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  • Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

    Who is the fastest human you ever saw run from a reasonably close distance (either against, trackside, or a close bleacher seat)?

    Not having attended the Mobil's at George Mason U. where there have been burners, I'm thinking the fastest sprinter I've seen up close was Kirk Baptiste at the Howard Relays circa 1989. Olympian Larry Shipp was a star at the Upper School at a boy's school while I was in the middle grades.

    Unlike my best friend, I never played pickup basketball against Darrell Green, then the NFL's fastest man. He told me Green, in pursuit of a fast-breaking opponent was an absolute blur from the top of one key to the opposite.

  • #2
    Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

    Having just finished running a Distance Medley at the '81 Drake Relays, I was still on the infield during the running of the invitational 100. The event was won by Mel Lattney, but in lane #1 was Herschal Walker. Herschal ran within 24" of me as he passed running around a :10.2. It was amazing seeing a guy of hat size run so fast. At 150 lbs., I couldn't imagine stepping in front of that freight train and squatting to try and tackle the guy. Being that close to the action gives you a new appreciation and perspective of the physical gifts some possess.

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    • #3
      Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

      Michael johnsom on the home stretch of the 200m oly trials final. He seemed to have a burst of speed after coming off of the turn. I have never seen legs move so quickly before or since.

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      • #4
        Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

        Even though the past few British AAAs have been dire, the men's sprints always turn out some decent times. I've seen Chambers, MLF, Campbell, Malcolm, Gardener many a time battle it out over the 100m and the deuce.

        I've also witnessed some indoor meets - WIC, Indoor Grand Prix, etc - usually guaranteed fast times at those meets.

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        • #5
          Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

          I'm sure lots of people on this board (or anyone who's been to Texas or Penn) can match and beat this, but here goes:

          A young Mo Greene in high school (1993)
          Carl Lewis @ Texas, 1996
          MJ @ Penn, last race in US (relay)
          Marion @ Penn

          Must be some others I'm forgetting.

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          • #6
            Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

            How's this for an "oldie"? Saw Bobby Morrow and Leamon King in the pre-Oly warm-up meet at Santa Ana College (California) in 1956.

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            • #7
              Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

              What a cool race: Leamon King and Bobby Morrow!I've seen a lot of fast sprinters, none more memorable than Lewis or Tommie Smith. But the most dramatic race I recall was one night at Mt. Sac in the early '60's... Bob Hayes and Frank Budd in a 100 meter final. They were flying and Hayes was pulling away when Budd tore a hamstring, hopped and took a header at full speed! Tough image to shake. I think Budd never really regained form again. I was a kid, don't remember if it was an olympic warm up meet or an AAU championship.

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              • #8
                Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

                Mel Patton 9.3 100yd 1948.

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                • #9
                  Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

                  I hear Bob Parks (former Eastern Michigan coach) answers "Jesse Owens" -- he saw all the records on May 5 1935 in Ann Arbor. Now that's old!

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                  • #10
                    Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

                    I was sitting on the infield near the finish line when Harry Jerome was awarded a 10 flat at the Canadian Olympic Trials in Saskatoon in 1960. There were a number of coaches who would not reveal what their watches read because it was 9.9 and he could not have done that. I also saw Hayse in Tokyo, Johnson in the 88 Olympics, Lewis in LA and Greene several times among others. I still do not know who was the fastest.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

                      "Olympian Larry Shipp was a star at the Upper School at a boy's school while I was in the middle grades."

                      I know the boys school you're talking about, Bijan. I seem to remember that Mr. Soles (3-D art teacher) had a funny story about you, but I can't quite remember what it was.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

                        Hey STA person, did the Mr. Soles anecdote involve swimming?

                        Bijan

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                        • #13
                          Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

                          "Hey STA person, did the Mr. Soles anecdote involve swimming?

                          Bijan"

                          I think so, but again, I'm pretty hazy on the details (approx. 10 years since I was in his class).

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                          • #14
                            Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

                            Hayes - Budd was the 1962 AAU 100 yards race, won by Hayes in 9.3 (9.35 auto - just 0.04 quicker than the auto-time on his 9.1 in '63 !). It was Budd's last race and they had met just once before - at the Coliseum relays that year - won by Hayes (10.2) ahead of Budd (10.3) and Henry Carr (10.3)

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                            • #15
                              Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

                              ... Steve Williams @ Fresno or Modesto can't remember - exploded at ~ 50 y to destroy a good field

                              Tommie Smith anchoring a 4 x 200 @ SB Relays - new WR - announcer said he was sub 19 ... mmmm

                              I was 15-20 ft from both
                              and I always thought Sam Bair ran faster than anybody (sprinter or otherwise) the last 50y of any race he was in.

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