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Greatest 800m runnr of all time

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  • #16
    Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

    Steve, to take up two of your questions/ themes.
    (1) Harbig ran 1:47.8 for the 800m also. That would be about as fast as Whitfield's best some 15 years later. I suppose Harbig's supporting bests at 400 and 1000 m are not really relevant here; at 400 m , Whitfield was again no faster than Harbig.

    (2) I seem to recall there was a top level shot putter from USA (Blozis?), who lost his life in WWII, another that had his "stellar" career cut short.

    To add to the fuel for 800 m. What about John Woodruff? Oly champ in 1936 and
    (a) He was undefeated in major races from July 1936 through 1940.
    (b) Ran the equivalent of 1:48.0 m at Dallas in 1937 with 90oF heat on a small (~320 m) track.
    (c) In March 1940, ran 1:47.0 m and 1:47.7y, indoor on a banked board track (239 m).
    (d) Ran 1:48.6 m (US record) in June 1940, leading from start to finish. Four turns as compared to three turns for Harbig's 1939 record at Milan.

    Of all the two man hypothetical match ups I would have loved to see, Woodruff-Harbig remains as open as any to "fruitful imagination".

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    • #17
      Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

      Ajax, to be truthful I forgot about Woodruff !

      Yes, what might have beens are fruitless but as Woodruff/Harbig 1940 OG 800 would have been a classic. And a win there for Woodruff would put him in 2nd, in front of Coe, IMHO.

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      • #18
        Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

        Bijan, I am going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume your brain thought "Wilson Kipketer" but your fingers typed "Kip Keino."
        Also, Elliott ran only a very very few 800's. Had one fast 880 y time but even that was only 1:47.3 or thereabouts.

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        • #19
          Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

          Ryun had incredible POTENTIAL in the 800, but shouldn't be on the list. Admittedly, he ran 1:44 just 90 minutes after a heat, with splits that would have had him behind at this World's at the end of the first lap, then he would have run by the field. But, he didn't run the race all that often, which is why he was bum rushed at the 72 Oly trials, he wasn't used to the 'feel' of the race.

          That said -- hard to pick the best. Harbig was astounding for his time, as was Snell, and Coe (when he was healthy). Cruz put up a great deal of fast times over a few seasons, but a lot of people forget about him. Kipketer did everything, but win Oly Gold, so he's in the same boat as Coe. Three men have broken 1:42, but only one has a gold, the other two have silvers (Coe having two, which is at least consistency if nothing else). El Caballo, Juantorena, one of the best. One wonders how he would have done with more milage in his training, or if he had started running the distance when younger. Of course, a 400/800 double at the Games makes one an all time great, period.

          Today? Kipketer is suffering from A.G.E. He's getting old. Borzokovskiy seems to have the most natural talent, but his tactics and judgment are suspect. If he would concentrate on training for the WR, there seems little doubt he could do it. He shouldn't have taken the year off to run the 400 in 02.

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          • #20
            Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

            I agree with the sentiment that Borzakovsky (sp?) has perhaps the most potential of any currently active athlete. Every race he's in is exciting because you just can't predict what will happen. When he's in the mood to run fast, no one can beat him.

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            • #21
              Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

              I am also tempted to go with Snell as no.1 but my problem is that I think he was a greater Miler than Halfmiler so where does that leave me? No1 in both? NO way. Also was Juantorena less dominant in '76&'77 than Snell was in '62&'64?
              However, it has to be between Snell, Juantorena and Kipketer. Coe should have won in Moscow and Whitfield should at least once approached Harbig times. But Whitfield simply could not be beaten in the 800 from '48 through '53. It was only when he no longer came to Europe and bascially was done, that all kinds of people came out of the woodwork and ran low 1.47 in the Euro Champs in '54. I think he was so dominant that he actually held back the evolution of times in the 800.

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              • #22
                Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

                I think he was so
                >dominant that he actually held back the
                >evolution of times in the 800.

                Same could be said of Coe. I think he scared people off.

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                • #23
                  Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

                  He wasn't the greatest, but I used to love Joaquim Cruz (BRA). '84 Olympic Champ.

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                  • #24
                    Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

                    I too was a big Cruz fan. He and Johnny Gray lit up the tour for a couple of years with fast 800 times.

                    But for my money Coe was THE MAN when he was in shape and ready to roll. You could have put whoever you wanted into that WR run and they never touch him. Think about it. He ran a 1:41 800 meters tewnty some years ago!

                    But I may have to agree that his lack of Oly Gold in the event makes it hard to place him #1. But at least he lost in 1980 to Steve Ovett who if he had decided to concentrate purely on the event definately had the skills (raw speed and stamina)to be the best ever.

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                    • #25
                      Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

                      I think you have to give Snell the edge over Coe because of the latter's lack of an OG gold medal in the event.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

                        Coe probably had more raw talent for the 800; he seemed well above the competition for his era, while he had plenty of competition at 1500/mile. But the luck of it was he was never quite ready for an 800 championships, and there always was someone who was (Ovett; Cruz), so he missed his timing for an 800 gold; whereas things worked out better timing-wise on his 1500/miles, even though arguably Ovett should have beat him in 1980 and Cram might have been the superior runner in 1984.
                        I'd say a toss-up: Coe for holding the 800 record for so long, and Snell for his Olympics --

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                        • #27
                          Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

                          Tom Courtney was a long way from sleazy ..

                          His OC was great...

                          His WR at 880 lasted quite a while .. till Snell, i believe..

                          and he was a helluva a competitor

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                          • #28
                            Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

                            >Ryun had incredible POTENTIAL in the 800, but shouldn't be on the list.
                            >Admittedly, he ran 1:44 just 90 minutes after a heat, with splits that would
                            >have had him behind at this World's at the end of the first lap, then he would
                            >have run by the field.astounding

                            the question aboy ryun's 800m potential is very interesting. now we know his WR of 3'33.1, but i don't know what his 400m ability at that time was - we can get a prediction for his 800m, 1k & 1M ability using the 1500m time combined with various possible 400 times to get an idea of his potential

                            3'33.1 combined with

                            50 -> 1'47.1, 2'16.8, 3'50.1

                            49 -> 1'46.2, 2'16.1, 3'50.3

                            48 -> 1'45.3, 2'15.3, 3'50.5

                            47 -> 1'44.3, 2'14.6, 3'50.8

                            46 -> 1'43.4, 2'13.8, 3'51.0

                            now he must have definitely have been faster than 50s, but not as fast as 46s (otherwise he could have tried for the US 4x400 relay squad !), so somewhere between 47 - 48s looks about right, giving his potential as

                            ~ 1'44 high, 2'15 & he should have got his mile WR down to 3'50 high

                            what was snell's 800m WR at the time ?

                            also what was the 1k WR at the time ?

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                            • #29
                              Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

                              ..

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                              • #30
                                Re: Greatest 800m runnr of all time

                                Ryun, I'm pretty sure, ran a 46.9y relay leg as a frosh at Kansas. So, subtract 3, add 7 and he had low-47 speed a few weeks after his 19th birthday. He was no sluggard.

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