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Old 06-09-2014, 04:48 PM   #31
Seamus
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

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I'm going by the 1.5 percent or a second a 400m lap cinder to synthetic conversion that most who've studied it considered to be the difference. On that basis Owens would be running 100m in around 10.05

I would think there is a difference in the application of force on the track and it's response to such force between sprinting and middle distance running. The relative power between individual strides in each discipline would inherently bring different behaviors in the surfaces. The Atlanta Olympic track, for instance, was notoriously a sprinters' track..,

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I've read a fair bit on runners who've ran on both. Some claim a well kept cinder track or even grass track to be as fast.
I can only speak to sprinting. I competed on a couple hundred tracks in my day.. cinder and even early composites are much slower than Mondos.


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The difference is in the sport become professional and more scientific, Owens and Ryun were amateurs. There wasn't the big money pull. Neither Owens or Ryun improved from the ages of 23 with Owens or around 20 for Owen. That's largely because they were amateurs.
This.
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Old 06-09-2014, 05:52 PM   #32
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

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In my middling career, my 100 time improved about 4% moving from crappy synthetic tracks to Mondo tracks although that certainly wasn't my main event. Only competed on cinder tracks a couple times. They are horrid.

That said, Owens was a supreme long jumper and would be in any era. Also, don't forget Owens essentially retired at 22 as did most track athletes. At 21, Bolt was going 10.03 on the best tracks in existence. At 22, he had his unprecedented improvement to 9.69 (ahem... cough, cough)... Give Owens a few more years to develop under modern training (and yes, sprint training has drastically improved) and modern facilities, tracks and he's easily a 9.8x guy in my opinion.
What level were you actually performing at? I know Mondo are quicker but 4 percent is huge, don't you think you would have improved regardless of track? It's not in line with what other athletes report in change of track, it's more likely to show your personal improvement.

Agree on Owens being better if he continued his development. But as for comparisons Bolt was 22 when he ran 9.9 while celebratinh. Bolt wasn't a 100m runner when he did 10.03 either, he was a 200m runner running 19.91, so if he should have run 9.9 if he concentrated on 100m that year
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:16 PM   #33
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

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I would think there is a difference in the application of force on the track and it's response to such force between sprinting and middle distance running. The relative power between individual strides in each discipline would inherently bring different behaviors in the surfaces. The Atlanta Olympic track, for instance, was notoriously a sprinters' track..,
Was it though? I think a fast track benefits both, but distance runs are more tactical. I know Geb had foot injuries from this track.

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I can only speak to sprinting. I competed on a couple hundred tracks in my day.. cinder and even early composites are much slower than Mondos.
It seems to be cinder tracks are more variable than synthetic generally. Many people report not much difference between a well kept cinder track and a synthetic, while poorly kept cinder tracks are much slower and harder to run on.
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Old 06-09-2014, 06:59 PM   #34
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

Translated to modern times I give Owens a 9.87 or a very generous 9.7x. The 100 wasn't his best event.
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Old 06-09-2014, 09:56 PM   #35
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

This discussion is way above my pay grade, but just as a layman

"Owens can't have had a more rapid stride comparable to his stride length compared to 80's WR holder Calvin Smith otherwise he'd have run faster than Smith's record."

Just an old man thinking about it, I would guess the issue boils down to how much slippage there would be because the surface gives upon the foot's impact. In effect, then, the runner has to run farther to run the same distance. I would guess acceleration at the start would be slowed also if the surface is less secure.

Shoes have been dismissed, but common sense points to synthetic material producing better shoes. Why would shoes have avoided the technological progress made in all other areas over the last 80 years?

The discussion quoted contained all kinds of input that there is something to the traction argument, for example, "anyone who has ever run on both cinders/dirt and synthetic knows synthetic is faster."

"Owens and Ryun were amateurs. There wasn't the big money pull."

Ryun aside, Owens might have had better motivation than mere money. A black man in a segregated age, he had few options. Running got him into a major university and gave him an education and a good life. He probably came from a tough background. I think you have a weak argument here, at least concerning Owens.

"Trainers."

Okay. But I wonder did Secretariat run faster than other horses because he had a better trainer? Or because he was the product of a genetic accident which would have made him the fastest horse out there regardless. I certainly think that it is possible there could be human genetic accidents who are going to be very outstanding and might simply be able to run faster. And such an accident could show up in the 1930's as easily as in 2014.

anyway, an interesting discussion with plenty to think about.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:16 PM   #36
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

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What level were you actually performing at? I know Mondo are quicker but 4 percent is huge, don't you think you would have improved regardless of track? It's not in line with what other athletes report in change of track, it's more likely to show your personal improvement.
I was moving from cold climate to warm and the 100 was never my event. Still, at 18 I went from 11.0 HT to 10.70FAT. I felt an enormous increase in speed on Mondo tracks. Again, I rarely ran the event and when I PR'd I was chasing two future Olympians which certainly helped. I was always more a jumper.

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Agree on Owens being better if he continued his development. But as for comparisons Bolt was 22 when he ran 9.9 while celebratinh. Bolt wasn't a 100m runner when he did 10.03 either, he was a 200m runner running 19.91, so if he should have run 9.9 if he concentrated on 100m that year
Owens was special. He set his Long Jump record on a dirt runway betwixt setting 3 other World Records in a matter of a couple hours. And it lasted 25 years. Bolt is just freakish. The only guys who really were that big and could get their turnover going in short time were Tommie Smith and maybe Obikwelu. Still, most of his team has been busted. Not that he isn't a rarefied talent but I certainly suspect some "help"….
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:23 PM   #37
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

In regards to racehorses like Secretariat and his records from the 70s still standing, they started testing for doping in horse racing in the 80s. Just a guess. Maybe we're seeing the same thing as the Soviet women's track team.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:47 PM   #38
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

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Maybe we're seeing the same thing as the Soviet women's track team.
Just the Soviets?

C'mon. Flo Jo went from being a good international class sprinter to a ridiculous record setter at 29 years old… and dies of mysterious ailment in her 30's. Even Evelyn Ashford's mustache say that is sketchy...
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:48 PM   #39
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

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Bolt is just freakish. The only guys who really were that big and could get their turnover going in short time were Tommie Smith and maybe Obikwelu. Still, most of his team has been busted. Not that he isn't a rarefied talent but I certainly suspect some "help"….
Did you ever see that graphic showing every Olympic Medalist and where they'd be running the 100 meter dash?

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It shows all these dots where the gold, silver, and bronze medalists were each year. All the dots from about 1960-2008 are all clustered around the same area with with one little gold dot way the **** out ahead of everybody. It's like, "Come on. Just break the record by a little bit. Don't make it that obvious." Four years later, he runs even faster, and a friend of his comes in second. The friend has since tested positive.
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Blake was at the centre of a doping controversy in 2009 when he tested positive for the stimulant methylhexanamine. Blake and three other sprinters were banned for three months after the samples were taken at that year's Jamaican National Championships. The drug Blake took was not was not on the World Anti-Doping Agency' s banned list but contained similar properties to tuaminoheptane, a substance that was on the banned list. [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]
Look at another graphic from the Times for the long jump, again all medalists.

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Bob Beamon back in 1968 is fully 10% farther than everyone else. It's a solid 2 feet farther than the gold medalist of 2012. The graphic should be called, "Can you spot the cheater?" Just this one yellow dot hanging out there way by itself. I also love the pattern the dots make going up in the seventies and eighties, then sloping back down when stricter drug policies are enforced.
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Old 06-10-2014, 12:39 AM   #40
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

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Look at another graphic from the Times for the long jump, again all medalists.

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Bob Beamon back in 1968 is fully 10% farther than everyone else. It's a solid 2 feet farther than the gold medalist of 2012. The graphic should be called, "Can you spot the cheater?" Just this one yellow dot hanging out there way by itself. I also love the pattern the dots make going up in the seventies and eighties, then sloping back down when stricter drug policies are enforced.
Beamon's 2nd farthest jump was also 2 feet back from his farthest. His Mexico City effort was the definition of anomaly. If I remember the conditions in 2012, the winds were not good and it was quite cool, much like but not as bad as Lynn Davies victory in 64. Rutherford has gone over 28 feet this season so it's not like he ain't good. As far as Long Jump in history, it's Carl Lewis and then everyone else. He was simply the most consistent and most dominant ever.
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Old 06-10-2014, 01:56 AM   #41
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

RIght, & I also read he might have had the world record once if he did not foul, & he was once of 2 guys who likely could have beaten the then long extant 200 meter record of 19.72 if they did not let up.

Ovid, Beamon was almost 2' further than Rutherford, but as Seamus explained, nboth years were an anomoly. Even BEamon did not jump 10 % further than his contemporaries, that would be almost a foot futher than his breaing the record by almost 1' 10". Also he likely got just about 3' from the altitude. Likely a smaller factor was the maximum allowed headwind.

All anomolies are NOT due to drugs. Many are, & moving the whole mean up due to drugs & down again due to testing happens. Maybe Bolt uses, but smoke from his teammates does not mean fire like Lance Pharmstrong. Jesse Owens held the world record for the longest time in the broad jump under the adverse conditions described.

Also: Beamon was very lean. Met him in 2004 when doing a security-light gig, the US was trying to get the Olympics (we have it too often). In those days drugs were cruder, I am not aware that they had all the Alex Rodriguez like options to increase strength & explosiveness WITHOUT bulk.

The guy who has held the triple jump record since '95, breaking his last 2 records, likely will have it for a while & I do not know, but is slight & likely clean. Here is a fun review of the best ever at the event. Trite music, better if they just had the announcers. And Edwards had an even further jump with more than the allowed tailwind.

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Last edited by Entaowed; 06-10-2014 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 06-10-2014, 04:41 AM   #42
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

Steroids were already entrenched in U.S. track and field for the 68 squad.

Maybe Beamon was clean, but I doubt it. You had this "miracle" drug, plenty of pressure to beat the Commies, and absolutely none of the social stigma that exists today about using it. At that point in time, nobody outside of high level athletics really knew what they were.

It was another 20 years until the Ben Johnson scandal, where Johnson committed the heinous act of being Canadian and winning one of our events. This was when society at large realized they hated steroids.
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Old 06-10-2014, 05:48 AM   #43
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

I partly wonder if Beamon's long jump had an excessive tail wind that wasn't recorded as he did have a tail wind. FloJos 100m record had a massive tail wind that the instruments didn't record for whatever reason. I've heard the same claims about Beamon's jump. Steroids or not, it's an insane jump, especially with his technique that isn't up there with the likes of Lewis or Powell for my money

I know it was the very thin Mexico City air helping him too
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Old 06-10-2014, 06:29 AM   #44
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

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Unfortunately, it's impossible to tell just how much of a difference equipment and PED's play individually since they develop simultaneously.

For example, nobody ever ran a sub-10 second 100 on a cinder track. Tartan was introduced in '68- that Olympics, someone broke the 10 second barrier for the first time. It's easy to chalk that up to equipment alone. The problem? By that time, steroid use was already rampant in track and field.

I doubt we'll ever be able to create an accurate pie chart that breaks down the impact of various factors on performance output, but I wouldn't downplay the impact of PED's on leveling out the playing field (except for when the genetic freaks juice up themselves- that's when the crazy shit goes down).
We don't know exactly the difference that PEDs make and it depends which PEDs and how much.

I don't know what actual evidence there was steroids were rife in the US track and field team. They certainly didn't look like obvious steroid users, they lacked the muscularity of modern athletes. I question whether Carl Lewis took steroids as he improved very little from his college days, 1 of his best long jumps was in college, we would expect a steroid user to improve.

68 was also at altitude, which will see faster times in the 100, 200 on may suffer somewhat from the lack of oxygen though.
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Old 06-10-2014, 08:33 AM   #45
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Default Re: Are advances in athletic performance merely an artefact of technology?

I did not hear that steroids were rife in the US track & field squad in the '60's, I would like to see that evidence. Again, Beamon & most were skinny, & I am not aware of them having PEDS that increased strength wiithout bulk-at that time.

The altitude has been looked at scientifically, & I recall reading it would have added 2-3". There is no reason to believe that Beamon had a sudden tail wind beyond what was recorded, whaaa, several seconds of hurricane force gaiils propeling him a couple feet further? He could not have added that much through wind & altitude.

nobody even appoached the OLD long jump record in Mexico City.

What looks imperfect about his form? Watch it here & again in slow motion at the end. Excellent speed, took off perfectly right by the line, great movement & height in the air, superb "stretch" throwing himself forward.
Powell seemed to have more speed though less height.

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