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

Let the Deuce Shine

Jan 20th, 2013
9:04 am PDT

Yohan Blake

Early in every season I feel compelled to talk about the deuce – 200 meters. For starters, it’s one of my favorite events, combining the speed of the 100 with the strength/speed endurance of the quarter. Throw in that stagger on the turn that sort of makes you wait to see just how the race is developing, and you have what I consider the best of the sprint events.

What really compels me to talk about the deuce every year however, is that the sport continues to treat the 200 as an afterthought, instead of the potential marketing dream that I believe it is. After all, being in the middle of the sprint world, it attracts talent from both the 100 & 400, and as a result, some of the greatest athletes in the sport compete in the deuce. The names that compete here are staggering: Usain Bolt, Yohan Blake, Tyson Gay, Walter Dix, Wallace Spearmon, LaShawn Merritt, Allyson Felix, Carmelita Jeter, Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, Veronica Campbell Brown, and Sanya Richards Ross are just a few of the well known athletes that compete in this event.

I have to believe that if the event was contested more often; the money was right, and more attention was paid to the event, that we would see several other top athletes give it a go. Could you imagine Kirani James really working on his deuce? Or Justin Gatlin staying with the deuce and giving it his full attention? How about Doc Patton staying with the deuce instead of dropping down to the 100? After all,  Patton ran 20.03 way back in ’03, long before he was sub10 – and well before running 9.89! Where would Patton have gone in the deuce with that “new” speed? Look what Bolt’s improved 100 did to his deuce.

Unfortunately the event has gotten scant attention over the years until a stud or two begin to throw down some sizzling times – aka Tommie Smith, Donald Quarrie, Steve Williams, Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, and Usain Bolt among others. Then fans remember just how exciting the deuce can be. Put those sprinters together and you could have a great season – and that’s exactly the potential that the event currently has! Look at the names and times of the “proven” sub 20 200 meter men entering the 2013 season:

19.19 – Usain Bolt
19.26 – Yohan Blake
19.53 – Walter Dix
19.56 – Tyson Gay
19.65 – Wallace Spearmon
19.80 – Christophe Lemaitre
19.81 – Alonso Edward
19.84 – Warren Weir
19.85 – Churandy Martina
19.85 – Nickel Ashmeade
19.86 – Justin Gatlin
19.86 – Jason Young
19.95 – Jaysuma Ndure
19.98 – LaShawn Merritt
19.99 – Curtis Mitchell

It’s the greatest assortment of 200 meter talent ever assembled – and all of them are young enough to still be able to improve their PRs! This assemblage in routine competition could be more exciting than any grouping of 100 meter races not heavily populated by sub 9.90 sprinters. And that’s before we throw in the potential sub 20 talent of:

20.05 – Rakieem Salaam
20.10 – Harry Adams
20.13 – Maurice Mitchell
20.14 – Tyreek Hill
20.16 – Bruno de Barros
20.16 – Rondel Sorrillo

Let’s not forget the women who enter the season with:

21.69 – Allyson Felix
21.74 – Veronica Campbell Brown
21.99 – Kerron Stewart
22.00 – Sherone Simpson
22.09 – Sanya Richards Ross
22.09 – Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce
22.11 – Carmelita Jeter

That group of women is not as large but just as exciting as both SAFP and Jeter are near locks to become members of the sub 22 club – and they and Felix/ VCB in sub 22 battles would be a thing of beauty.

If ever there was an event BEGGING for the spotlight it’s the deuce. No other event has as much star power and excitement. And for a sport that could use all the positive attention it can get, the deuce has the potential to become a leading story – especially if it adopted some form of my Combined Event Competition.

So let’s get this event on the schedule. I see no reason why it couldn’t be contested in every single meet on the circuit as there is more than enough talent to run both a 100 and a 200 on every meet out there – and the more talent we get out on the track the better it is for the sport.

6 Responses to “Let the Deuce Shine”

  1. Brandon says:

    You left Ryan Bailey off and e reason the 200 is overlooked is because the 100 gets the glory. You don’t get the title for the worlds fastest man/woman for the 200 even though you need the perfect combination of endurance and speed to win it.

    • Skydance7 says:

      I second Brandon’s comment. I believe Bailey ran a 20.13 as a prep. And he has an ideal physique for the 200. Not real sure how he handles the curve though.

      • CHill says:

        I did forget about Bailey .. In part because he doesn’t run the event much ..

        Bailey was 10.48/21.13 in high school .. State champ in Oregon even though he spent much of his time injured ..

        His best deuce has been 20.10 run in Zurich behind Spearmon (who won at 19.79) and Blake .. His turn is on par with Spearmon and X Carter .. So if he wants to make noise here he’s got some work to do .. But no doubt he has the physical tools, and the perfect training matter in Walker Dix..

    • CHill says:

      Oh it’s all about the glory (money) .. Yet it takes a real stud to shine here ..

  2. Anderson says:

    The 200 is easily my favorite event as well. I find sub 20 so much more exciting than sub 10 (although its more like sub 19.8 and 9.9 now!)
    After the 2010/2011 seasons I was more than excited for what could have been a ridiculous London lineup
    Bolt, Blake, Gay, Spearmon, Dix, Lemaitre and 2 others. all going sub 19.7. But unfortunately this is reality.

    • CHill says:

      So much more happens in the 200 ..

      I’ve been looking forward to the best going at it for a while .. 2006 was an awesome season, where Bolt, Gay, Carter, Spearmon were in almost every top race .. Then the Times started to drop and poof, no more top athletes !!

      Part of it has had to do with injuries – Gay, Carter, Spearmon .. But money drives this sport, and where there’s money athletes will run .. That’s one reason I came up with the Multiple Threat Challenge – to get athletes competing more frequently in more than a single event ..

      The sad thing is that the people running this sport contribute to its lack of marketability in so many ways .. Sometimes I think they want the sport to fail!!

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