The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Best Ever Women’s 4×4 Splits

Aug 15th, 2012
4:41 pm PDT

Allyson Felix2Trying to get caught up with the Games just closing, so have been extremely busy. Still a lot more to address – I think I will take a closer look at either the sprints or middle distances next. To add to it all the next Diamond League meet is up in a day and a half in Stockholm! Wow.

Before I get more in depth with the sprints, I did want to take a look at women’s 4×4 splits. If you remember the split announced during the relay in London for Allyson Felix was 47.8 – a fantastic leg. The one thing I knew immediately is that I haven’t heard a split below 48 seconds since the 1988 Olympics, so I decided to take a look at relay splits to see just how many times anyone has run under 48 seconds. That answer is: only a handful. Here are the female splits under 48.0 in the 4×4.

47.70 – Marita Koch (GDR) – Erfurt 6/3/84
47.75 – Jarmila Kratochvilova (CZE) – Helsinki 8/14/83
47.80 – Olga Bryzgina (UKR) – Seoul 10/1/88
47.82 – Olga Nazarova (RUS) – Seoul 10/1/88
47.6 – Jarmila Kratochvilova (CZE)  – Athens 9/11/82
47.8 – Jarmila Kratochvilova (CZE) – London 8/21/83
47.9 – Jarmila Kratochvilova (CZE) – Pescara 8/2/81
47.9 – Marita Koch (GDR) – Athens 9/11/82
47.9 – Marita Koch (GDR) – Canberra 10/4/85

First take note that Allyson is the first non Eastern Bloc woman to accomplish the feat! Second she is only the 5th woman in history to split under 48! So her leg was a bit more outstanding than originally stated. A few bits of “trivia”.

The fastest team with a sub 48 – WR 3:15.17 [USSR) also the only race with two sub 48s on the same team Bryzgina (47.80), Nazarova (47.82).

The slowest team with a sub 48 – 3:28.72 (CZE) Kratochvilova (47.9).

The only race with sub 48s on opposing teams – Athens 9/11/82: GDR 3:19.04, Koch (47.9), CZE 3:22.17, Kratochvilova (47.6).

Here are the 400 meter PR’s of the women that have broken 48 in the relay:

47.60 – Marita Koch (GDR)
47.99 – Jarmila Kratochvilova (CZE)
48.27 – Olga Bryzgina (UKR)
49.11 – Olga Nazarova (RUS)

Looking at the PR’s of these women I will go with what I said previously, that I think the 400 may be Allyson’s best event. Now, time to look at some other events.

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6 Responses to “Best Ever Women’s 4×4 Splits”

  1. Coach Larry says:

    So much attention to relay splits surprises me. Splits are generally inaccurate and I think that individual performances in relays are often better due to having three others depending on your efforts. Suffice it to say that Felix is one hell of a long and short sprinter.

    Now let’s discuss the men & women’s 4×1 and toss in those splits if you’ve got them.

    • CHill says:

      I’ve only seen one set of splits for the short relays (men’s) and they were clearly off .. I plan on sitting down this weekend to see what I can come up with (I’ve got the track put on DVDs) .. I don’t normally pay attention to splits .. Only when someone clearly puts in a stupendous performance .. And like you said Felix is one hell of a long and short sprinter ..

      You did bring up something however .. The fact that some people perform better in relays than they do in open events .. We (my friends and I) call them relay animals .. Something about that baton brings out the beast in them .. I’ve seen it for decades, both men and women .. An interesting physical and psychological phenomenon ..

  2. Ron says:

    Those Eastern Bloc splits are absolutely tainted. The East Germans and Russians ran a systemic drug/steriod program for years. All records from that era are suspect at best.

    • CHill says:

      The splits are fine, it’s just how they came about .. That’s one of the reasons I listed them, because it’s so rate that a woman approaches anything done by the Eastern bloc athletes .. Sally Pearson in the hurdles Allyson in the 200 and long relay, Vlasic/Chicherova in the HJ .. So when it does happen I like to point it out, because it’s taken so long for the women to begin to approach that level of competition ..

  3. Don B. says:

    Allyson’s best event may very well be the 400. She is an outstanding power sprinter. Even though 10.9 is a very good time in the 100, her best race is the 400 and then the 200 in my opinion.

    • CHill says:

      She’s definitely better at the long sprints .. I’m torn on which is her better event .. I think she can drop that 200 a bit more .. Definitely 21.5x, perhaps 21.4x .. At the same time I don’t think she’s come close to her 400 potential .. Definitely somewhere south of 48.50 … But how low ?? Looking at what the women on the all time list brought to the table, I’d say closer to 48.00 than not ..

      It will be interesting to see what she does over the next couple of seasons with Moscow and Beijing on tap .. The 100 helps her 200 and doesn’t seem to hurt her 400 … Perhaps we see her in the 100/200 with shots at the 400 in big meets ??

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