Ok, now that the high hurdlers are done, let me give thought to the intermediates – another difficult list. Once again, I find I have a list that is heavy on one era. In part because I’m not including current competitors, but largely because that era was simply the best ever in my humble opinion.I also find myself listing a couple of athletes that may draw question. Once again these are my favorites and not necessarily reflective of a GOAT list, because I agree that a GOAT list should be a bit more "restrictive".
All that said, here are my favorite intermediate hurdler’s. Have at it.
1. Edwin Moses - Moses is one of my favorite athletes of all time period – regardless of event – in all of sport. This man took an event that was a "step child" in track and field, and made it glamorous. He reinvented the event. So much so that the WR aside he still owns the all time list – 4 of the top 10 times ever, 25 of the top 100. Two Olympic titles and a third was certainly missed to the boycott. He won the first 3 World Cup titles, and the first 2 World Championships. And to top it off he won 122 races in a row including finals and rounds. If track and field had a Mt Rushmore he would be one of the heads – I think I may do that.
2. David Patrick – I’m sure a lot of you are going, who! But for those ancient of us you’ll know who this man was. One of the most consistent hurdler’s, he just happened to compete during the era of Moses – as a few of these athletes did. The man was good enough to run 47.75 in the 80s – he’d win a lot of races today – and made the ’92 Olympic final. With the event so competitive during that era he was still a highlight in the sport.
3. Brian Bronson – Sprinters speed. Hurdler’s heart. This cat had both in bunches. 20.24 in the deuce and 47.02 in the hurdles, yet I bet most of you never heard the name. But Bronson was a late 90s stud who looked ready to lead the event into the new Millennium and a new dimension. Right add he began to shine he suffered a two year suspension. One that never armed clear to many. Suspension of not, this kid was super talented and fun to watch. A one of a kind talent taken out of the sport way to soon.
4. Harald Schmid – This event has seen some superb talent and Schmid was another who split time here (47.48), the 400 (44.92) and in the 800 (1:44.82). How’s that for range? Schmid was as tough a competitor as Moses faced. His range was matched by a tough competitive drive and if not for Moses he may have been the dominant hurdler of the era.
5. Danny Harris – Ah talk about talent. I watched Harris dominate as a high school kid at Perris High School in California, then move on to become an Olympic as as teen. Taking silver behind Moses in Los Angeles (84) and Rome (87). Harris was never going for style points as his style was simply brute force. He powered his way around the track wearing out the competition. Only Moses was exempt from Harris’s powerful stretch runs in the final straight. And that one time Harris had enough to break The Streak! One of the sport’s major accomplishments.
6. Kevin Young – The world record holder – only man under 47! That alone should make him a favorite. But Young was entertaining before the record, as he was part of a great squad at UCLA with Henry Thomas, Michael Marsh and Steve Lewis – the first foursome to go sub 3:00 in the 4×4. I got to watch the tall, long striding hurdler mature into the world record and a great two seasons at the top. Had he had better longevity he may be higher on my list.
7. James Carter – Attitude. That’s why Carter is here. He was absolutely one of the world best when he was competing. But he also had moxie, on and off the track. He made you run your butt off to beat him on the track. He was a huge anti drug proponent off it. He spoke his mind and took a lot of crap for doing so – but he was always on point. If more athletes had his guts this sport would be clean by now.
8. Samuel Matete – Just a great hurdler who had tremendous success during the age of Moses. He won his fair share and ran exceedingly fast. You couldn’t ask more of a hurdler during his era. A fierce competitor, he had a strong finish – a common denominator for hurdlers during that era. You brought it back then, especially in the stretch, and Matete was one of the best as 47.10 bears testament to.
9. Andre Phillips – Danny Harris ended The Streak of Edwin Moses, but it was Phillips that took the gold medal away! Phillips was a hard working hurdler with skills – skills good enough to run 13.25 in the 110 hurdles. I watched Andre chase after Moses for years, often coming close, until the magic moment in Seoul. Phillips was fun to watch because of his competitiveness and heart. In the end that’s what netted him one of the biggest upsets in Olympic history.
10. John Akii Bua – Before Edwin Moses, the magic man in the event was Akii Bua who took the event into the 47s with his Olympic win in Munich in 47.82. As a kid that seemed nearly impossible, yet I watched it right there on TV. My first real look at the intermediate hurdles.
So. What should I look at next?