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

My Version of the US 4×1

Sep 8th, 2010
2:55 pm PDT
OSAKA, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 01:  Leroy Dixon celebrates after he runs the anchor lane and takes the United States of America to victory during the Men's 4 x 100m Relay on day eight of the 11th IAAF World Athletics Championships on September 1, 2007 at the Nagai Stadium in Osaka, Japan. The United States of America won in a time of 37.78 seconds.  (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

Yes I know that the 2010 season isn’t quite done yet. But for my money it’s never too early to put a relay team together. Because one of the most important aspects of relay running is continuity and team togetherness – and that’s difficult to achieve when team members are practically making introductions prior to stepping on the track to compete!

That’s why I think it’s time to start thinking about creating “national relay squads” that are selected and run together during the course of a couple of seasons or so – health and injuries permitting – as opposed to our antiquated system of selecting the first few men that cross the finish line at our national championships each year. Because, as I said previously, while speed is important, the 4×1 and the 100 meter dash are two completely different animals. And we need to start treating the 4×1 as the independent entity that it is if we want to get back on the winning track in international competition.

Yes, I know that would be opening up a can of worms, because there would be much politicking to get people on, or off, the squad. Wait a minute. We have that now – so no change on that front! What we would be able to do is get the best people in place (based on someone, or some groups opinion) and give them an opportunity to work together and actually get good at running the relay together. Something the rest of the world is already doing. I understand that it’s a bit easier for other countries, because we still have the deepest pool of available talent – Jamaica notwithstanding. But it really isn’t that difficult to separate out who our top people are without running them down the track in a make or break 100 meter dash. And if we are being honest with ourselves, the rest of the world has caught up to us in this event, so just throwing four guys and a baton out on the track is no longer going to get the job done. Because much to the chagrin of the Allen Iverson’s of the world, this event does take PRACTICE.

So, I’m proposing that we select a squad early and give them the opportunity to practice, and work together so we can get the stick around the track and take our rightful place on the podium instead of watching the medal ceremony from afar. With that said, here are my thoughts on who that squad should be. Note that I am looking at speed – but more specifically what I call “relay speed”. I’m also looking at experience, previous success, and most importantly individual placement because I also think that we should have an advantage in putting together relay teams. For starters, most of our kids have grown up running relays in a high school setting and then in a college setting of some sort. So they shouldn’t be strangers to the baton. I also think we have a very under utilized group of individuals that could be quite helpful – college coaches. These guys (and gals) put together relay teams for a living! They are not only acquainted with the art of moving the baton around the track, but understand the importance of “who goes where” in the chess match that is truly the relay.

Final word before my selections. The relay is truly about TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More – because it takes all four members to get the stick around the track and across the line. Some would say that team members need to check their egos at the door, but I disagree. I say they need to bring them to the track. Because each team member needs to OWN his leg. While many people put great emphasis on the anchor leg, there are FOUR legs and each one is important. If you don’t believe that think about team members and how they are remembered. Dennis Mitchell, and Calvin Smith are remembered for OWNING that second turn. Bernard Williams and Leroy Burrell are remembered for OWNING the backstretch. If you say Jon Drummond you might as well be saying Lead Off, just as if you say Carl Lewis you’re saying Anchor. These are all men that took their leg on the relay seriously, and all ran some of the fastest splits ever recorded on THEIR legs. If we want to win gold again and return the WR to the US, THAT is the attitude that must be taken. Each man must OWN his leg and get the job done that he needs to get done.

With that, my squad is:

 

Lead Off Walter Dix – 9.88 / 19.69

Dix isn’t an exceptional starter, but he is a tremendous 200 meter runner who runs a stunning curve on the relay. He’s got tremendous pick up and is strong enough to push the outgoing runner completely through the zone if necessary without any loss in speed – i.e. he can move the stick. He also has the ability to catch the outgoing runner should he leave his mark a bit early. Dix is a seasoned veteran who has competed on the sports biggest stage – the Olympics. A multiple NCAA champion and double sprint medalist in Beijing, Dix doesn’t rattle, doesn’t false start, and is a fierce competitor. He will give maximum effort and should give us an immediate lead from the gun.

 

Backstretch Wallace Spearmon – 9.96 / 19.65 / 45.22

If this were just about the 100 meters Wally wouldn’t be in the discussion – which is why I’m sure many of you are scratching your heads. But this isn’t about the 100 it’s about the relay, and all relays do with Spearmon on the backstretch is win. This year’s Continental Cup team won with Spearmon on the backstretch. The 2006 World Cup 4×1 winners had Spearmon on the backstretch. Arkansas won the 2005 NCAA 4×1 title with Spearmon on the backstretch. This year’s Zurich squad ran 37.45 (#5 all time) with Spearmon on the backstretch. And the last gold medal winning effort for the US in the 4×1 had Wallace on the backstretch (against a Jamaican squad lead by Bolt and Powell). Spearmon rarely wins a 100 meter dash at this level – because his start is among the worst in the world – but there are no blocks in the relay! And just as his start is horrible, his top end speed when he is up and running is outstanding. Combine that with the fact that he has great synergy with my selection for the turn leg, and Spearmon is an easy choice for me. Because all he and my next selection do when they run together is win – they haven’t lost a 4×1 they’ve been on together since the 2004 NCAA Championships!

 

Turn Tyson Gay – 9.69 / 19.58 / 44.89

When you have a man that has run 9.69 and is possibly the best turn runner ever you put him right here! Tyson Gay is a game breaker on the turn as he has shown time and time again. Especially when he has been paired with Spearmon as in all the above mentioned races – ‘05 NCAA’s, ‘06 World Cup, ‘07 Worlds, Zurich’s blazer this year as well as this year’s Continental Cup. This duo knows how to move the stick, and whatever lead Tyson can get you on the straight – because everyone wants to anchor him – he can get you 50% MORE on the turn! Not to mention that his closing speed and experience handing off the baton virtually ensures that whomever your anchor is, Tyson will get to him and get him the stick – after he has broken the back of the competition. You win relays by getting in front and with Spearmon on the backstretch and Tyson blitzing the competition on the turn we’ve run 37.59 (leading Kaaron Conwright and anchoring Jason Smoots), 37.78 (leading Davis Patton and anchoring Leroy Dixon) and 37.45 (leading Trell Kimmons and Mike Rodgers)!

 

Anchor (A) Justin Gatlin – 9.85 / 19.86

What’s a relay without a bit of controversy? I’m sure many are scratching their heads over this selection, but here’s why I make this choice. The questions, accusations, issues dealing with his ban aside, he’s done his time and is back in the sport. In what has amounted to about a month’s worth of competition after a four year layoff Gatlin’s at 10.09. Given his current rate of progression, I’m not going to say that we will see him running 9.7 next year, but he should be somewhere under 10.00. Like Wallace Spearmon he’s never been a great starter, instead his strength has always been his top end speed once he’s gotten up and running. And what I’m looking for in an anchor is someone that can Close the Deal – and Gatlin has the experience to do just that! He’s been twice a double NCAA sprint champion, the 2004 Olympic 100 meter champion, and ‘05 double World Sprint Champion – all done well before the positive test in ‘06. IF Gatlin is anywhere under 10.00, I want him bringing the stick home because we should have a lead and he won’t be caught – stronger and faster on the fly than either Smoots, Dixon or Rodgers on any given day!

 

Anchor (B) Ryan Bailey – 9.88 / 20.10

One should always have a plan “B”, and knowing that Gatlin may not be available – for any number of potential reasons from he doesn’t get any faster to the “political”– we could still be in need an anchor. The requirements would still be the same – I need someone that has great top end speed, and strength. Ryan Bailey fits that bill. Not because of his 100 time – his two best times were set in magical Rieti – but because of his closing speed. He’s dropped his 200 time near 20 seconds and he’s run close to Nesta Carter when they’ve raced this year – closing strongly on him each time. He’s big, strong and competitive. And frankly, should he improve next year the way he has this year, and stay healthy, he could end up being my #1 choice to anchor. Gatlin has him on experience and competitive history at the moment, but Bailey has the most “upside”.

 

So that’s my squad. I think the rest of the world would have to try and match up with us if we ran this team, and I’m not sure they can. Not talking about on the clock, because we can be matched up with on the clock. The competition can put a potentially “faster” team on the track based on individual 100 meter times. But on ability and skill sets, if the members of this team bring their egos to the track and each man OWNS his leg, this team can’t be beaten.

The interior duo of Spearmon and Gay is a proven winner. Together they won a World title against a Jamaican squad that had both Bolt and Powell – with Darvis Patton and Leroy Dixon on lead and anchor, and ran 37.45 with Trell Kimmons and Mike Rodgers! They are the engine that runs the US 4×1, and are as lethal a pairing as Dennis Mitchell to Carl Lewis or Jon Drummond to Andre Cason. Walter Dix is a major upgrade on lead off. He has the ability to match the likes of Jon Drummond and Michael Marsh at this position. If Dix does this, and Spearmon and Gay run to potential, then the job of the anchor man will be to hold the rest of the world at bay, because I don’t see a team out there that can run with this troika for all three legs. And if Gatlin or Bailey are healthy and in form, there is only one man, maybe two, that can run with them on anchor – and none that can catch them.

If this group runs together and gets the stick around the track it’s gold in Daegu. That’s my story and I’m stickin to it!

19 Responses to “My Version of the US 4×1”

  1. Hopeton says:

    Could you do us a favor? Could you carry similar objectivity (forgetting your nationality)in creating the best Jamaican 4 x 100 match-up. That will provide us with cause for very stimulating discussion.
    Later on, would love to see you do the same for the ladies 4 x 100.
    It is a truism that in both relays, barring unforeseen circumstances, it should be close races between U.S.A. and Jamaica

  2. Conway Hill says:

    Wow, that's kinda like asking me to help the competition .. LOL ..

    First let me say that I didn't do the women's event because there is so much uncertainty with the women – both for the US and Jamaica .. Though clearly if we both pass the stick it's between us ..

    As for the Jamaican men, general wisdom says that they will run Nesta Carter to Yohan Blake to Usain Bolt to Asafa Powell .. Everyone is excited about the fact that both Carter and Blake have dropped their 100 times and typically they run their four fastest men – easy enough to sort them out ..

    The problem that I see with that group is that they are lacking in turn runners and closers .. If I were going to place them where I think they would function best, then their four fastest aren't on the track either … My Jamaican squad would be:

    Lead Off – Asafa Powell .. Many forget that when he ran the deuce regularly he was a blazer on the turn .. And while he has run many "fast" anchors, he doesn't run well from behind ..

    Backstretch – Michael Frater .. Frater's a closer and he is experienced with the baton, and has worked with Bolt in Beijing and Berlin ..

    Turn – Usain Bolt .. Second best turn runner on the planet .. I know that many will argue, but all I will say is that he has yet to outrun Tyson on the turn .. When he does I will change my mind .. (he also hasn't beaten Tyson in the 200 in spite of setting two WR's, and not sure he will, but that's another conversation) ..

    Anchor – Yohan Blake .. Best closer for Jamaica outside of Bolt .. Short on experience and not sure how he would do from behind ..

    Blasphemy for many I know because Carter gets left out … But where do you put him ?? He and Powell run the same race – blitzkrieg start, fading at the end … Can't run them both on the relay – though I would love it if they did – and Powell is the better turn runner … Of course the issue there is that Powell has had issues with his groin and the turn has done him damage in the past … Put him here and he could be out after the 1st round … Plus I don't think he would run lead off … Which is why I think they will go with the Carter to Blake to Bolt to Powell grouping – that and ego …

    In that scenario Dix beats Carter around the bend, Blake makes up nothing on Spearmon, and Gay and Bolt run virtually even, leaving Powell to chase from behind … Game over …

    If Jamaica runs Powell to Frater to Bolt to Blake the race turns to the 2nd and anchor legs to see who wins – and passing the stick .. With the anchors probably deciding the race …

    BTW – didn't mention it in my post but IF Xavier Carter were to get back to sub20 form (i.e. the Carter of '06) I might favor him to anchor the US squad ..

  3. brandon says:

    I only disagree with the anchor for the US. The relay should go Mike Rodgers(a.k.a the best starter America has and he knows how to old on, then to Sperman, Gay and let Dix run anchor because of his ability to hold on. He held off Gay in the last 100 of that 200 and convinced me that he can do it.

    And I can do the women. The US women squad will start off with Miki/Lisa Barber who had an incredible indoor seasons which gives the US the starter they have been needing for years. Next Allyson
    Felix who fits in perfectly on second to make up the stagger and give the US a lead they need. Third leg is looking to be Shalonda Solomon who had a good 2010 in my opinion and the Anchor is none other the Carmelita Jeter who can go get anyone and fight off everyone. And for Jamaica, they should run the relay they were going to run in Beijing. But I still believe the US would win even though times would say otherwise.

  4. Conway Hill says:

    Rodgers is indeed a fast starter, but he fades badly after 60 meters, which slows the baton down in the zone – and he's not a great turn runner ..

    I agree that Dix can hold off anyone, but in order to hold people off we have to be ahead, and I think leading off Dix gives us the best opportunity to be in that position ..

  5. Hopeton says:

    I like the discussion.
    Jamaica will run Carter to Blake to Bolt to Powell. Why? While times are not the final determinant, if you are running faster than your opponents AND have decent baton exchanges, you start ahead of the game.

    Carter (9.78) vs Dix (9.88)
    Carter has a great start. While he is mainly a 100m runner, like Asafa and Blake, he can run a decent 200m. Also, he had shown in Bejiing that he will not fade. Expect him to lead Dix on this leg.

    Blake (9.89/19.78) vs Spearmon (9.96/19.65)
    This is where the race will be decided. Blake must maintain some semblance of a lead for Jamaica to win. Spearmon must remain relaxed and bring to play his proven top end speed to overtake or close significantly on Blake.

    Bolt (9.58/19.19) vs Gay (9.69/19.58)
    It's here in the first second of this leg that the winner is determined. Statistics won't count. Baton change will. Blake and Bolt have synergy; Spearmon and Gay also have synergy. If Bolt gets off before Gay, it is over. If they take off at the same time, we will get our money's worth because while Bolt is faster, Gay leaves everything on the track. I expect Jamaica to have given a slight lead to Bolt (based on Blake's expected progression and increased 200m efforts enhancing his top end speed) so expect Bolt to hand over with a slight lead.

    Powell (9.72/19/90) vs Gatlin (9.85/19.86)
    Note I expect Gatlin over Bailey. Gatlin has had a fantastic season and I expect to see this carrying over into 2011/2012. His running style (like Asafa's) is such a joy to watch and I wish him luck.
    Bolt and Asafa has synergy although some of their baton changes have been painful to watch. Gay and Gatlin will need opportunities together and I don't know how much of that they will get. Notwithstanding that, if Asafa gets any form of lead, he will win. If Gatlin get's a lead, Asafa has not yet shown the 'stomach' to run pass anyone so USA will win. If they get it together, I will bet on Asafa.

    In summary, I believe that it is the first 2 legs, and in particular, the first leg, that will make a difference.
    The winner must run below 37 seconds. Jamaica, with a vastly improved Carter, a vastly improved Blake replacing Frater, and retaining Bolt and Asafa, can beat their 2008 time of 37.10. USA will have to be prepared to beat 37 seconds.

    If this race go down to being evenly match at the second exchange, all Track fans worldwide will have sweet memories from Daegu and the decision to end with the 4 x 1 will have been deemed correct.

  6. Hopeton says:

    Now onto the women's 4 x 1.

    Jamaica will have problems due to politics with each 'star' wanting to dictate the preferred leg. This will reflect in the 'baton changing'. Without this disruption, Jamaica's victory would be a forgone conclusion and the World Record would be in sight.
    My Jamaican team would be:

    Fraser (10.73/22.15) vs Barber (10.95)
    Fraser's start and speed would provide a sizeable lead over Barber (A return to form for Lauryn Williams would assist the USA chances a lot more), one that will challenge even one as formidable on the backstretch as Felix.

    Simpson (10.82/22.00) vs Felix (10.93/21.81)
    Will Simpson return to prior form? Too early to tell. If she does not, Stewart would be used here. Felix must hand the baton first or it will be all over. Can she overhaul a fit Simpson? Close on her, Yes; Overhaul completely, I doubt it. Therefore a critical leg for both teams!

    Stewart (10.75/21.99) vs Solomon (10.90)
    If Solomon has a lead, it will take someone as fast as Stewart to remove it (and she can), but will Solomon allow it? If Stewart runs the second leg, then the third leg would between Simone Facey, Aneisha McLaughin or Carrie Russell (emerging talent). The race would then have been hinged on the results of the second leg as the third leg runners will be evenly matched.
    Expect Stewart to run and retain/increase the lead for Jamaica.

    Campbell-Brown (10.78/21.74) vs Jeter (10.64)
    How exciting it would be to see these two great sprinters take off simultaneously with the batons. I wouldn't bet on the results. Whoever gets it first will win. I believe Jamaica will get it first by a significant margin but, this is the relays, and a baton is involved.
    Expect Campbell-Brown to take it home from a gallant Jeter.

  7. Conway Hill says:

    Well, we're not too far apart in philosophy .. But enough to make a difference in the outcome of the relay .. Let me preface my comments by saying that Jamaica's two global wins came without the US even being in the race .. That "minor detail" is significant when discussing the race ..

    Leadoff .. First area where the US absence is significant .. Because Carter didn't appear to fade because he faced no competition – they faded as much as he did .. Important, because a) Dix will get stronger late race, and b) Dix is a much better turn runner .. Minus Rieti and they are basically even out of the blocks .. Throw in Dix's strength and turn and he beats Carter to the second man and has a better stick through the zone ..

    Second leg .. We agree that as long as Spearmon relaxes he outruns Blake with no blocks in the way ..

    Third leg .. Another area where the US absence in the majors makes a difference – because in those races there was NO pressure in the zone !! Expect Jamaica to feel pressure on THIS handoff .. Also, I disagree that Bolt is faster than Gay .. Bolt has been able to beat Gay when he beats him out of the blocks (two occasions) .. Elsewise Gay has beaten him … No blocks here .. Mano a mano … Whatever position they get they maintain .. This leg will basically be a draw, though Gay is the better turn runner and may gain a meter …

    Anchor .. I agree that Gatlin should be ready … And the final area where US previous absence will be felt – again through pressure in this race … Asafa is the least able to handle pressure of all the athletes on the track in this race … That and the fact that in the relay he does whatever "damage" he is going to do in the first 30 meters … After that he runs even with the competition .. Gatlin on the other hand will be hell to pay the captain after the first 20 meters ..

    We agree that Jamaica can run better than 37.10 … However, with the US clearly in control on two legs and a draw on two, they will outrun Jamaica (given these two teams take the track) by 2 to 3 meters .. If Jamaica wants to beat the US this is not the way to get it done .. IMHO … Will have to come back later and give my critique of the women ..

  8. Skinbags9 says:

    I've been picking the U.S. to win the 4×1 for the past 20 years for the most part. But as it stands currently, there just isn't enough firepower to honestly EXPECT them to win. If we go from start to finish, realistically there is no leg where the U.S. holds any advantage.

    If we're assuming that Nesta will lead off for Jamaica and Dix is leading off for the u.s., can we honestly say that Dix is a better starter? Of course not. Dix has NEVER been known to have a good start whether it be technical or fast. Nesta is one of the best starters in the world both technically and in speed. Whatever any of us believes about their curve running ability, there is no discrepancy big enough if any for Dix to get the obvious nod here.

    Yohan is faster than Wallace. I find that hard to argue. And if we're talking about advantages without blocks, we all know that Yohan isn't exactly known for his blazing starts. Spearmon is tough on this leg, and I support him being there, but I don't see him gaining or extending on Blake in the least. Expecting him to outrun Blake is being setting up for disappointment.

    I also find it hard to argue that Bolt is faster than Gay. Since 2008 they've raced 3 times with Bolt winning by 0.13 each time except the last. Choosing the one time Tyson beat him as proof is lacking in evidence. The fact that Bolt is able to beat Tyson out of the blocks doesn't take away from the fact that Bolt is faster. Especially when you consider the fact that Tyson makes no ground up on him after he falls behind at the start. The only way Tyson outruns Bolt or runs him even is if Bolt is in a lane 1 or 2, and Tyson is to his outside.

    Don't be fooled by whatever thoughts you may have of Asafa mentally. If Asafa was only good for the 1st 30, there's no way he would ever split 8.70 and 8.73. You put anyone in the world not named Bolt or Gay within a meter or 2 of Asafa and he's going by them. Until I see more from Gatlin i'll hold off on commenting. As it stands, if Asafa runs like he has the past 2 major relay finals, Gatlin would need a decent lead to hold him off. But if we're being realistic, Asafa would get the baton ahead of Gatlin in the first place.

    All things being equal, I expect Jamaica to win this by 3-5 meters.

  9. Hopeton says:

    I find some of the arguments a bit 'zealous', such as Bolt is not faster than Gay. Running fast is absolute.

    9.69 beating your chest, 9.58 – no one else in the world with any type of wind has ever gone under 9.60.

    'Gay is a better turn runner' ..19.19 on the 200m couldn't have been walking the curve. If Gay did a better curve doing 19.58 than Bolt while doing 19.19 then something crazy is happening.

    The discussions are good. Will continue this aspect after Daegu. Looking forward to your comments on the women side,

    Good luck to both teams passing the baton.

  10. Conway Hill says:

    I see we're back to the logic that caused me to write this in the first place .. Bolt is a better turn runner because his end of season 200 time is better than Gay's season opener, and Asafa can run anyone down because he his splits are so fast even though he couldn't run down Leroy Dixon !!!

    I hear what you are saying, but those are comparison of apples to oranges .. More importantly everyone keeps bypassing that this event is different from open events … Running fast is not absolute, it is conditional .. Wind, humidity, who is in the race and who is not in the race all matter .. A good start in one race vis a vis a bad start in another … Those all affect times in open races …

    Conversely not having the confines of blocks, being ahead or behind when you are used to being in the other position are conditions of relay running that have an effect …

    I stick with my initial assessments and Daegu will provide us with the answers we now debate ..

  11. Conway Hill says:

    I'm just not convinced that this is the squad that the US will show up with in Daegu .. Felix on backstretch and Jeter on anchor yes .. But Barber won't be among the best women and I don't Solomon will be either (I don't trust that Florida race any more than I do Rieti) …

    Who ?? Not sure .. I would like to see Gabby Mayo blossom because she can run a turn .. I do think we will see Alexandria Anderson come into her own … And maybe a return to form of Lauryn Williams who took this year off … There's also Porscha Lucas and Jeneba Tarmoh who could become third leg threats ..

    So I guess I'm thinking maybe Mayo or Williams on lead off with the best available from Solomon, Lucas, Tarmoh or Anderson on third … Solomon maybe being a slightly better turn runner … Then again is Williams is leading off Mayo could go third ..

    Similarly I don't see Simpson on the Jamaican squad … She's living off of the '06 season which she hasn't been close to with the exception of a short period in '08 .. Plus Stewart should be on the backstretch anyway … Then probably Brooks on third leg …

    Fraser v Williams on lead off could be epic (of course we're assuming Fraser is around to run) .. Williams is a much better turn runner however ..

    Stewart v Felix is again epic !! Replay of the men's race with Blake v Spearmon ..

    Who ends up on third leg for the US could decide the race … I'm leaning Mayo or Solomon against perhaps Brooks … Of course most will say Stewart should be here with Simpson on second … I think Felix beats Simpson on second with Solomon or Mayo working to hold off a charging Stewart here …

    Of course we look at Jeter v VCB on anchor … With Jeter being a slightly better finisher – slightly … This comes down to who gets the stick first – period .. Which his why the selection of the first three legs is critical … And two of our first three just don't exist yet in my mind … I do think they will emerge by May however …

  12. M.G.M. says:

    Intersting that you don't have Myers anywhere on your women's 4×1 in favor of relative international unknowns like Tarmoh, Anderson, Lucas and Mayo.

    One would think that barring injury, she'd definitely have a spot over the 4 you listed…

  13. Conway Hill says:

    Definite oversite on my part … She goes immediately to third …

    But I do expect at least one youngster to emerge …

  14. M.G.M. says:

    Oh and under your Favorite Athletes Web Pages you can update her as well:

    Marshevet Myers
    http://www.vetmyers.com

  15. Conway Hill says:

    Done .. Thank you very much …

  16. Skinbags9 says:

    I think you may be misunderstanding the point behind saying Bolt being a better curve runner than Gay. Sure it's easy to say that Bolt has run faster and by that logic go on to say he is faster. But when it comes to who's literally better, I don't think you even have to use Bolts best race at the end of the season to argue in his case. Don't forget that Bolt ran 19.59 into a -0.9 wind in a downpour that would have caused most people to pull out or just dog it. Tyson ran his 19.58 with a 1.3w and it was a beautiful day to say the least.

    Aside from all of that, the fact that Bolt is running as fast and faster than Tyson on the curve at 6'5" should be taken into account as well. I'm sure we would all agree that 6'5" running 9.9-10.0 is much harder than 5'10" going around the curve in 10.0-10.1.

    So it's not just about Bolt having a faster overall time.

    I also think it's unfair to say that Powell didn't catch Dixon when at the time no one on the planet would have been fast enough to catch Dixon with the lead he had. It's one thing if Powell ran a bad leg and split 9.0 while being within a meter of Dixon. It's another story for him to be 5 meters back and run the 2nd fastest split ever recorded at the time.

    So while I agree that the relay is in a sense different, it's a little hard to ignore the obvious advantages that Jamaica has right now over the U.S.

  17. Conway Hill says:

    So, Bolt is a better turn runner because he is taller ?? That's no better than talking about his 200 times .. Xavier Carter and Wallace Spearmon have both run 19.6 and both are lousy turn runners .. Point being that final time in the 200 says nothing about your turn running ability ..

    Neither does talking about his height … The only thing that matters is how they do against each other … And as of yet, Bolt has not come off a turn in front of Tyson Gay .. Head up Tyson has always won …

    Now, you can say that Bolt is faster now, but then so is Tyson .. My purpose in mentioning it at all is that the statement now becomes Bolt is the better turn runner because of how he's improved in the 200 .. When in reality we haven't seen Tyson in a late season 200 since 2007 .. We have seen him open in consecutive seasons at 19.58, and 19.41 (straight), which says much about how he has and will continue to improve in the event …

    As for the statement about Powell, that proves my point … Regardless of what his split was, that becomes irrelevant if the US does what it should and gives "whomever" a lead … The split becomes inconsequential …

  18. Skinbags9 says:

    If you can say in one sentence that they need to race in order to prove who's better on the curve, how did you come to the conclusion that Lauryn is a much better turn runner than Shelly Ann Fraser?

    I used Bolts height for the specific reason of the effects it would have on running the curve vs someone who is a full 7 inches shorter. Surely you understand that Tyson would have an easier time navigating a curve at 5'10" than Bolt at 6'5"? Even if we exclude the times from the equation, it wouldn't take that fact away. Not to mention I did say that the overall time doesn't matter as much as the actual time it takes to run the 1st 100m.

    This I believe is much more effective in determining their abilities now, than assuming Gay is better because he beat Bolt in the past. Beating someone around the curve doesn't even mean that you're better than them in most cases. Sometimes it just means you're faster.

    So by that same logic, I've never thought Bolt was a better turn runner because his 200m improved. I thought he was a better turn runner because he navigated the turn better than everyone else. Sure he's faster now, but it's just in addition to what I believed about his turn running in the 1st place.

    As for Tyson and late season 200's, there's nothing I can say about that other than no one is stopping him from running a 200m later. He's had opportunities to race Bolt since 07, and has only raced him 3 times(100m)in the past 3 years.

    You're original point about Powell revolved around pressure and running style. It wasn't about the U.S. having a measurable lead. Pressure or not, Powell, Bolt and Tyson aren't catching anyone if they're too far behind(my point). Doesn't matter what type of runner they are or how we perceive their ability to handle pressure.

  19. Conway Hill says:

    LOL … You're kinda all over the place trying to prove an absolute, when there are no absolutes in the relay … Which was sort of the basis of my original point/post …

    I said that Bolt and Gay need to run against each other because they are so close in ability … So "eyeballing" it isn't going to work …

    Lauryn is a known quantity in the deuce and has clearly outrun world class turn runners in the event … Shelly Ann has not … Not close enough of a comparison to warrant them having to run each other around the turn … Now they could end up doing so and Shelly could beat her in which case I would have to reassess … But based on their body of work to date Lauryn is the better turn runner until proven otherwise …

    Back to Bolt's height … There are no "style" points in track and field … If there were neither Lee Evans or Michael Johnson would have become WR holders … And wouldn't the essence of "negotiating the turn better" mean that you beat the person you are competing against ??? Which is why I said that Tyson beating Bolt on the turn says he's the better turn runner – until proven otherwise …

    As for Tyson and the late season deuces, of course someone has stopped him from running them late in the season since '07 – his body and injuries … He was injured at the end of '08 in Beijing .. He was injured at the end of '09 in Berlin … He WAS healthy at the end of this season, but had been contracted to run the 100 against Powell and Bolt – who were injured and didn't run … So let's not pretend that Tyson "chose" not to run the deuce at the end of the season for the past 3 years as there have been extenuating circumstances …

    As for "pressure" and Powell, pressure is an integral part of racing – especially in the relay !!! That's why faster athletes are outrun by lesser athletes, and why batons hit the ground … Pressure … Dixon was a much lesser athlete who handled the pressure better than Powell … Why do I say that ??? Because in the heats Dixon got run down – as he should have … But he realized (and was told) to hold him for 50 and Powell would never catch him … Just as Atkins was told to just relax when Tyson rolled up and let Powell be the one to falter …

    Some athletes "find a way" – especially in relays … Powell isn't one of those athletes … I would bet money that Bolt, or Tyson would have caught Dixon … Why ??? And here is where times lie … They would have caught Dixon by 50/60 and made HIM crack … Then would have needed the same or just a tad better split to pull off the win …

    It's why the relay is a different sort of event … It is not equitable to the open 100 in any fashion … It's also why the next time these two squads take to the track we should see something epic ..

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