curiosity, while many top runners won't try to win preliminary round races, what happens to a streak when the runner loses in a preliminary race and does not even progress to the next round? I would have thought that the streak would end there.

                    Anyway, on the basis of excluding preliminary races, the most consecutive 'title defenses' are:

                    50 Bob Hayes, from beating Harry Jerome (1962 AAU in Miami) to the end of his career.
                    21 Usain Bolt, from beating Justin Gatlin (2013 WC in Moscow) to losing to Justin Gatlin (2017 WC in London)
                    20 Valeriy Borzov, from beating Zenon Nowosz (1971 EC in Helsinki) to losing to Steve Riddick (1975 Zurich)
                    19 Asafa Powell, from beating Marcus Brunson (2006 in Osaka) to losing to Tyson Gay (2007 WC in Osaka) - this assumes that Brunson became the title-holder at the first race which Gatlin was retrospectively disqualified after his positive drug test in 2006.
                    18 Usain Bolt, from beating Asafa Powell (2008 OG in Beijing) to losing to Tyson Gay (2010 in Stockholm)
                    12 John Carlos, from beating Ivory Crockett (1969 in Honolulu) to losing to Ivory Crockett (1970 AAU in Bakersfield)
                    12 Justin Gatlin, from beating Ronald Pognon (2005 in Lausanne) to losing to Marcus Brunson (2006 in Osaka - disqualified)

                    The names are the same but the lengths of the streaks a bit different. Excluding preliminary rounds eliminates a lot of wins as well as losses.
                    I suspect Carlos' 'reign' as champion included more races than I have, and probably Borzov too. Hayes got 15 of his 50 title defenses during tours of Europe (mainly Scandinavia) during 1962 and 1963 where he can't have faced strong competition.

                    In terms of total (non-consecutive) title defenses, its Hayes on 51, Bolt 45 and Powell 30.
                    Most times claiming the title from someone else is Mitchell (10), Christie (9), Lewis (8), Greene (8)

                    WIthout preliminary races, the most recent sequence of lineal champions would progress as:
                    Usain Bolt (Moscow 2013)
                    Justin Gatlin (London 2017)
                    Chijindu Ujah (Zurich 2017)
                    Ronnie Baker (Torrance 2018)
                    Noah Lyles (Des Moines 2018)
                    Christian Coleman (Rabat 2018)
                    Noah Lyles (Shanghai 2019)
                    Justin Gatlin (Monaco 2019)
                    Noah Lyles (Zürich 2019)
                    Justin Gatlin (Gainesville 2021)
                    Fred Kerley (Ostrava 2021)
                    Trayvon Bromell (Eugene 2021)
                    Ronnie Baker (Monaco 2021)
                    Marcell Jacobs (Tokyo 2021)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Out of curiosity, while many top runners won't try to win preliminary round races, what happens to a streak when the runner loses in a preliminary race and does not even progress to the next round? I would have thought that the streak would end there.

                      gh is only talking about where someone only qualifies in the prelims but wins the final.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am always amazed at the depth and extent of knowledge of many of our posters. Where would you even go to look up the complete race history of virtually every notable athlete?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JC100 View Post
                          WIthout preliminary races, the most recent sequence of lineal champions would progress as:
                          Usain Bolt (Moscow 2013)
                          Justin Gatlin (London 2017)
                          Chijindu Ujah (Zurich 2017)
                          Ronnie Baker (Torrance 2018)
                          Noah Lyles (Des Moines 2018)
                          Christian Coleman (Rabat 2018)
                          Noah Lyles (Shanghai 2019)
                          Justin Gatlin (Monaco 2019)
                          Noah Lyles (Zürich 2019)
                          Justin Gatlin (Gainesville 2021)
                          Fred Kerley (Ostrava 2021)
                          Trayvon Bromell (Eugene 2021)
                          Ronnie Baker (Monaco 2021)
                          Marcell Jacobs (Tokyo 2021)
                          Great stuff!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by JC100 View Post
                            WIthout preliminary races, the most recent sequence of lineal champions would progress as:
                            Usain Bolt (Moscow 2013)
                            Justin Gatlin (London 2017)
                            Chijindu Ujah (Zurich 2017)
                            Ronnie Baker (Torrance 2018)
                            Noah Lyles (Des Moines 2018)
                            Christian Coleman (Rabat 2018)
                            Noah Lyles (Shanghai 2019)
                            Justin Gatlin (Monaco 2019)
                            Noah Lyles (Zürich 2019)
                            Justin Gatlin (Gainesville 2021)
                            Fred Kerley (Ostrava 2021)
                            Trayvon Bromell (Eugene 2021)
                            Ronnie Baker (Monaco 2021)
                            Marcell Jacobs (Tokyo 2021)
                            Now, if they'd have to exchange a championship belt like wrasslin', we might attract some fans...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by JC100 View Post

                              Thanks Garry. Out of curiosity, while many top runners won't try to win preliminary round races, what happens to a streak when the runner loses in a preliminary race and does not even progress to the next round? I would have thought that the streak would end there...
                              oh yes, absolutely counts as a loss... I should have been more precise.

                              Comment

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