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Guerrouj vs Ryun at 19

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  • Guerrouj vs Ryun at 19

    If they where both 19 in todays conditions would Ryun have a chance ? I know its a fantasy match but intersting since Ryan was very tough as a Jr under 20.

  • #2
    Of course if they were both 19 now Ryun would have a chance. Ryun was faster at this age with 1:44.9 at 880yds and a 3:51.3 Mile. EL G's best at same age was 3:33.61 for 1500m (worth c 3:51 for the Mile) & 3:53.7 for the Mile. He wouldn't have been as fast as Ryun at 800m at this point. But of course conditions are very much different now, and it doesn't mean that both would suit or flourish under the current training practises equally favourably.

    I have no doubt that Ryun's times on cinder tracks would be even faster on synthetic ones (even faster on the mondo tracks that EL G ran on in the late 90's) though I have trouble with the optimistic conversion times that some claim. Yet it does not guarantee that someone at 19 is going to grow and improve at the same rate as someone else. There is no certainty that Ryun would have developed at the same rate that EL G did from 19, and it is equally plausible that Ryun was always destined to reach his peak at 20 rather than 25 like most or 29/30 like some. Look at all the prodigious African talent that has emerged in recent years running ridiculously fast times as teenagers and then just not improving in their 20's.

    Having said that, there is no doubt Ryun was a very special runner and at least as talented as EL G. I get the impression EL G probably had to work harder than perhaps anyone before him to get to his peak ability, and such a heavy load might easily break 90% of other athletes who attempted it.

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    • #3
      Of course if they were both 19 now Ryun would have a chance. Ryun was faster at this age with 1:44.9 at 880yds and a 3:51.3 Mile. EL G's best at same age was 3:33.61 for 1500m (worth c 3:51 for the Mile) & 3:53.7 for the Mile. He wouldn't have been as fast as Ryun at 800m at this point. But of course conditions are very much different now, and it doesn't mean that both would suit or flourish under the current training practises equally favourably.

      I have no doubt that Ryun's times on cinder tracks would be even faster on synthetic ones (even faster on the mondo tracks that EL G ran on in the late 90's) though I have trouble with the optimistic conversion times that some claim. Yet it does not guarantee that someone at 19 is going to grow and improve at the same rate as someone else. There is no certainty that Ryun would have developed at the same rate that EL G did from 19, and it is equally plausible that Ryun was always destined to reach his peak at 20 rather than 25 like most or 29/30 like some. Look at all the prodigious African talent that has emerged in recent years running ridiculously fast times as teenagers and then just not improving in their 20's.

      Having said that, there is no doubt Ryun was a very special runner and at least as talented as EL G. I get the impression EL G probably had to work harder than perhaps anyone before him to get to his peak ability, and such a heavy load might easily break 90% of other athletes who attempted it.

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      • #4
        in '97, i'd give a 19y ole ryun

        ~ 1'42-mid ( a time even theoretically beyond a 3'26 el g )

        ~ 3'47+

        el g woudn't have stood a ghost of a chance

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        • #5
          What eldrick said ! Ryun was so fast and strong early on in his career... I'd bet the farm on him beating anyone at age 19.

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          • #6
            With his physical talent and incredible work ethic, Ryun would have dominated in ANY era.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by kuha
              With his physical talent and incredible work ethic, Ryun would have dominated in ANY era.
              QFE . . .

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              • #8
                With his physical talent and incredible work ethic, Ryun would have dominated in ANY era.
                Except in his own era beyond 1967!!

                He never run faster after this at 800 or 1500/mile and only won a single Olympic medal (silver). I know he is revered by many for what he did in those 2 seasons, which is more than most achieve in their entire career, but he had potentially another 10 seasons in which to do something. He didn't. I know he had problems with mononucleosis, but other greats have endured this and injuries, yet went on to achieve more. It is conjecture what he "might" have gone on to do, and as I said above, he may not have improved his pbs after '67, even with good health.

                I still think he would have beaten EL G at 19, and probably everyone else at that age, but that doesn't necessarily mean he would have beaten everyone at age 21, 25, 27, etc.

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                • #9
                  unless you have a clue about mononucleosis, i woudn't categorise that as an "injury" where you can recover in weeks/months

                  mono is a leading cause of the relatively common condition "chronic fatigue syndrome" or "viral fatigue syndrome"

                  this can last years - i've seen cases who had it for decade+

                  this diagnosis didn't exist 40y ago & it's likely from hearing about his post-'67
                  development & lack of improvement that he suffered with this for probably all the remainder of his athletic career

                  what he did post-'67 in view of this possible diagnosis is astonishing - i've seen cases where walking to the end of the road is the limit of their physical capabilities

                  if not for mono, he may have gone on to set records not broken until the '90s - in fact, they may have still not been beaten today !

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by deanouk
                    With his physical talent and incredible work ethic, Ryun would have dominated in ANY era.
                    Except in his own era beyond 1967!!

                    He never run faster after this at 800 or 1500/mile and only won a single Olympic medal (silver). I know he is revered by many for what he did in those 2 seasons, which is more than most achieve in their entire career, but he had potentially another 10 seasons in which to do something. He didn't. I know he had problems with mononucleosis, but other greats have endured this and injuries, yet went on to achieve more. It is conjecture what he "might" have gone on to do, and as I said above, he may not have improved his pbs after '67, even with good health.

                    I still think he would have beaten EL G at 19, and probably everyone else at that age, but that doesn't necessarily mean he would have beaten everyone at age 21, 25, 27, etc.
                    All of this is conjecture, of course.

                    The huge issue here is that Ryun competed in the "amateur" period. In fact, in his case, I have it on pretty good authority that he truly WAS an old-fashioned amateur--he did NOT profit from athletics in any significant way. Given that reality, his 4 or 5 years at the top (1964-68, or 1965-68) were just about the norm for that time. There's no realistic way to compare a career in this period with one in the overtly professional era of El G's time. You're comparing apples to oranges.

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                    • #11
                      Mono is another name for glandular fever isn't it!? I know this can be severe (having suffered from it as a teen) and I don't know the acuteness of Ryun's case. I don't doubt you that he "could" have suffered with it in his system for years, as you explain. I just don't agree that based on his 66/67 form you can say with any degree of realism that had he not suffered this and had that type of training he would have ended up running 1:40 and 3:24! I don't buy it.


                      It's also amazing how his splits in races are rarely given consensus among different sources. There is much "myth making" about Jim Ryun which has come to be "fact". He is credited in most books as having run the last lap in his 2nd WR Mile (3:51.1) in 52.5, when you can see from the video on Youtube (with its running timer) , that he goes through the finish line with a lap to go in 2:57.3, meaning he ran the last 400m in 53.8, the last 440yds in c. 54.2. Not quite the same!
                      His 440yd split times in the IAAF Records book is given as 59.0, 59.9 (1:58.9), 59.7 (2:58,6) and 52.5. These are clearly WRONG! This is a good example of someone at the time publishing hand time splits without a recourse to a video, and either, purposely or not, making his performance sound even better than it was. If you know where the start line is and the fact that each quarter is approx 0.3-0.4 secs on top of each lap, then anyone can pause it at the right place and work it out. It was nearer to 57.9, 60.2 (1:58.1), 58.8 (2:56.9) and 54.2.

                      This is still an amazing run for the day and the fact he did it from the front, but not quite the "Superman" performance of a last quarter in 52.5 as some would have us believe.

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                      • #12
                        All of this is conjecture, of course.

                        The huge issue here is that Ryun competed in the "amateur" period. In fact, in his case, I have it on pretty good authority that he truly WAS an old-fashioned amateur--he did NOT profit from athletics in any significant way. Given that reality, his 4 or 5 years at the top (1964-68, or 1965-68) were just about the norm for that time. There's no realistic way to compare a career in this period with one in the overtly professional era of El G's time. You're comparing apples to oranges.
                        Exactly! I agree completely. Of course Ryun was a phenomenal talent and would have run faster on today's tracks, but you can't compare athletes from different eras with different stimuli, conditions, training, etc. And it is meaningless to talk about specific times athletes would have run in different eras.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by deanouk

                          I have no doubt that Ryun's times on cinder tracks would be even faster on synthetic ones (even faster on the mondo tracks that EL G ran on in the late 90's) though I have trouble with the optimistic conversion times that some claim. Yet it does not guarantee that someone at 19 is going to grow and improve at the same rate as someone else. There is no certainty that Ryun would have developed at the same rate that EL G did from 19, and it is equally plausible that Ryun was always destined to reach his peak at 20 rather than 25 like most or 29/30 like some. Look at all the prodigious African talent that has emerged in recent years running ridiculously fast times as teenagers and then just not improving in their 20's.
                          I agree with that. Mono or no Mono the possibility also excists that Ryun simply burned out earlier than most due to practically having been run into the ground by Bob Timmons at Kansas and at Wichita East High School. According to Kenny Moore in SI, Ryun was ready to quit by the time he was a senior at Kansas.

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                          • #14
                            FWIW, back in '99 Arthur Lydiard said that if Ryun had trained under him, he'd still have the WR in the mile.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by G.Ahearn
                              FWIW, back in '99 Arthur Lydiard said that if Ryun had trained under him, he'd still have the WR in the mile.
                              He also said that if Henry Carr would train under him, he'd easily break the mile WR.
                              I totally agree with both statements.

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