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My pick for the 4 greatest sprinters (100 MY)
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jeffh
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 7:07 pm    Post subject: My pick for the 4 greatest sprinters (100 M\Y) Reply with quote

My pick for the 4 greatest sprinters, trying to consider advantages of the modern era and possibly retiring before peaking;

1. R.P. Williams - Pro of the early 1900's , 3*(9.0/100Y),4*(9 1/5/100Y),(9 4/5/100M),(5.0/50Y),(6.0/60Y),circling bases/12.0/ best time on record.

2. Bob Hayes- (10.06/9.91W) on a chewed up track at sea level.His leg of the 4X100 in Tokyo was incredible.I think if he would have stayed and gave T&F his total concetration he would have ran sub 9.9 auto in the 60's.

3. Maurice Greene- He's had all the modern day advantages and he's really a pro but his performance speaks for itself.

4. Carl Lewis- He's also had the modern day advantages but its hard for me to leave him a top 5 list for sprinting.

This, of course is my opinion. I'm sure most people won't agree especially
with Williams but I'm considering sprinting speed not amateur or professional status.I'm also not automatically disallowing handtiming.
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Paul
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jeffh,

Check out Justin's article on Bob Hayes in the "guest articles" link on your left. In fact all of Justin's articles are worth reading, more than once! Thumbs Up Thumbs Up
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 8:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uh-oh, don't let Justin see your stats on R.P. Williams... Wink

Your 2-4 picks seem pretty sound, although I'd rank Greene ahead of Hayes, largely because Hayes getting the nod would have to be more on potential (had he stayed around longer) than actual accomplishments. There's also a number of people I'd consider for Carl's spot, but he probably edges most of them out.

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Conway
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff jeff jeff ... Let's try it this way ...


1.a - Maurice Greene
1.b - Bob Hayes
3. -- Frank Fredericks
4. -- Steve Williams/Ato Boldon/Carl Lewis

I kn ow I'll get a lot of flak ... But that is part of the fun of these things ...

Greene and Hayes I should get no argument on ... Both are highly substantiated ... But I amk sure 3 & 4 have casued alarm ...

Frankie for #3 ... No Frankie has not won a big one ... But he has been #2 often enough ... It always taken something spectacular to beat him and he has always been right there ... For about a decade now ... Consistent on the clock ... Consistent in his placings ... Frankie has to always be taken seriously when he steps on the track ...

Now for the one that I know I'll get taken to task on ... Yes a 3 way tie ...

Williams never got his chance at the Olympics due to injury ... However on the track and on the clock he was a monster ... More WR performances (albeit hand timed) than anyone else ... Beat the best of his era including the likes of Don Quarrie, Valeri Borzov, Houston McTear, Steve Riddick, Hasley Crawford ... The one sprinter everyone feared ...

Similarly Boldon has won nothing ... Yet since 95 has been one of the most feared sprinters out there ... Has medalled over 100 in 2 Olympics ... 9.86 4x !!! When healthy always a factor ...

Lewis in a 3 way tie for 4th ??? Yep ... Over rated here in my opinion ... Beat a weak 84 field ... Same for '83 ... Could not handle Ben Johnson (who I almost put on this list) ... And his longevity here was only half his long jump longevity (aside from the Tokyo race Carl did nothing of note here after 1990) ... He was given double Olympic gold and twice won WC gold ... And it for that that I put him here ... But save for a few years during the early 80's Carl was not the dominant sprinter that history seems to portray ....

OK ... Have at it ...
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 9:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conway, I expected you'd have Carl lower, but I'm a bit surprised by Frankie and definitely by Ato. I think Donovan Bailey deserves stronger consideration than Ato (and Ben before either of them). Bailey didn't have much longevity, but he did have WC and OG Gold (and silver in '97, right?) and a world record that lasted a respectable 3 years. Granted, it came on a questionable track, but Ato and Frankie's top marks for consideration came on the same track, and Greene presumably ran on it in the US Trials that year and failed to do anything special, so I don't think it can be discounted. Donovan's big meet abilities were every bit as feared as Ato's consistently fast marks...

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Conway
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well ... Bailey only had 3 good years ... And only about 5 good races ... He got 95 gold over a weak field ... And 96 gold after much confusion ... Though he must be given props for holding it together better than everyone else ... His record was tied by team mate Surin and has proven to have been "weak" ... I almost view Bailey in teh same light I view Viren ... A handfull of good races ... And then immortality ?!?!?

Ato I waivered on ... Lots of great sprinters in teh 60's but they beat each other up (there wer so many) so no one was left standing to be considered "great" ... Hard to name anyone before the 60's as overall talent was weak ... So the "great" ones were able to stand out easier ...

Actually as I look back on history I am truly tempted to put Eddie Hart up there ... For non normal reasons .... Neutral
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Dan
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PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see Bailey and Boldon as being as opposite as any two sprinters can be, so picking which of the two had a greater career comes down entirely to the criteria set forth. Neutral

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jeffh
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 12:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Uh-oh, don't let Justin see your stats on R.P. Williams... Wink"

I knew that would raise a few eyebrows ,but hey its my list.I may get the list laminated.All joking aside, I know most people don't accept Williams times but the 1/5 stopwatch was used and the times accepted for Hahn,Wafers and all the sprints for that day and their times are accepted by the AAU and IAAF.I know their times were done at a actual event but I'm looking for ultimate sprinting speed not sanction meets.He ran those 100Y times in 1904/1906/1910 with five timers at sea level.





"Your 2-4 picks seem pretty sound, although I'd rank Greene ahead of Hayes, largely because Hayes getting the nod would have to be more on potential (had he stayed around longer) than actual accomplishments. There's also a number of people I'd consider for Carl's spot, but he probably edges most of them out."


Yes, Hayes is on potential.If it was on actual accomplishments alot of sprinters would be ahead of Hayes.Picking all time greats is subjective,
who knows maybe Hayes peaked in Tokyo and retired from T&F at the perfect time (I seriously doubt that).

I think Greene has run 40+ sub 10.0/100M which is amazing but you really can't compare the training methods and track improvements today to the
60's or even 70's track stars. GREENE IS A PRO...heck he probably makes a seven figure income in a good year..Hayes and Hines had World records, that doesn't put food on the table.There is no reason for elite sprinters today to try football or another sport.I just think if you put Greene of any of the todays sub 10 sprinters in Tokyo/1964 could they
run a 10.06 on a chewed up track and sub 9.0 in their leg of the 4X100.I don't think so.Greene concentrates year round on the sprinters, Hayes trained around his football schedule.

I almost put Ben Johnson on the list but I know first hand the anabolic steroid advantage. I took them competing in bodybuilding contest in the 80's long after my 100Y dash days.If they helped in sprinting like they did for muscle building and lifts, he had a huge advantage over Lewis and the other guys.I wouldn't be surprised if some of todays athletes take them but "get off" in time to test negative.


Last edited by jeffh on Thu May 08, 2003 2:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dan
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 12:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At the same time, you can't hold it against Greene that he competed in the age of professionalism. It's perfectly valid to wonder "what if" in the case of athletes like Bob Hayes, but that shouldn't garner them extra praise on a list that would seem to be largely, if not entirely, about accomplishments.

Quote:
If they helped in sprinting like they did for muscle building and lifts, he had a huge advantage over Lewis and the other guys.

I would agree with that if not for the huge amount of evidence indicating Ben was no more guilty than much of the competition, Lewis included. Just keeping up with the Joneses... Rolling Eyes

An interesting side note: Ben's super yellow eyes are often mentioned as proof of his rampant steroid use -- often accompanied by scientific explanations for how the two are tied together -- but I have to call b.s. on that. For one thing, many admitted former users (such as Schwarzeneggar) exhibit nothing of the sort. Second, I was watching The Harder They Come today and was struck by how yellow scrawny little Jimmy Cliff's eyes were. I guarantee you he wasn't on the juice... Maybe ganja, but that's another matter. The point being that people are just making stories up to fit their vision of what really happened. No actual proof has ever been provided that Ben took even drugs, other than the admittance of his coach! Ben himself didn't go along with the story. All the explanations after the fact and the test he was caught on just don't float. From now on, I'll laugh whenever I hear the yellow eyes explanation (which I just saw rolled out again this past week on the t-and-f list).

Dan
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jeffh
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan,How do you put quotes text in a box on your post?



I used the same drug(stanozolol/winstrol)and it was the ultimate cutting drug,my skin was paper thin.I have the SI(Ben Johnson busted) magazine
and it said "we ran his urine sample three times" to be certain that Johnson had used anabolic steroids.It also said the amount found wasn't small.I thought Johnson admitted taking them.Speaking of steroids, I'II bet Brozov,the Russian experiment, was a steroid monster.

I do know if you tried competing even in local contest with people with similar genetics and you didn't use drugs that ensured defeat.Everbody
used them !!!!

I know you shouldn't hold the advantages of today against Greene but if you look at accomplishments alone and disallow hand timing Hayes would be totally overlooked.I don't think Hayes ever ran at altitute or a synthetic track.

I do have a question, Has anyone ever run a leg of 4X1 as fast as Hayes?
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Justin
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 6:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The RP Williams times are nonsense and can be discounted completely. 9.0 for 100y is worth 9.8-9.9 for 100m and it was 70 yrs before people were doing that at sea level. Sorry jeff, this isn't a matter of opinion, those times are just not reliable. Standards of timekeeping, track measurement, track building (slope etc), starting (poor pistols, no consistent rules for starters and false starts) were far below what they were today. Plus professional track was about betting, not performance. Times were exaggerated, races fixed, officials bribed. These times are not even listed in the "we know these are completely dodgy but we'll include them in a special section on nonsense times" section of the IAAF's world record progression book.

I don't think anyone who was not an Olympic champion can be considered. All Ato Boldon has won is the Commonwealth Games - minor medals don't count. Same for Frankie, who has never won anything at 100m and has usually finished down the field.

Bailey ran 15 times under 10.00, the same as Carl Lewis, and has a top ten average of 9.925, 4th best (behind Greene, Boldon and Montgomery, ahead of Burrell and Lewis). He won the OG in a WR - I don't understand why the false start stuff devalues this in Conway's eyes, nor was the record weak (only 2 men have bettered it). So whatever you think of him, he put together an awesome competitive record and an awesome selection of times.

Mo Greene has 43 times under 10.00 (out of 80 at 10.19 or faster!). Next best is 28 by Boldon then 27 by Fredericks. On the clock and in championships Mo has had no peer since 1997. I think he needs to defend his OG title in Athens and then there would be no doubt that he had compiled the best ever career.

At the moment Carl Lewis has that - 2 OG wins, 3 WC wins across 8 yrs, 4 WRs (if you ignore Johnson), several sea level bests, dominance on the clock. And all while part time at the event.

I think there are two alternative sets of criteria - compiled career and fantasy.

On compiled career, my top 8 would be:

1. Carl Lewis (see above)
2. Maurice Greene (see above)
3. Bob Hayes (re-wrote the rules over 4 seasons 61-64)
4. Bobby-Joe Morrow (largest ever OG margin, several WRs)
5. Jesse Owens (first 10.2 WR, OG champ)
6. Valeriy Borzov (first OG champ to re-medal; great competitor)
7. Charlie Paddock (OG champ, 10.2 unratified in 1920s)
8. Jim Hines (OG champ, multiple WRs)

My fantasy (ie who I think are the greatest talents ever, whatever they won or not) top 7 would be:

1. Bob Hayes
2. Ben Johnson
3. Maurice Greene
4. Carl Lewis
5. Jim Hines
6. Steve Williams (amazing times in 70s, should have been 76 OG champ)
7. Mel Lattany (should have challenged Lewis during 80s)

So subjective of course. And great fun.

Justin
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Justin
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Johnson was tested positive for a drug (stanozolol) that he never took - he used furzabol (sp?). Plus he had pure crystals of the drug in his sample, something that can only happen if he consumed it right before peeing into the cup. Johnson was set-up. The subsequent demonisation is one of the most monstrous injustices I have ever seen - he has taken the rap alone for a sport which was/is rife with drug use. Only 3 of the 88 OG 100m finalists have not had drug issues - Johnson, Williams, Christie, Lewis and Mitchell have all been busted at one time. Had the race been honest, Ray Stewart's 12.26 (limping across the line) would have got him bronze (btw, looking at videos of that race I think Stewart was heading for sub-10 and a medal when the muscle went).

Borzov probably used steroids, along with every single decent sprinter of the 70s and 80s. There was no out-of-competition testing until '90, in-competition testing didn't start until '72 and even then it was only a dq offence - it was only from 1975 that athletes received bans as well. The idea that sprinters in the 60s and early 70s were not using steroids is absurd, especially given the known proliferation of steroid use in US high school and university gridiron during the same period.

So rather than beat up athletes who were by the standards of their time not cheating, let's just celebrate wonderful talents and competitiveness in the greatest of all sportting disciplines - 100m running.

Justin
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jeffh
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 7:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"The RP Williams times are nonsense and can be discounted completely. 9.0 for 100y is worth 9.8-9.9 for 100m and it was 70 yrs before people were doing that at sea level. Sorry jeff, this isn't a matter of opinion, those times are just not reliable. Standards of timekeeping, track measurement, track building (slope etc), starting (poor pistols, no consistent rules for starters and false starts) were far below what they were today. Plus professional track was about betting, not performance. Times were exaggerated, races fixed, officials bribed. These times are not even listed in the "we know these are completely dodgy but we'll include them in a special section on nonsense times" section of the IAAF's world record progression book. "



His times may be absurd, exaggerated and nonsense but I'm not going to accept that fact just because YOU say so..
I read about Williams in David Willoughby's book "The Super Athletes" ,
he was a world authority,statistician and historian on athletic performance.
Whats your qualifications other than being a T&F fan like all of us.You've probably never even heard of Williams.As far as the sea level comment the 9.0 was supposely accomplished at Winthrop,Mass which is sea level.
Charles Paddock was what in the 1920's, his times could also be way off.I really don't mean or want to offend you but you act as if you are the final
authority on the subect and like you were there.Is all fun anyway,Geez.




"Bailey ran 15 times under 10.00, the same as Carl Lewis, and has a top ten average of 9.925, 4th best (behind Greene, Boldon and Montgomery, ahead of Burrell and Lewis). He won the OG in a WR - I don't understand why the false start stuff devalues this in Conway's eyes, nor was the record weak (only 2 men have bettered it). So whatever you think of him, he put together an awesome competitive record and an awesome selection of times. "

I was impressed with Bailey..He's right up there as a all-time great as far as I'm concerned.I think he ran a leg of the 4X100 with times similar to Hayes.You probably know better than I do.





"Johnson was tested positive for a drug (stanozolol) that he never took - he used furzabol (sp?). Plus he had pure crystals of the drug in his sample, something that can only happen if he consumed it right before peeing into the cup. Johnson was set-up. The subsequent demonisation is one of the most monstrous injustices I have ever seen - he has taken the rap alone for a sport which was/is rife with drug use. Only 3 of the 88 OG 100m finalists have not had drug issues - Johnson, Williams, Christie, Lewis and Mitchell have all been busted at one time. Had the race been honest, Ray Stewart's 12.26 (limping across the line) would have got him bronze (btw, looking at videos of that race I think Stewart was heading for sub-10 and a medal when the muscle went). "


Again you could be right, but where's the proof Johnson was "set up".I always liked Johnson much more than Lewis but everthing I've read said he tested positive for Winstrol.I agree the sport had and has drug issues.
We finally agree on something.


"Borzov probably used steroids, along with every single decent sprinter of the 70s and 80s. There was no out-of-competition testing until '90, in-competition testing didn't start until '72 and even then it was only a dq offence - it was only from 1975 that athletes received bans as well. The idea that sprinters in the 60s and early 70s were not using steroids is absurd, especially given the known proliferation of steroid use in US high school and university gridiron during the same period.

So rather than beat up athletes who were by the standards of their time not cheating, let's just celebrate wonderful talents and competitiveness in the greatest of all sportting disciplines - 100m running. "


I never said it was illegal for Borzov and the sprinters of the 60's.But since
we giving "advantages" to certain era's,believe me steroids are a major advantage.My bench press would increase from 340 to 350 range to 410 to 420 with just the adding the juice.Everyone was using the stuff. I stopped when the stuff became a controlled substance.I'm not judging Borzov and the others but how much were the drugs and how much were their" wonderful talents".



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Dan
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, lot's to catch up on here.

Quote:
How do you put quotes text in a box on your post?

http://run-down.com/forum/faq.php?mode=bbcode

Quote:
but if you look at accomplishments alone and disallow hand timing Hayes would be totally overlooked.

Not at all. He would still have a huge OG win and some very good times for his day. Probably quite comparable to what Bailey did in his day, really. It's taking that next step and filling in the blanks of what he might have done through the next Olympiad that is going beyond the accomplishments and into the "what if" zone.

It's funny how much better Bailey's record looks on paper when just taking his top times. Makes him look much more consistent than he seemed throughout each of the Euro seasons. Smile

Quote:
At the moment Carl Lewis has that - 2 OG wins, 3 WC wins across 8 yrs, 4 WRs (if you ignore Johnson)

In addition to the WRs, I think a major asterisk needs to be put next to the 2 OG wins, at least in the context of this discussion. I mean, it's not like he even won the race, and there is the current issue on the table of whether he should have been allowed to be there...

Quote:
So rather than beat up athletes who were by the standards of their time not cheating, let's just celebrate wonderful talents and competitiveness

I'm guilty of harping on particular athletes from time to time, but I agree with Justin's sentiment entirely. It's exactly why I think drug testing should be done away with. The sport has proven time and time again that the negatives vastly outweigh the positives, and without the shadow of drug testing hanging over everything, we can [hopefully] get pack to just enjoying the performances.

The R.P. Williams debate sounds alarmingly similar to one we had a few months back... Rolling Eyes Justin knows as much historically about the sprints as anyone I've ever run across, and he's one of the premier stats keepers in that area. He also raises very valid points about the questionable conditions surrounding those supposed marks. It all sounds very Paul Bunyan-esque...

Quote:
where's the proof Johnson was "set up".

Read Charlie Francis' "Speed Trap" for a very detailed account. Some might argue that Francis' account is biased, but he was already banned from the sport, so he really didn't have anything to gain by making things up. For what it's worth, I don't believe any of what he spells out in the book has ever been discredited since.

Dan
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PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 8:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff, I have never tried to set myself up as an all-knowing sprint guru so your childish comment to that effect makes no sense. I agree that it's only fun - you seem to be the only one dying in a ditch to protect your picks.

My definitive source of WR-level marks is the IAAF's "Progression of World Best performances and Official IAAF records". This includes every world best mark whether officially ratified or not and makes no mention of RP Williams or any 9.0 100y times. I also have a vast amount of historical data, cuttings, old stats books and ATFS publications.

The most authoritative is "A History of Modern Track and Field Athletics 1860-1990" by Roberto Quercetani, perhaps the greatest of all track historians and certainly the most respected. He said that "the least one can say about the times of early sprinters is that they must be taken with a sizeable grain of salt. The fastest times were usually recorded in professional races, where the financial terms involved made all tricks possible". He also makes brief mention of RP Williams, as follows: "In America wide publicity was given to some incredible times credited to a pro by the name of RP Williams, who between 1904 and 1906 collected four 9 1/5 marks and even a 9 flat, apparently recorded by three timers at Winthrop, MA, in 1906...[If] there was a trick of some sort, we obviously cannot say what it was, but these exploits certainly sound somewhat 'fishy'."

Personally, since you ask, I have been keeping 100m stats and records for around 20yrs, have been a member of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians (ATFS, the international stats body), National Union of Track Statisticians (NUTS, UK equivalent) and was also a member of FAST (US stats body) for a while. I have published historical and statistical articles in both print and on the web (some of them on Run-Down). I have around 10MB of raw stat data in Excel files and around 800 books in my library.

So, credentials on the table, I say again that these times are A FANTASY. You shouldn't need me to tell you that - it is perfectly obvious that no-one was running 9.0 at that time. The very best 100y runners around the turn of the century ran 10.0. A few professionals were credited with 9 4/5 or 9 3/5 times, all of them with considerable doubts regarding timing, starting or the track (short, sloping, you name it). There were no standardised rules for starting protocol, officials or timers. Watches were not reliable to time in tenths. There is no wind information.

No doubt the book on RP Williams was great. I have a couple of biographies of old pro sprinters myself and they also attribute obviously fantastic or unreliable marks. Mostly these turn out to have been marketing puff by the pro sprinter's entourage - think modern day boxing to get a real flavour of what track was like in the pro days around the turn of the century.

Move forward to Paddock's time, the 1920s, and it is very different. The IAAF was set up in 1912 and standardised timing and start protocol, track meansurement, creditation of officials and so on. Even so, vast numbers of dodgy and unreliable times were produced and sifting them for the real gems is a real challenge. One such gem seems to be the 10 1/5 Paddock ran for 110yds (!) in 1921. This pre-dated Owens first ever 10.2 by 15 years and was simply not believed. The consensus now is that this performance was probably legitimate, but doubts remain over whether it was really likely that Paddock was as quick as Owens 15 yrs earlier. Yet you are asking us to believe that times were run by RP Williams which have never been beaten even decades later on synthetic tracks with modern training etc.

I don't understand why you mentioned altitude - I didn't suggest this was a factor for Williams.

On drugs, every single generation of sprinters since the 60s has had drug users so to pick out Borzov is unfair. In fact it is likely that drug use has gone up not down since the 70s since there is so much more money and science in the sport now. I certainly don't agree that steroids were more of a factor, or more likely to be a factor, in Borzov's time than now or the 80s or 90s.

Clearly I don't have proof that Johnson was set up. However, the facts are there: he tested positive for a different drug to the one he claimed under oath and the medical documentation kept by his doctor proved this - he was taking Furzabol, not Stanozolol (which is a cheap and low quality bodybuilder's drug, not the sort of high quality steroid taken by a world class athlete). The test found pure crystals of the drug, which only happens in the first few pees after consuming something. Read Charlie Francis' book Speed Trap for his side - it's worth reading despite his obvious bias. And given what has emerged about drug cover-ups and conspiracies since, I think it is only a matter of time before we find out what really happened in Seoul.

Not that it makes any difference to this discussion. In fact, none of the above makes any difference to the discussion - if you want to go on believing fantasy times then I might just adopt as my 100m best not the 11.1 I ran in a proper meet but the 10.67 I ran downhill, on a short course, started by a gun with no flash, timed by my friend Bill on his wristwatch (which actually records to thousandths, but I rounded them up).

Justin
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