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  • #16
    Re: the Stawell Gift

    I just love this thread. Have nothing of substance to add to it, just plain enjoying myself.
    "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
    by Thomas Henry Huxley


    • #17
      Re: the Stawell Gift

      The age-graded 100s (or ANY distance) ARE a blast - always the spectator favorite at the Masters nationals. They should be a feature at all big meets - Penn,MSAC,Pre,etc. And they're more precise & fair(sandbagger-proof) than one based on 'recent performance'.


      • #18
        Re: the Stawell Gift

        Kuha, you are right about equalising the one thing that nobody can do anything about, their genetic heritage!

        Handicap races are actually the purest form of assessing competitive capacity. If properly assessed, the handicaps should lead to everyone crossing the line in a dead heat. This means whoever performs to the best of their capacity on the day gets the prize. Isn't that what peaking is all about?

        The heats are pretty cut throat as well with only the winner guaranteed to get through to the next round. Repechages are also done in pro races just like cycling (also with a pro heritage) and rowing.

        The carnival atmosphere of pro races is also not to be underestimated when assessing the enjoyment factor. Modern T&F is too clinical sometimes and lacks the vitality of the old style pro racing.

        I believe that Allen Wells was trained by a coach from the UK pro circuit, Charlie Affleck(I think) or at least used similar training methods. For those Tommie Smith lovers out there, who can forget George McNeill (b.1947)?
        From his Scottish sports Hall of Fame induction statement:

        McNeill might have been first Scot to win an Olympic gold in the 100 metres. Unfortunately, because he received wages as a footballer he was deemed ineligible under the amateur rules of the time. Forced onto the professional circuit, he won two of the most famous professional sprint races in the world: Scotland’s Powderhall Sprint and Australia’s Stawell Gift. On 1st January 1971, in Edinburgh, he ran 110 metres in 11.00 seconds, which equates to around 10 seconds for the more popular 100 metres. In 1972, he defeated Olympic gold medallist Tommie Smith, in a four-race series and was crowned world professional sprint champion.
        Winner, Powderhall Sprint, 1970 Winner, Stawell Gift, 1981
        There were many pros who couldn't compete in the "amateurs" but showed their talent in masters competition. Australia's Reg Austin is one example who had many age world records.

        Pro coaches have also had a significant, though denied at the time!, impact on the amateur ranks. The most well known, thanks to cinema, is Scipio Africanus (known as Sam) Mussabini of Chariots of Fire fame. He not only coached any track athlete that would pay him, he also coached cyclists, the other crypto-pros of the early 20th century. Not only that, he also coached the some of the earliest UK imported black sprinters.

        Britain's first Olympic sprint medals came from Harry Edward, born in British Guiana, who won two individual bronze medals in Antwerp in 1920. He was coached by Mussabini who was to guide Abrahams to glory four years later in Paris. In 1928 another Mussabini protégé, Jack London, also Guianan, won silver in Amsterdam.

        For those US people wanting to close the circle,
        Harry Edward(s) was, alternatively, a US sociology professor and ex-sprinter, strongly connected to....yes, Tommie Smith who was beaten by a certain Scotsman!

        Sorry that's all I have at the moment, hope it was interesting.

        {edited for spelling}


        • #19
          Re: the Stawell Gift

          El Toro: Nice post. Thanks. The above contains a line that, for some reason, I find amusing: "he ran 110 metres in 11.00 seconds, which equates to around 10 seconds for the more popular 100 metres." That seems a bit like saying that a 1750 meter time equates to xxx "for the more popular mile."


          • #20
            Rawson was not

            the first in this line of work, apparently!


            • #21
              Re: the Stawell Gift

              >El Toro: Nice post. Thanks. The above contains a line that, for some reason,
              >I find amusing: "he ran 110 metres in 11.00 seconds, which equates to around
              >10 seconds for the more popular 100 metres."

              Perhaps amusing, but certainly false. Anyone who can run 100 meters in 10.00 will be able to run that extra 10 meters A LOT faster than 1.00... 10.10-10.12 would be more like it. And the 11 seconds wasn't probably even an auto time...
              Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...


              • #22
                Re: the Stawell Gift

                Whoa Nelly, Powell ! Check yur math. You say someone can run 10 meters in .10 to .12 seconds !!??


                • #23
                  Re: the Stawell Gift

                  I believe he was saying that it would take .88 or .90 to run that last 10 meters, which sounds reasonable.


                  • #24
                    Auto Timing?

                    Maybe, maybe not. Pros used a lot of semi-auto, non photo finish timing apparatus including individual lane electic eye and individual lane wire apparatus(just like tape!), so that 11.00 could be an electric time more accurate than hand but less than modern photo-finish. It will not be a digital watch time because it's too early.

                    McNeill was credited with a hand timed 10.2 for 100m in 1970 on the way to a longer, and unknown distance, but likely 110m or 120y. This was an exhibition and is most likely to have been done on grass as the pros weren't welcome on proper "amateur" cinders or tartan at the time. Either style of non-grass track would be worth at least .1 or .2 off a grass time.

                    If you don't think 10.2 for a partial distance was any good in '70 then have a look at US titles around then:

                    1970 9.3 Ivory Crockett Sn Ill {10.2m, nwi)
                    1971 9.0w Del Meriwether Balt. OC (9.9m w?)
                    (100 Meters)
                    1972 10.2 Robert Taylor Texas Sou (nwi)


                    • #25
                      Re: the Stawell Gift

                      >I believe he was saying that it would take .88 or .90 to run that last 10
                      >meters, which sounds reasonable.

                      I knew what he meant, I was just teasing him for "adding to 10" instead of "subtracting from 11" !


                      • #26
                        Re: the Stawell Gift

                        This years Stawell Gift is being held over Easter. Lauren Hewitt has entered and is off 10 metres in the 120m, and 23m. in the 200m


                        • #27
                          Re: the Stawell Gift

                          In my opinion, the Stawell Gift meeting is one of the great Australian sporting events. There are a range of events from 70 metres to 3200 metres during the three-day carnival (Easter Saturday to Monday). I competed (unsuccessfully) in races over 1600 and 3200 metres in 1977 and 1978. Stawell is a town with a population of about 8,000. But over the Easter period the population swells to about 25,000. Bookmakers field on most events. There is an attraction about running handicap racing, as it does (on paper, any way) give every competitor a chance. Stawell is well worth a visit.


                          • #28
                            Re: the Stawell Gift

                            A TC discussion about the elimination of the short course at Worlds(McCloy was all in favour of elimination) led to a typo where the 12k was referred to as .12km. THAT led to a discussion of handicap races where the distance is 120 yards but you give up one yard for each one year of difference in your respective ages.


                            • #29
                              Note that the Stawell Gift made our headlines again today (not by name; see Ross)


                              • #30
                                Just under 24 hours until the call of the card. It all starts at 7pm in Stawell Town Hall tomorrow night. Will have a different feel this year as Betfair and other agencies have already opened their books.

                                Massive plunge earlier today on Chris Hickey a queenslander coming in from 40-1 to 3.80, Trained by former NR holder (10.22) Gerrard Keating. Perhaps this years gift is over even before Good Friday.

                                ANyone should be fun. On the road now.