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Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

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  • #31
    Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

    Since the question didn't specify the summer games, my vote goes to the Aussie speed skater Steven Bradbury who took gold in the men's 1,000 metre short track event in 2002. I'm sure you remember this:

    "In one of the most bizarre races in Olympic history, Bradbury was well back in fifth and last position going into the final turn before the finish line. But the leading skater, American Apollo Anton Ono, was touched by the Chinese skater, who was in second place and attempting to pass. Both skaters fell and the Korean and Canadian skaters behind them crashed into the leading pair and all four slid off the track leaving an open line for Bradbury, who pumped his arms in victory as he crossed the line. The judges held a short deliberation and decided to let the result stand."

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    • #32
      Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

      "I don't think this topic is very fair for the athletes. You make it sound like their accomplishment was nothing."

      Lighten up! We're not saying their accomplishment was "nothing"--we're saying it was utterly undeserved, dumb luck, a ridiculous fluke, whatever. Pretending that these immediately-forgotten OG gold medalists are all timeless "greats" is like saying every jackpot winner in Vegas is a financial genius. They ain't! And further, these folks don't need your defense: they have their gold medals, after all...and we don't!

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      • #33
        Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

        I suppose Klyugin was somewhat lucky to win the H.J. in Sydney before the rain washed them all away. But Beamon was no surprise winner and Josy Barthel was clearly the best 1500 runner in '52. Who should have won that 1500m if not Barthel?
        I think Remigino was ranked 1st in '52. Art Bragg was injured, so what?

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        • #34
          Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

          >"I don't think this topic is very fair for the
          >athletes. You make it sound like their
          >accomplishment was nothing."

          Lighten up!
          >We're not saying their accomplishment was
          >"nothing"--we're saying it was utterly
          >undeserved, dumb luck, a ridiculous fluke,
          >whatever. Pretending that these
          >immediately-forgotten OG gold medalists are all
          >timeless "greats" is like saying every jackpot
          >winner in Vegas is a financial genius. They
          >ain't! And further, these folks don't need your
          >defense: they have their gold medals, after
          >all...and we don't!

          Now, who needs to lighten up? Yes, we don't have a gold medal, that is why we appreciate them. Anyway, this is a dead end argument.

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          • #35
            Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

            Well, Kenteris did win the WC's the next year ...

            Biwott and Remigino stand out.

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            • #36
              Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

              yeah, several from '80 & 84. Thanks, Jimmy

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              • #37
                Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

                <who took gold in the men's 1,000 metre short track event in 2002>

                Short track skating is more of a roller derby circus than sport. It should be kicked out of the Games without delay (together with a few other newer additions).
                "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                by Thomas Henry Huxley

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                • #38
                  Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

                  >Al Joyner.
                  He was a bigger surprise than
                  >Beamon.

                  Joyner's winning jump was wind aided, Conley's silver medal leap was not.

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                  • #39
                    Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

                    One way to look at this (post-WWII only) is to use World Rankings. You can't rank #1 on the strength of an Olympic victory alone -- if the rest of your season sucked, it's taken into consideration. So while guys like Remigino or Biwott may have been one-off successes, they were at least decent for the remainder of that Olympic season.

                    I don't feel like spending a lot of time on this, so I won't make an exhaustive search. So far I haven't found an Olympic champion with less credentials than Peter Rono -- #5 in his championship season of 1988 and nothing else. If you're willing to count boycotted Olympics, you can't top Ria Stalman, the '84 women's DT champ -- her only ranking ever was that year at #10.

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                    • #40
                      Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

                      Jean Galfione was ranked 6th in 1996 - that's the lowest ranking of a non-boycott Olympic champion I can think of.
                      Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...

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                      • #41
                        Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

                        i want ur wet pussy

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                        • #42
                          Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

                          <Al Joyner.
                          He was a bigger surprise than Beamon.>

                          To all those denigrating Beamon's winning the 1968 LJ gold (not the 8.90 m jump). Have you bothered to look over Beamon's record in all 1968 competitions? Undefeated against the best, competing under very difficult circumstances. (Kicked off the UTEP team for refusing to comete against BYU).

                          As for those shocked out of their minds by the 29 feet 2 and a half inch jump. Everyone agrees that it was (a) considerably aided by the altitude and (b) aided by a following wind over the legal limit. Did anyone note Charlie Mays' narrow foul on a jump estimated over 28 feet? The rest of the competitors were shell-shocked by Beamon's opener. I for one, believe that in 1968 Beamon could have cleared 28 feet at or close to sea-level, given the right set of circumstances.

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                          • #43
                            Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

                            ajax, I agree with your shell shocked comment.

                            And I believe the LJ was before the 3J, so no one really had a true handle on how much the altitude helped yet.
                            If Beamon had led off and ripped a WR of, say, 27' 8", rather than a 29'2", I think that before the competition ended there would have been one, maybe two, over 28', and maybe 3 or more over the old WR of 27'4 3/4". It would have been a similar competition to the 3J. I can see a Boston winner of 28'6, with Beamon, Mays, and Ter O all over 28 or close to to it.
                            Just goes to show it takes mental preparation as well as physical. As they all said, they were mentally FRIED after the 29'2", Beamon himself included. Thanks for screwing up a great competition, Bob !!!

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                            • #44
                              Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

                              In 2000, Million Wolde ranked #7 in the 5000.

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                              • #45
                                Re: Worst athlete to win Olympic Gold?

                                <And I believe the LJ was before the 3J, so no one really had a true handle on how much the altitude helped yet.
                                If Beamon had led off and ripped a WR of, say, 27' 8", rather than a 29'2", I think that before the competition ended there would have been one, maybe two, over 28', and maybe 3 or more over the old WR of 27'4 3/4". It would have been a similar competition to the 3J. I can see a Boston winner of 28'6, with Beamon, Mays, and Ter O all over 28 or close to to it.
                                Just goes to show it takes mental preparation as well as physical. As they all said, they were mentally FRIED after the 29'2", Beamon himself included. Thanks for screwing up a great competition, Bob !!!>

                                Steve, the only pertinent source I have (at work!) is Quercetani's recent book. Looking through that, it looks like:
                                TJ Prelims. 10/16/68. Gentile sets world record on only jump - quite a surprise.
                                TJ Finals. 10/17/68. Four world records, one by Gentile, two by Saneyev, one by Prudencio.
                                LJ Prelims. 10/17/68. Beamon's shocking qualifier at 8.19 after taking off about 30 cm behind "the line".

                                Your basic point is correct, that the LJ competitors, really did not appreciate what the altitude could do. But as quoted by Quercetani (and earlier by T&FN), Boston knew the undisciplined and "out-of-this-world" talent of Beamon. He said, "I'm always nervous when Beamon goes down the runway, because I know that some day he might put all his great talent together in one big jump". A 26'10" qualifier after a "slow" run down the runway, and taking off 1' behind the line, was sufficient warning to everyone as to what could come to pass. Instead of taking Beamon to task for "spoiling" the competition, I take my hat off to him, for the single most astounding performance in my almost 50 years of following the sport. What a shame he did not have the mental strength to deal with the pressure of "fame". Some 28'+ jumps as back up in say 1969/70, would have been most welcome to the true track fan.

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