So when will athletes start hitting the limits?

Discussion in 'Olympics 2016' started by NoXion, Aug 18, 2016.

  1. 8ball

    8ball Up to something

    Like Frankie Boyle, I hope to see the day when Usain Bolt, or someone like him, explodes into a ball of fire as the starting pistol fires, appearing at the 100m finish line 1.9 seconds later as an old man, exclaiming "Beware the Chinese!", before crumbling into dust.
  2. DotCommunist

    DotCommunist specter haunting

    he chose...poorly
  3. stavros

    stavros Well-Known Member

    Certainly with the men, and to a lesser extent the women, the field event records seem to last longer. Even ignoring the Eastern Bloc events, you have very long lasting ones in the shot, long jump, high jump, triple jump and javelin by Americans, Cubans, Brits and Czechs. Is there an obvious reason I'm missing as to why track records go quicker?
  4. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Women's 100, 200, 400 and 800 records may remain for many decades to come. They were all set by drug cheats. Nobody's come close to beating them since.

    tbh something needs to be done about that. One suggestion I read was that all records from before random out-of-season testing came in should be expunged, and we should basically start again. Something I think is kind of encouraging about that though is that the testing is clearly working.
  5. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    I think with the throwing events, we are seeing possibly a world-record escalation, fuelled by two decades of steroid use.

    The first steroid in the west was developed specially (for weightlifting) in 1960. By the 70s, I think, steroid use was widespread in athletic throwing events, but not necessarily institutionalized. In the UK, for example, Geoff Capes was at it because all the others were. He was later banned as an athletic mentor because he was leading young athletes into steroid use.

    During the 80s, (as became apparent on the fall of the Berlin Wall at the end of the decade) the East German team was virtually being forced into steroid and testosterone use.

    By the 1970s, everyone had begun routinely throwing over 22m in the shot putt and (as I mentioned earlier) everyone over 22m is a documented steroid user. So the record went up and up until it went to 23.12 (in 1990) and then the steroid bubble burst (partly because the USA enacted a 1990 law making steroid trafficking a crime) and there it stopped.
  6. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    tbh (and it depresses me to say this) I don't trust any record or any athletic feat from the 70s to the late 80s, basically before out-of-season testing came in.
    Sirena likes this.
  7. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    The jumps puzzle me. Drugs could help the long and triple jumps but I'm not clear in my own mind how valuable they might be in the high jump

    As #Stavros says, nearly all jump marks (except pole-vault) have remained mostly immobile for two or three decades. So you could say it's the same story as the throws: two decades of fairly unchecked drug use have pushed them into unreachable territory.

    And yet Jonathan Edwards took the world triple jump apart twice in the slightly more recent past (and Jonathan Edwards - with his christian background - is the last person one would suspect of drug use).

    So, I would think the jumps are now vulnerable. Pole vault has definitely shown that
  8. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Famously, a letter was found in the GDR archive from Marita Koch (still the 400m w/r holder) complaining to the authorities that she wasn't getting her drugs on time, and other athletes were getting more. Yet her record still stands. They were ALL at it. All their records need to go. And it's become increasingly clear that US athletes were mostly at it as well, although in their system, they had to pay for their drugs themselves.

    The sad story from cycling was that those who stayed clean were forced out. A similar story in athletics, I think. It's naive to think otherwise.
  9. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    There are a couple of triple jumpers who've got close to Edwards recently. Expect that record to go fairly soon.

    Long jump's in a weak phase. Greg Rutherford is equal 23rd in the all-time list, for instance. Nobody's getting near the record atm. To an extent this stuff is cyclical.

    It could be a bit of a numbers game. How many people are taking up triple jump seriously nowadays for instance?
    Sirena likes this.
  10. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    One thing I didn't know, or had forgotten...: that the men's world triple jump record changed hands FIVE times in 2 days in Mexico City at the 1968 Olympics! :eek::cool:

    That puts Bob Beamon's wonder long-jump into a little bit of perspective....
    littlebabyjesus likes this.
  11. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    I'm kind of surprised there isn't an annual meet in Mexico City or at other places at altitude. If I were a jumper I'd be itching to try my luck there. There are $$$ for records nowadays (why Bubka only broke the pole vault record a tiny bit at a time).
    Sirena likes this.
  12. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Thinking back to the 80s, I do remember not being surprised by world records. You came to expect them. Perhaps many of us of a certain age have been a bit conditioned by that. It's not the normal condition and was solely the product of cheating.
  13. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    You're right. All athletes do altitude training. Why not altitude competing?

    I just had a look at the women's triple jump record progression. Now there's an event waiting for serious input!

    Triple jump world record progression - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    For 22 years, Britain held it (Mary Bignal Rand) and it did nothing - not even at Mexico - then in 1987, it went stupid and virtually changed every month....

    Unfortunately (two-times drug cheat) Inessa Kravets whacked it into the long grass in 1995. But I think it's still attainable. People are in the area (IAAF: Triple Jump - women - senior - outdoor - 2016 |
  14. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    Although less air pressure at high altitude makes it conducive to breaking world records, the reduced oxygen make it harder to breath. It takes a while to fully adapt, making it unsuitable for the two day fly in/compete/fly out routine of the Diamond League.

    No current world records were set at altitude as far as I know, but a couple of interesting post-1968 records were (which have since been bettered, of course). Pietro Mannea's 200m world record, set in 1979, stood for 19 years (Mexico City again) and Calvin Smith's 9.93 for the 100m set in 1983 (Colorado Springs). Smith's record didn't stand for long but it did beat the previous record that stood for 15 years (also set in Mexico City).

    While high altitude was a major factor in the proliferation of records set at the 1968 Olympics, there were several other contributing factors. It was the first time a rubberised 'tartan' track was used (as opposed to clay) and the first time more sophisticated electronic timing was used (recording hundredths rather than just tenths of seconds). Interestingly, it was also the first time athletes were tested for drugs, although only one person was caught so we can assume that many athletes were getting away with it.
    Sirena and littlebabyjesus like this.
  15. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    Good point.
  16. stavros

    stavros Well-Known Member

    I think the triple jump is my favourite event in the whole athletics programme; a brilliant combination of speed, strength and technique.

    Four other men have gone beyond 18m since Edwards, the closest being 8cm short of his record. I'm sure it will happen sooner or later with a Bubka, Bolt or Železný of the event.
    Sirena likes this.
  17. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    You know, I used to dislike Jonathan Edwards at the beginning because he was such a virtuous (I thought sanctimonious) christian and refused to go the 1991 world championship because the qualifying rounds of the triple jump were on a Sunday (shades of Eric Liddell from 'Chariots of Fire').

    But then, as I got to see him on telly, you couldn't help but warm to him: he's such a decent and earnest man. And he was a member of Gateshead Harriers (and I'm a Geordie), his coach was Carlton Johnson (who started as a sports teacher at my school) and he was just such a beautiful jumper.

    Then, round 2007, he had a crisis of faith and he (I thought) handled it so properly that I came to respect him deeply.

    One thing I remember well is the gold medal ceremony in Sydney. I'm not a great fan of flags and anthems but the way he took his medal and stood while the anthem played moved me a lot. It was obviously so meaningful to him that it became a moment of great solemnity and beauty. It was a true golden moment. :cool:
  18. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    For a Christian, he was a really bad loser. :D

    I couldn't stand his god-squad stuff. Now he's like 'it's just nonsense isnt' it?' Faith probably helped his performance, tbh. God was on his side...
  19. Idaho

    Idaho blah blah blah

    No way is testing working. Some counties test in ways that are more complex to circumvent, and others are lax. Drugs are endemic and having a good medic is apart of success for many. Even amateurs are doing EPO and HGH - and they are practically untraceable.
  20. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    The endurance of the drug cheats' records from before out-of-season testing suggests that it is working to some extent.

    It's nowhere near strong enough, mind you, and drug cheats being allowed back into competition is a sad joke.
  21. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    It's a matter of taste but I can't stand Jonathan Edwards I'm afraid. His athletics achievements are outstanding but his television work shows him to be arrogant, ignorant, rude and self-obsessed. His before and after triathlon segments in Rio were pure Partridge on steroids.

    Men's triathlon, post competition. Continuing to interview a Brownlee with meaningless questions while waving away an official who was trying to escort Brownlee to the medal ceremony. Twice thanking Richard Varga (Slovakia) for his services to the British team despite Varga putting him straight after the first time. Seeing Renaud Lavillenie on the other side of the road and shouting 'Hello mate' (Lavillenie ignored him).

    Women's triathlon, just before the start. Asking his co-host, a British triathlon competitor from previous Olympics, about five questions in a row then interrupting her every time with his own answers before she'd had a chance to answer and then brazenly admitting that he wasn't looking at her or listening to her.

    Jonathan Edwards - a supreme athlete in a very demanding event but a woefully shit live broadcaster.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  22. belboid

    belboid TUC Off Your Knees

    There were two key points. The first was around equipment, improved suits have made a significant difference in limiting resistance and thus improving times. That is minor compared to the biggest improvement - decent goggles. Until the early seventies (iirr) you just couldn't get a pair that wouldn't let some water in, which was not only annoying, but meant swimmers couldn't train anything like as much as other athletes (well, not actually in the water).

    The other thing was conditions. Pools, especially Olympic/World Championship pools, can basically be kept in the same condition, temperature, salinity, whatever else is involved (although, not necessarily the same colour, it seems), there's no wind. Ideal conditions every time. Most other sports are outdoors, and wind, rain, coldness, heat, simply fucks things up.
    alan_ likes this.
  23. belboid

    belboid TUC Off Your Knees

    Semenya doesn't win every race she enters. Less so than Usain Bolt, similar to Mo Farah. Male athletes can have superhigh testosterone levels, and its just their good fortune. Every top athlete is exceptional in some way, that's why they're top athletes. There have been a couple of very good articles on this in the last few days, well worth a read.

    The ignorance aimed at Caster Semenya flies in the face of the Olympic spirit | Katrina Karkazis
    Casual Observer and Sirena like this.
  24. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    Despite pre-event talk of Semenya breaking the 800m world record, it's worth noting that even after winning the gold medal at a breeze, she still isn't in the top 10 list of all time fastest runners. Maybe too much is being made of the hyperandrogeny issue and more attention should be given to the lack of serious competition in this event at the moment.
    trabuquera, belboid and weltweit like this.
  25. Sirena

    Sirena Don't monkey with the buzzsaw

    There was one event a couple of years ago when Colin Jackson suggested that she wasn't really trying (so as not to draw too much attention to herself). I think that is a real possibility.

    I'm not sure but I think she will go for the world record this year in one of the remaining Diamond League events over the next few days/weeks (Calendar - Diamond League).
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  26. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    With regard to world records, I could be wrong but I don't think many are set in the short part of the season left after the Olympics by athletes who take part in the Olympics. They're just too knackered after a hard Olympic season.

    Not sure how much running Semenya does in Europe either (outside of major competitions), it seems to be the continent where animosity towards her is at its highest.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  27. irf520

    irf520 Well-Known Member

    What are the odds on the top 10 being juicers?
  28. stavros

    stavros Well-Known Member

    Every UCI track cycling world record has been set this decade, bar Chris Hoy's flying 500m TT, and that was from 2007. I suspect that's continued progression in aerodynamics and body recovery.
  29. littlebabyjesus

    littlebabyjesus one of Maxwell's demons

    To add meat to this point, this is the all-time list of women's long jump.

    Looking just at the top 105 jumps of all time (top 100 plus ties), all of them happened since 1982. 100 of them were achieved between 1982 and 1999; just 5 were achieved after 1999.

    This is illustrative - the pattern's not just in the long jump. A stark illustration of the fairly narrow window of full-throttle cheating, which started in the early 80s and lasted for a little more than a decade. The vast majority of the athletes in the upper reaches of many of the all-time lists were cheats, cheating started in earnest in the early 80s, and while cheating may not have been stamped out, it is clear that some of the most effective ways to cheat are not possible now. Given that there was testing during events right through the 80s, this is very likely to mean that it is the advent of effective out-of-season testing that has brought about this change.

    Problem is that these all-time lists are a permanent wound in the sport, a festering wound that cannot be healed.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2016
    Sirena likes this.
  30. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    Drug cheating in athletics started long before the 80s. I vaguely remember reading that drugs used to enhance the performance of pilots in WW2 were used in athletics in the 50s. Britains own David Jenkins (400m) admitted that he'd been using drugs since the mid-70s and later went to prison for manufacturing or importing steroids.

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