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Women's Heptathlon and the 1999 Javelin Change

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  • El Toro
    replied
    Originally posted by Gabriella2 View Post
    I was looking for something and came across this, which made me look into a bit more.
    You raise some interesting points but I don't think there is sufficient available data to test the issue fully.

    As you point out, there might have been a change in attitude or skill as to where points could be gained, so any consequent rebalancing of training focus could have had a bigger impact than the actual specification change.

    We'll just have to wait until I get around to restarting my long dormant Heptathlon data digitisation project.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gabriella2
    replied
    Originally posted by olorin View Post
    Completely agree with El Toro, and the data also support this notion.
    Of the best 471 performances in the heptathlon (per IAAF website) 260 are done with the old specification and 211 with the new one.
    The average for the old specification is 45.43, the new specification is 46.48.
    I was looking for something and came across this, which made me look into a bit more.

    I think just looking at pre spec v new spec is a bit of a red herring. Current women have learned to throw with the new model and never had a chance to throw (further) with the old model. It's not fair to compare them with those who threw the old model. It's too simplistic.

    We need to look at the throws of the women who were competing during the change and see what affect it had on average performances. And you have to consider that the women have improved over the years technically in some events.

    We also need to consider changes in training approach and the make-up of a heptathlete, which has changed through the 80s and 90s until now. You go back to the 80's and the top East Germans were all relatively average in the JT, but excellent in the 200 & LJ. They didnt focus on the JT. Once you get into the 1990's (and no more GDR!), JT performances in the heptathlon markedly improve: in 83 & 87 World Champs, the average JT performance of the top 10 throwers was just 43.99 & 43.06. When you get into the 1990's it jumps up to over 47m.

    Many women now more focus more explicitly on the javelin, and training knowledge has improved in the last 10-20 years. The last 5 years has seen a massive improvement in JT performances in the heptathlon. On the other hand, Long jump performances have gone down for the top heptathletes, as have 200m times.

    The best years for the JT in the heptathlon have been in the last 5 years. 2012 was the best year; in London we saw 7 women throw over 51m! The average of the top 10 throwers was 51.78.
    The next best years in Global Champs were 2017 (top 10 av of 51.23); 2015 (top 10 av of 50.84) 2016 (top 10 av of 50.63) and 2011 (top 10 av of 49.71).

    If you look at the results, the JT was improving steadily in the 1990’s and was hovering around the 49m mark from 93 to 99, then the change in specification came, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that we see a drop in the curve and we’re back to the low 47’s not jumping back over 48 until 2004. 2000 and 2001 saw the worst top ten average JT in a champs since the 1980s. 2003 was only just better than 1992, but still worse than 99, 95 and 93. I don’t think this is a coincidence.

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  • olorin
    replied
    Originally posted by El Toro View Post
    This is exactly my point. It actually took a significant amount of technical skill to exploit the aerodynamic potential of the old javelins, especially the men. The ones most able to do this were specialist throwers throwing the big distances not mult event athletes.

    50-60 m for men and 40-50m for women would not gain much in the way of distance even with a skilled thrower.

    Also, people forget that there was a negative side to the more sensitive aerodynamics of the old javelins where you would lose more distance from a poorly angled javelin plus you were more likely to foul and lose good throws.

    Overall, any differences between old and new spec was a wash at the distances thrown by low skilled throwers, so I seen no value in worrying about chaning to the scoring tables - it's a non event.
    Completely agree with El Toro, and the data also support this notion.
    Of the best 471 performances in the heptathlon (per IAAF website) 260 are done with the old specification and 211 with the new one.
    The average for the old specification is 45.43, the new specification is 46.48.

    Leave a comment:


  • El Toro
    replied
    Originally posted by 26mi235 View Post
    My somewhat vague understanding is that it made the most difference on throws that not only were longer (thus more important for men due to strength differences) but also getting the technique right by throwing right through the point. While full-time throwers could work on their technique to do that, in the decathlon, the competitors would not have had much time to work on that level of expertise.
    This is exactly my point. It actually took a significant amount of technical skill to exploit the aerodynamic potential of the old javelins, especially the men. The ones most able to do this were specialist throwers throwing the big distances not mult event athletes.

    50-60 m for men and 40-50m for women would not gain much in the way of distance even with a skilled thrower.

    Also, people forget that there was a negative side to the more sensitive aerodynamics of the old javelins where you would lose more distance from a poorly angled javelin plus you were more likely to foul and lose good throws.

    Overall, any differences between old and new spec was a wash at the distances thrown by low skilled throwers, so I seen no value in worrying about chaning to the scoring tables - it's a non event.

    Leave a comment:


  • 26mi235
    replied
    My somewhat vague understanding is that it made the most difference on throws that not only were longer (thus more important for men due to strength differences) but also getting the technique right by throwing right through the point. While full-time throwers could work on their technique to do that, in the decathlon, the competitors would not have had much time to work on that level of expertise.

    Leave a comment:


  • mump boy
    replied
    t
    Originally posted by El Toro View Post
    I don't think so. Some women are finally throwing properly and getting the reward they deserve so why change anything? Dart throwers like KJT should continue to lose big time in this event.
    Of course but that wouldn't be the point of a change !! it would be to reconcile today's scores against historic performances.
    Last edited by mump boy; 06-18-2017, 04:29 PM.

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  • Trickstat
    replied
    Originally posted by gh View Post
    I was gobsmacked when they didn't change the tables. The only thing I can think of is that the heavy Brit influence that was in place at the IAAF at the time didn't want Daley Thompson to lose his status.

    .
    I think changing the tables as soon as the specification changes is not a practical consideration because of a lack of data on the effect of the change at different levels of performance. Other than substantial at 80m+, fairly significant at 60m, minimal below 40m.

    I would have just expected a similar thing to have happened as did in the javelin event itself in that the world record would have been reset and the best performance at the end of 1986 being ratified as the new WR as long as it complied with the usual criteria.

    IIRC, the new record would have been Daley Thompson's score set at that year's European Champs in Stuttgart which would have remained as the record until Dan O'Brien's emergence in the early '90s.

    However, my feeling is that in a long-term sense the effect is not that great overall and that what advantage a Jenner, Avilov, Toomey etc may have gained in this event compared with current decathletes is probably negated by the effect of faster tracks and equipment and technical developments in events like PV and 110mH.

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  • 18.99s
    replied
    The lack of rescoring the heptathlon may have contributed to Carolina Kluft's early departure from the event.

    After having won World and Olympic gold and broken the 7000 point barrier, she said she considered the world record to be out of reach and felt she'd already accomplished everything she could possibly do in the event. Maybe an extra 100 points to her javelin score (or deducting that from JJK's score) could have convinced her that the world record was worth trying for.

    Leave a comment:


  • polevaultpower
    replied
    When I googled it, reports circa 1999 indicated that they originally planned to change the Hep record, and that it had been a mistake not to change the table for the men... but no talk of changing it for the men at that point.

    I'm guessing since they had not changed for the men, it was hard to justify only changing the women once there was pushback.

    Leave a comment:


  • El Toro
    replied
    Originally posted by gh View Post
    I was gobsmacked when they didn't change the tables. The only thing I can think of is that the heavy Brit influence that was in place at the IAAF at the time didn't want Daley Thompson to lose his status.
    I can't comment on the existence of British conspiracy, but I am still of the view that it made no practical difference in scoring. I vaguely recall looking at this years ago and you couldn't tell if a particular year was pre or post specification change based on decathlon distances. Random variations in technique have a much more significant impact on distance at decathlon level than aerodynamic performance. Obviously, for those throwing 30-40m further, there was a clear impact.

    I also note that they didn't adjust the tables to take into account the introduction of Mondo Super Duper Yee Hah XXX Springboard (tm) track surface either.

    Leave a comment:


  • gh
    replied
    I was gobsmacked when they didn't change the tables. The only thing I can think of is that the heavy Brit influence that was in place at the IAAF at the time didn't want Daley Thompson to lose his status.

    The conspiracy theorist in me also tends to believe tales that Bubka may have been behind the decision (or non-decision) to change the PV when they went to the short pegs, which was a massive change, Lavillenie's subsequent jumping notwithstanding.

    Leave a comment:


  • Gabriella2
    replied
    You can't change an implement and then not the tables. The change in weighting absolutely affected scores. Even if it were 50cm, that could make the difference between a barrier breaking score and not, a record or not. The tables should have changed.

    Leave a comment:


  • El Toro
    replied
    Originally posted by Trickstat View Post
    When many decathletes were probably losing about 10% of their previous distances I thought the previous records would have been wiped.
    Most men were as technically as crap as the women but because of the extra distance they were throwing through strength alone, aerodynamic effects were potentially greater. However, a 1 in 30 chance of actually hitting a throw through the point at the right angle means maybe one superior aerodynamic effect on a throw in every 10 decathlons. The chances of this happening at the same time as peak performance in the other 9 events was even more remote, so no need for adjustments impactin on every throw.

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  • El Toro
    replied
    Originally posted by mump boy View Post
    In light of the dramatic improvement in Hep javelin performances this year do tables need reviewing ?
    I don't think so. Some women are finally throwing properly and getting the reward they deserve so why change anything? Dart throwers like KJT should continue to lose big time in this event.

    Leave a comment:


  • mump boy
    replied
    In light of the dramatic improvement in Hep javelin performances this year do tables need reviewing ?

    Leave a comment:

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