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  • how good was Mary Slaney ...

    Records Held ... major races won obviously not included

    American Record: 800 m - 1:56.90 (August 16, 1985 - )
    American Record: 1,500 m - 3:57.12 (July 26, 1983 - )
    American Record: 1 mi. - 4:16.71 (August 21, 1985 - )
    American Record: 3,000 m - 8:25.83 (September 7, 1985 - )
    American Record: 5,000 m - 15:06.53 (June 1, 1985 - )
    American Record: 10,000 m - 31:35.30 (July 16, 1982 - )

    not intended to deflect recent or anticipated records ... but hard not to reflect how talented she was. Personally I wish she hadn't been so injury prone. Anyway pretty impressive PRs. Not sure but I think all outdoors. Plus she had that form --- smooth.

    Her World Championship wins were/are some of my favorite races to watch.

    Okay, my post for the day ... been thinking about it for a while.

  • #2
    Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

    The answer depends on one's assessment of Peyton Manning's status, as of today, before the 2014 Super Bowl.
    If one thinks P. Manning is the greatest ever, you love Slaney, and think her one of the best of all time. If you think Montana and Brady are better players than P. Manning is, then you are slow to annoint Slaney as great. I am of the latter camp.

    I stack major titles well above records in my assessment of track athletes. Slaney was very good historically, IMO. Slaney was great in 1983. Longevity at the highest championship level was brief. She is not one of the all-time greats IMO. I think Mannning must win another title before we can speak of him in the same strata as Brady and Montana.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

      Originally posted by houstonian
      The answer depends on one's assessment of Peyton Manning's status, as of today, before the 2014 Super Bowl.
      If one thinks P. Manning is the greatest ever, you love Slaney, and think her one of the best of all time. If you think Montana and Brady are better players than P. Manning is, then you are slow to annoint Slaney as great. I am of the latter camp.

      I stack major titles well above records in my assessment of track athletes. Slaney was very good historically, IMO. Slaney was great in 1983. Longevity at the highest championship level was brief. She is not one of the all-time greats IMO. I think Mannning must win another title before we can speak of him in the same strata as Brady and Montana.
      Probably belongs in OT message board but question for anyone:

      Was Tom Brady a better QB from 2001 through 2004 or has he been since then?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

        How DID her PR's rate at the time.....
        and how DO they rate today?

        When Mary started, Title IX was new.
        So women's T&F was just starting its rise from the vistas set by the Babe's & Wilma's!
        Slaney really was the 1st all-around runner!
        I mean, how many women, even today, have her range (800-10K) of brilliance?
        I'll use my Top 24 Performers lists to measure her marks.

        1:56.90 (1985)
        24th on my World list is 1:55.96.
        No Americans on it!
        There's 12 women whose marks came BEFORE Mary's!!
        But she's # 2 on the US list...behind only a woman who started as a 400 gal!
        None of the many great US 800 women have been able to top Mary's time in the past 29 years!

        3:57.12 (1983)
        She comes closer to my Top 24 list (0.47 away).
        Just 4 women on my list have times that precede her's!
        (I count the Chinese!)
        She still leads the US, again beating down all tries since to top her!

        4:16.71 (1985)
        The mile isn't the best distance to measure her greatness, not being run very often!
        That said, she's now 5th A-T World.
        Two of the 4 ahead of her ran their times in 1984, so she never was # 1.
        She IS clearly # 1, however, in the US!
        In fact, she's the only American to break 4:20!

        8:25.83 (1985)
        This is another "outmoded" discipline.
        It too is no longer run regularly.
        But again, she never was # 1 on the World list!
        She's currently 16th there.
        And once again, she's the only American to go under 8:30, indoors or out!
        Then, or in the past 29 years!

        15:06.53 (1985) & 31:35.3 (1982)
        There was no African Revolution then!
        But they were never her best events.
        I think she ran just that one 10K!
        And the 5K?
        She ran a few, but mostly in her 30's!
        With all the Africans (and Chinese), she's nowhere near being Top 24 World!
        But at the time, though, she rated highly...to a degree!!
        In the 5K, she's now # 21 on the US list!
        There remain 4 US women who ran their times in the 20th century, but all AFTER Mary did.
        With the rapid emergence of US female distance stars, she'll probably be leaving my Top 24 pretty soon.
        (In 2014?)
        Her 10K's a somewhat different story.
        Run in flats, on a whim, her then-WR didn't last long!
        But she DID hold the WORLD RECORD in the 10K!!!
        Now?
        Her time's just 18th US A-T!!
        Again, it might not BE Top 24 very much longer!

        But with her range of marks, she must be considered.....looked at on an ALL TIME USA basis......the best ALL-AROUND female distance runner the USA's ever had!!

        Of course, there's ANOTHER Mary.....who's showing signs of developing such a range!!

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

          when comparing Slaney's marks to WR you get the following

          American Record: 800 m - 1:56.90 1:53.28 Jarmila Kratochvílová (Czechoslovakia)
          American Record: 1,500 m - 3:57.12 3:50.46 Yunxia Qu (China)
          TFN "real" fastest 3:52.47 Tatyana Kazankina (Soviet Union)
          American Record: 1 mi. - 4:16.71 4:12.56 Svetlana Masterkova (Russia)
          TFN "real” fastest 8:21.42 Gabriela Szabo (Romania)
          American Record: 3,000 m - 8:25.83 8:06.11 Junxia Wang (China)
          American Record: 5,000 m - 15:06.53 14:11.15 Tirunesh Dibaba (Ethiopia)
          American Record: 10,000 m - 31:35.30 29:31.78 Junxia Wang (China)
          TFN “real” fastest 29:53.80 Meselech Melkamu (Ethiopia)

          of course its hardly fair to compare one person's PRs vs the WRs in same events, especially with the range of distances/events. TFN, of course maintains that the Chinese marks are flawed, as well as FloJos 10.49, which should have never been submitted as a WR. Mary Slaney's 100 was a bit slower, it should be noted.

          Slaney's marks compared the current American performances would tell a bit dif story, but I'm not going to look those up - I do have close ballpark guesstimates however. That will remain a secret so as to protect my ignorance.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

            I have no real way of responding to the query in the thread's title, other than "really really good," but here are a couple of observations:

            First, about that 31:35.3(h) 10k time. She was younger than what might be implied above, as she ran that time on 16 July 1982 (so, 23 yo, just shy of 24 yo). It lowered the WR by ~42 seconds. I don't have any details on the event itself, but it must have been pretty much a solo effort, and -- I think it is correct that it's her only track 10k (unless I've forgotten something, which is always possible). She did run a 31:38 road 10km a couple of years later, which was not a WR/Best, but was in the range of where Waitz and Kristiansen had put the 10km road record at that point. We know well her capacity across 800-3k, and it's not hard to extrapolate that up to 5k -- she was 26 yo (just shy of 27) when she ran her 15:06.53 in June of 1985. I am inclined to think that she could have run sub-31 had she made that a serious focus, even for a short time. Likewise, for sure sub-15 for 5k -- pretty close to that in any case. So, for me -- given her actual range of performances -- speculating at what she probably could have done at 5k & 10k elevates my regard for her (even though some of that is speculation).

            One other observation -- made more impressive imo in light of the number of injuries and surgeries: She ran 15:23 for 5k in 1998, just a couple of months shy of her 40th birthday. That impresses me quite a bit, though in ways other than the range of lifetime bests, records, championships, etc.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

              Mary Slaney was indeed an amazing talent...there are few USA women who have run as well even after all these years later. I think of her as an amazing USA talent like unto Jim Ryun. And she did it w/ numerous injuries/surgeries...which made it all the more remarkable.

              I'm one who feels confident that she would have handily won gold in the infamous 1984 LA OG's 3000m. Puica was a fine runner, but no match for Mary!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

                How good was Mary Slaney?

                pretty darned.

                She truly had the talent, drive, and will of a Champion. Sometimes to a fault.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

                  Originally posted by Marlow
                  She truly had the talent, drive, and will of a Champion. Sometimes to a fault.
                  Very true!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

                    Not one mention of the fact that she failed a drug test?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

                      Originally posted by Marlow
                      How good was Mary Slaney?

                      pretty darned.

                      She truly had the talent, drive, and will of a Champion. Sometimes to a fault.
                      America's best ever on the female side mid-distance-wise: the only athlete ever to hold every U.S. record from 800 meters to 10,000 meters, and more: http://bringbackthemile.com/athletes/detail/mary_decker

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

                        Several contributors to this thread mentioned U.S. records (by Mary) from 800m to 10k.

                        About 1971 or 1972, at a weekend meet in Orange County (south of Los Angeles) she ran 800m and it was said that she would run in a marathon on the following day. I was then a volunteer assistant for other events and too busy to follow up on that marathon. Further, it did not come up when she and I chatted in 1996 at Eugene about early 1970s meets.

                        But I heard that as a youth she [Mary Decker] was coached by Don DeNoon who just a few years ago was coaching Florida youngsters at a National AAU indoor meet in Knoxville. If some other forum participant knows how to contact Mr. DeNoon, a marathon by Mary might be confirmed -- or not.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

                          Thank you for that blast from the past. Don Denoon was a great friend and all class when I knew him at Drake (women's coach there at time). We're not in touch tho.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

                            Originally posted by JumboElliott
                            Not one mention of the fact that she failed a drug test?
                            In her case, "fail" is somewhat open to interpretation, as USATF says she didn't and IAAF says she did. Unfortunately, no WADA around in those days to properly adjudicate the differences.

                            I'd also note that the test in question came more than 20 years after she first World Ranked as a 14-year-old. If you'd like to believe she was dirty for that entire period, you're welcome to do so.

                            If she were indeed a user all that time, by all accounts still being in rather robust shape and having given birth to a healthy child, I'd say that's an argument that "PEDs will destroy you" is perhaps an overblown argument.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: how good was Mary Slaney ...

                              Originally posted by gh
                              Originally posted by JumboElliott
                              Not one mention of the fact that she failed a drug test?
                              In her case, "fail" is somewhat open to interpretation, as USATF says she didn't and IAAF says she did. Unfortunately, no WADA around in those days to properly adjudicate the differences.

                              I'd also note that the test in question came more than 20 years after she first World Ranked as a 14-year-old. If you'd like to believe she was dirty for that entire period, you're welcome to do so.

                              If she were indeed a user all that time, by all accounts still being in rather robust shape and having given birth to a healthy child, I'd say that's an argument that "PEDs will destroy you" is perhaps an overblown argument.
                              The Letsrun website must agree with IAAF, since every time her name comes up they preface it with "drug cheat."

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