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"The Wind Read Zero": An oral history of Flo Jo's 10.49

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  • "The Wind Read Zero": An oral history of Flo Jo's 10.49

    Found this interesting article on Flo-Jo's "historic" run at the 1988 US Olympic Trials in Indianapolis. A slew of personalities give recollections of the race and the surrounding conditions. The actual video is included at the bottom; interesting to see again after all these years (and to hear the reactions of those calling the race):


    http://dailyrelay.com/the-wind-read-...-world-record/

  • #2
    Originally posted by JRM View Post
    The actual video is included at the bottom;
    Look at the official's white flag being held up right behind the blocks. It looks like it is blowing stiffly directly perpendicular to the track. If I'm seeing it correctly, it would explain why everyone thought it was so windy, but her wind reading was 0.0.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Atticus View Post
      Look at the official's white flag being held up right behind the blocks. It looks like it is blowing stiffly directly perpendicular to the track. If I'm seeing it correctly, it would explain why everyone thought it was so windy, but her wind reading was 0.0.
      Thanks for the article. That's a great point. Enough proof for me that the wind really was 0.0

      Last edited by spammer; 08-26-2014, 05:03 PM.
      Bolt's last year...and my last year as a track fan, it's been fun

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      • #4
        Originally posted by spammer View Post
        Thanks for the article. That's a great point. Enough proof for me that the wind really was 0.0
        But your conclusion goes against a large number of the eyewitness testimonies in the article.

        Also, I don't think the flag is blowing perpendicular to the track. It's the angle of the photo.

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        • #5
          True, I could be wrong. But it looks perpendicular to me, blowing into the face of the crowd, and against the turn after the finish line. I added a second bigger picture. I admit I might be seeing it wrong though.
          Last edited by spammer; 08-26-2014, 05:02 PM.
          Bolt's last year...and my last year as a track fan, it's been fun

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          • #6
            Fantastic article! Thanks for sharing. I don't think we'll ever really know, but she SMOKED that field. Maybe she just had her "Michael Johnson" moment right then and there?

            Also, how does her 200m 21.34 compare? Isn't it about as far above the next best as her 100m is? To me that makes her 100m record much more reasonable and believable.


            In the first photo in that article, I noticed her "implausible deltoid" and I only phrase it that way because I remember that phrase in the SI "Busted" Ben Johnson issue when the author, speaking of a particular photo, mentioned that about Ben Johnson's right deltoid.
            Last edited by scottmitchell74; 08-28-2014, 02:39 AM.
            You there, on the motorbike! Sell me one of your melons!

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            • #7
              If there were indeed a crosswind, there would be visible signs of the runners fighting against that crosswind. I didn't see anything of the sort, even at the start. And if I'm not mistaken, don't the rules state that, if at any point during the course of the race, the wind changes direction in such a way that the tailwind measures more than 2.0, the race is invalidated for record purposes?

              Then there's the story of the wind gauge having not been properly warmed up before they started the quarterfinals.

              We need Shelly, maybe Tori, to go 10.60 (with a legal wind) to bring this debate back into the forefront, and perhaps force a review; in which case, Flo would get credit for 2 WRs (10.70 semi and 10.61 final) if they determine that her 10.49 quarterfinal was wind-aided.
              Last edited by CookyMonzta; 08-28-2014, 07:11 AM.

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              • #8
                Ignore the flag, it's too inconclusive. Check the video, seconds 3-8. You can see the wind flapping the orange uniform of the gal next to Flo-Jo. This is a no-brainer.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CookyMonzta View Post
                  And if I'm not mistaken, don't the rules state that, if at any point during the course of the race, the wind changes direction in such a way that the tailwind measures more than 2.0, the race is invalidated for record purposes?
                  There's nothing like that in the rules, it's the average wind speed during the race that matters.
                  Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne...

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                  • #10
                    and to put an even finer point on it, it's not the average "during the race"; can be for a period longer than the race or shorter.

                    As in, for the 100, 10 seconds after the gun is fired. So in a Boltian race, the reading stops after the winner has crossed the line. For young kids, they might still be 20 meters from the finish when the reading ceased. (it's 13 seconds in the hurdles)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JRM View Post
                      But your conclusion goes against a large number of the eyewitness testimonies in the article.
                      Also, I don't think the flag is blowing perpendicular to the track. It's the angle of the photo.
                      Ha! What you just said was - ignore the evidence and go by hearsay. The angle of the photo notwithstanding, I see it perpendicular.

                      Originally posted by CookyMonzta View Post
                      If there were indeed a crosswind, there would be visible signs of the runners fighting against that crosswind. I didn't see anything of the sort, even at the start. Then there's the story . . .
                      Huh? I'm not sure I've EVER seen lateral motion of elite sprinters to indicate a crosswind. A story . . . really? . . .

                      Originally posted by G.Ahearn View Post
                      Ignore the flag, it's too inconclusive. Check the video, seconds 3-8. You can see the wind flapping the orange uniform of the gal next to Flo-Jo. This is a no-brainer.
                      The uniform is constrained by more other variables than is a flag. I'll stick to the flag.

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                      • #12
                        I have to say I also don't see the flag as perpendicular to the field, but I don't think the quality of image is good enough that any of us can offer anything more than speculations regarding the actual angle of the flag.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Atticus View Post
                          Ha! What you just said was - ignore the evidence and go by hearsay. The angle of the photo notwithstanding, I see it perpendicular.
                          The real evidence is the wind speeds in the concurrent jump events (parallel to the straight), most of which were well in excess of 2m/s the entire day. What the wind is doing behind the start line is really inconsequential. Or are you trying to tell me you honestly believe, after all these years, that FJ ran 10.49 basic in a quarter final?

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                          • #14
                            I was sitting about a dozen rows up, about 10 meters from the starting line. The was howling up the straightaway. Next question?

                            (remembering, by the way, that the first rule of guesstimating wind speeds is that if you can feel the wind, it's illegal; 2.0 is a whisper)

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                            • #15
                              Atticus, check her hair blowing to her left as she walking almost perpendicular to the straightaway after the race.
                              Last edited by G.Ahearn; 08-28-2014, 08:35 PM.

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