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  • So who is the...........

    ...greatest sprinter of the Track&Field News years?

  • #2
    Re: So who is the...........

    Always a fun question to try to answer. I think the first thing you need to do is remember that prior to '93 people had to wait 4 years between World Championships, and prior to '83 there were no WC at all. And there was little financial incentive to hang around between Olympics. So if peg too much of your definition of "great" on big medals won, then the guys of the last 10 years come out on top all the time.

    So, trying to ignore that, and giving short careers equal weight as long ones, if you could time-machine the greatest sprinters of the last 50 years into the same era, with same tracks, shoes, coaching methods, I think it might go something like this (men only, because the Eastbloc schemes make the women's side an exercise in futility):

    100: 1. Bob Hayes; 2. Carl Lewis; 3. Maurice Greene; 4. Linford Christie; 5. Valeriy Borzov

    200: 1. Tommie Smith; 2. MJ; 3. Carl Lewis; 4. Don Quarrie; 5. John Carlos

    400: 1. MJ; 2. Tommie Smith; 3. Lee Evans; 4. Alberto Juantorena; 5. Herb McKenley.

    gh
    (garry hill/editor, T&FN)

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    • #3
      Re: So who is the...........

      It really does twek the imagination concerning just what Bullet Bob might have done if he'd stayed longer doesn't it? I have no problems seeing him cook a sizzlin' 9.85 in Mexico City in 68.

      Darn football...ha!

      Tommie Smith is another who didn't hang around long enought. What an amazing athlete!

      Herb McKenley just doesn't get his props, he was probably histories first great multi faceted sprinter. Olympic finals in all three sprints and histories first sub 45.0 guy.....I know relay but still!

      Love the magazine and a long time subscriber.

      Comment


      • #4
        Finally!!

        ...someone who goes back far enough to remember the REAL big dawgs, lol! I watched video recently of Juantorena in Montreal; he's another who doesn't get his props.

        Congrats on new msg. board.

        Best,

        Lane4

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Finally!!

          He gets short shrift because untimely injuries kept him out of the OG twice, and there were no WC during his career, but if we're talking "idealized" situations here, I have to think that Steve Williams would be a major player. When healthy, he was ungodly fast.

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          • #6
            Re: So who is the...........

            Hmmmm....I know MJ is the best quarter miler of all time, but anyone who ever saw Lee Evans run saw the most determined runner ever. Just raw power and steel will. And everyone forgets the guy he beat, who is still in the top 5 of all time, Larry James. Never gets any credit at all. Honorable mention to Ron Freeman in 3rd place, and of course, John Smith with the most graceful stride of all time.

            Can't put Tommie Smith ahead of MJ in the 200. That time is just off the page.

            Steve Williams is the greatest "too bad he got hurt" sprinter ever. He would have been a GREAT quarter miler, and was a great 100/200 guy.
            Joe Lanzalotto

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            • #7
              Re: So who is the...........

              larry james is in the top 5 all time? really? evans is only 5th!!!!!!

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              • #8
                Re: So who is the...........

                I agree with gh in general, but I think my 4th and 5th men in the 200 would be Carlos and Henry Carr. Nothing against DQ, but Carr was more impressive to me and Carlos, at his very best, was as good as anyone I ever saw, including MJ. Unfortunately, he was never really at his best at the OG, which at the time was the only world event there was.

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                • #9
                  Re: So who is the...........

                  Pretty good list by GH .. Tough to argue with ... Love Linford and Borzov, but I too would have to put in a vote for Steve Williams .. Multiple HT record setter who was injured at the wrong time though he somewhat aquitted himself by winning the first World Cup when that was all available to him .. and Quarrie (longevity and quality) in the 100 ... Quarrie defintely belongs in the 200 ... High quality and longevity before it was financially attractive !!!

                  In the 400 I would have to give at least an honorable mention to Bert Cameron ... Fine quartermiler who was never quite teh same after what may have been the most awesome 400 in history - his injury run semifinal in Los Angeles ... Also would have to put Butch REynolds somewhere in the 400 ... Brought the event back to where Evans took it and further down to where MJ would go ... Had prime part of his career robbed of him unfortunately ... While people marvel at MJ it was Butch who set the standard ...

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                  • #10
                    Re: So who is the...........

                    What a time machine, this new board. On the 400, I am mesmerized by the thought of a hypothetical race between MJ and LE - it always seemed like Evans would just not let himself lose -- whatever it took, he would get to the finish line first. Insert him into MJ's world record race, and who wins, and in what time? You can run that reel in your brain for days. Thanks, Garry. And let me tell you that I think that the last issue of T&FN (March 2003) is one of the best I have ever read in the 40+ years I have been reading the mag. How about Donovan Kilmartin? How about a hypothetical match-up with Bob Mathias in 1948?

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                    • #11
                      Re: So who is the...........

                      >On the 400, I am mesmerized by the thought of a hypothetical race between MJ and LE - it always seemed like Evans would just not let himself lose -- whatever it took, he would get to the finish line first. Insert him into MJ's world record race, and who wins, and in what time? You can run that reel in your brain for days.<

                      Nah, maybe 5 seconds. As good and as tough as LE was, MJ wins that race every time, and LE isn't close enough to make a difference in MJ's time.

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                      • #12
                        Re: So who is the...........

                        If the tpoic was "Who was the prettiest 400 (440) runner?", I would say Larry James without a doubt. I remember being mesmerized by his form on the track, so smooth.

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                        • #13
                          Re: So who is the...........

                          >If the tpoic was "Who was the prettiest 400
                          >(440) runner?", I would say Larry James without
                          >a doubt. I remember being mesmerized by his form
                          >on the track, so smooth.>>

                          I'd say the same about Smith.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: So who is the...........

                            Let's put MJ smack dab in the middle of...

                            Lane

                            1.Vince Matthews
                            2.Wayne Collett
                            3.Larry James
                            4.MJ
                            5.Tommie Smith
                            6.Lee Evans
                            7.Ron Freeman
                            8.Henry Carr.....yep!

                            Mmmmm?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: So who is the...........

                              >Let's put MJ smack dab in the middle
                              >of...

                              Lane

                              1.Vince Matthews
                              2.Wayne
                              >Collett
                              3.Larry James
                              4.MJ
                              5.Tommie
                              >Smith
                              6.Lee Evans
                              7.Ron Freeman
                              8.Henry
                              >Carr.....yep!

                              Mmmmm?<

                              1, MJ; 2, Smith; 3, Evans; 4, James; 5, Carr; 6, Freeman; 7, Matthews; 8, Collett. (Some of that order is based on the presumed lane draw.)

                              But let's not forget that there was a generation of Olympic medalists between MJ and the rest of that field. Throw Newhouse, Watts, Lewis, and Reynolds into the mix and some of those '64-'68-'72 guys don't make your final.

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