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My pick for the 4 greatest sprinters (100 MY)
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Conway
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PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IF RP Williams was legit and his times creditable ... THEN why is it that only one human being chronicles them ??? No IAAF ... NO USATF ... No AAU ... Only a book written by a single guy ... Had this guy been that good he would have been in the Olympics ... Yes I know he was pro ... But he would have been good enough BEFORE turning pro to have attracted the attention of coaches, colleges, and others who would have had a field day bidding for his services !!! Sorry but a book by one individual, unsubstantiated by others does NOT qualify as accurate history ...
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jeffh
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 2:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin wrote:
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 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'."Justin




Conway, even Quercetani said Williams had "wide publicity" for some incredible times for the 100, even though he was suspicious of the accuracy.So its not like Willoughby is hallucinating.Williams might be in alot of "old" track and field books.I don't know, I haven't read that many.
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Conway
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 5:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jeff wide publicity does not translate into credible, accuracy, substantiated or anything similar ... It simply means that word of his purported exploits had gotten around !!!!! That in and of itself doesn't substantiate his times ... For that matter all I have to do is start a rumor that someone else ran 8.9 in say 1974 and I was there to witness it ... If I can get enough people to listen to me and one of them to put it in his book, will that mean in 50 years when all my "witnesses" are gone that a future generation will tout that mark as credible ??? I seriously doubt it ... Nor should they ... I put Williams marks right up there with the dog boy and the bearded lady ... Purhaps based upon something factual but not nearly what it is supposed to be ...
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Justin
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 6:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no doubt RP Williams existed. He may well have ben very fast. He may well have been a famous star. His marks must have been reported at the time because Quercetani says so in the absolute definitive history of the sport. But none of that in any way helps to legitimise his marks. 9.8 for 100m? 9.0 for 100y? If he had run 10.8 and 10.0 he would have been among the very best in the world at the time.

Pro sprinting was huge - crowds of 50,000 and more would turn up in the UK to watch matchups between well-known pro sprinters. This was a gambling based sport - think boxing to get a comparison. In fact Alexandra Palace was burned down by an angry mob when a race was cancelled because the backers of the two runners couldn't decide who was going to win!

Starting was usually 'by common consent' ie each runner would try to get a head start on the other. The gun was introduced as a way of starting the race if the athletes hadn't started it themeselves after a certain time. Since it was a match race distances would vary, timing was largely irrelevant (and given the start conditions hopelessly inaccurate anyway). Plus times would be exaggerated by backers to get more appearance money and to improve / shorten odds.

This was not T&F as we know it, it was a different sport. Historically fascinating, but irrelevant to this discussion. Only since 1912 have distances, starting protocols and timing been standardised.

Back to the debate, do we have a consensus? Let's try for a top 5 we can all agree on (we can debate the order later). How about:

Bob Hayes
Maurice Greene
Carl Lewis
Valeriy Borzov
Ben Johnson

(We can also debate if Johnson should be included or not).

Justin
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jeffh
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 6:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conway wrote:
IF RP Williams was legit and his times creditable ... THEN why is it that only one human being chronicles them ??? Only a book written by a single guy ... !! Sorry but a book by one individual, unsubstantiated by others does NOT qualify as accurate history ...


The times are probably exaggerated but you implied the myth was from one man only,Willoughby.He was probbaly in alot of pre 1920 T&F books.Have you read any,I havent.Williams had enough popularity to have a Track and Field card.Jim Thope made reference to Williams actully
stating "Williams was the fastest sprinter of all time."I don't know who the top amatuer sprinter was in that time frame but apparently Williams was quite faster for Thorpe to say that.Willboughby said some of the scorces
for the early unofficial performances were from a 50 year collection of newspapers, sports magazines and other sources in various parts of the world.I assume its from one of those scoures where the WIlliams info came from.Who really knows,all I'm saying is I'm not going to automaticlly
assume its not true.
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jeffh
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Justin wrote:


Pro sprinting was huge - crowds of 50,000 and more would turn up in the UK to watch matchups between well-known pro sprinters. This was a gambling based sport - think boxing to get a comparison. In fact Alexandra Palace was burned down by an angry mob when a race was cancelled because the backers of the two runners couldn't decide who was going to win!

Starting was usually 'by common consent' ie each runner would try to get a head start on the other. The gun was introduced as a way of starting the race if the athletes hadn't started it themeselves after a certain time. Since it was a match race distances would vary, timing was largely irrelevant (and given the start conditions hopelessly inaccurate anyway). Plus times would be exaggerated by backers to get more appearance money and to improve / shorten odds.

This was not T&F as we know it, it was a different sport. Historically fascinating, but irrelevant to this discussion. Only since 1912 have distances, starting protocols and timing been standardised.



I assumed Williams just ran with his stutents on the College track, not some traveling carnivel. Wouldn't all the betting be a conflict of interest at the University.Justin what do you think of "on a truly measured track and against 5 absolutely perfect watches." lies, self promotion.Did you get all this info from Quercetani book.I finally found a copy of this book and its in the mail as we speak.I also ordered Men's All Time World List Code by Quercetani.I wonder if there is mention of Williams in that book.

Let me give you guys a little background on Hayes and Williams.When
I was growing up I was the fastest kid at grade school and middle school,
things change a little in high school but still very fast.Before college I had
a double compound fracture of the leg and there went my competive sprinting.Hayes and Williams were compared to each other in the book and I was a huge fan of both.These two bigger than life guys were my heros.I would have rather met RP Williams than Babe Ruth and Bob Hayes than the president of the US.It never crossed my mind(stupidity i guess) it wasn't true.


Justin wrote:

Back to the debate, do we have a consensus? Let's try for a top 5 we can all agree on (we can debate the order later). How about:

Bob Hayes
Maurice Greene
Carl Lewis
Valeriy Borzov
Ben Johnson

(We can also debate if Johnson should be included or not).

Justin



How about:

Bob Hayes
Maurice Greene
Bobby Joe Morrow
Carl Lewis
Ben Johnson

footnote RP Williams


You people are trying to bust a childhood hero.
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Dan
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PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 8:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hayes seems the sentimental favorite to me, but I just can't rank his career ahead of Greene's. And I have to agree with Conway about Lewis' career... Ben was the superior sprinter of the two, just without the longevity (for obvious reasons). So, sticking to athletes I'm familiar with, my list would be:

1) Greene
2) Hayes
3) Johnson
4) Lewis
5) Borzov

Dan
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Justin
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd settle for that top 5. Would perhaps rank Lewis ahead of Johnson on the basis of longevity, would perhaps wait to see if Greene wins in Paris before making him #1. But it'll do.

Jeff, we have explained to you 100 times over that the 9.0/9.8 you quote for RP Williams did not happen. Your logic seems to be that because we can't prove 100% that these performances never occured, you can go on believing that they did. No-one is trying to bust your childhood hero, but if your hero worship of him is based on these clearly false times then you have built your hero's status on foundations of sand.

Now, let's all stop wasting our time going over this point again and again.

Justin
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Conway
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can live with that top 5 I suppose ... I think Wiliams was superior to Borzov, but Borzov garned the hardware and cannot be denied ... I would put Greene over Hayes and I grew up idolizing Hayes (still a Cowboy fan) ... Greene has just done it all ... He's won everything in site ... Consistentcy like NO ONE else in history ... And a sense of longevity .... Carl was around a long time but not at the level ... Ben was also stellar - just had his career robbed from him ...

When looking back over the 100 I think it is interesting that we can talk so much about the potential of athletes ... By that I mean that it seem this event more than many others had guys that potentially could lhave been great !!! Injuries primarily have destroyed a lot of careers ... Guys like Steve Williams and Harry Jerome fall into this category ... Then there are those that lost one or two races too many ... Calvin Smith and Ralph Metcalf come to mind as guys who had one or two races come out different people's memories of them would be different also ... Then there are those that had talent but just walked away ... James Sanford, Mel Lattany, Stanley Floyd, Jim Hines, John Carlos come to mind for me ... And then of course the footballers ...

I mention that becasue as great as our top 5 is but for fate it could be entirely different ... Well maybe slightly different ... LOL ...

R.P. Williams ??? May he rest in peace ...
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Dan
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PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I think Wiliams was superior to Borzov, but Borzov garned the hardware and cannot be denied ...

From what you've said of Williams, he sounds very deserving of consideration. It's just that I've never seen him run, so I don't feel familiar enough to rank him.

Quote:
When looking back over the 100 I think it is interesting that we can talk so much about the potential of athletes ... By that I mean that it seem this event more than many others had guys that potentially could lhave been great !!! Injuries primarily have destroyed a lot of careers ...

"Power sprinting" is one of the most violent activities in all of sports, so it stands to reason that a lot of careers are cut short by injury and physical burnout. Neutral

Dan
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Kishan P Gill
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 12:06 pm    Post subject: Greatest sprinters ever Reply with quote

Of course compiling any list will be purely recreational. It is so hard to compare sportsmen, especially over a century and then of course their is our personal bias. I grew up in the eigties so i think calvin smith should be in the top 10 all-time, and mel lattany was also a great sprinter who did not realise his potental. Anyway, here are my top 5 all time greatest.
1. Bob hayes
2. Carl lewis
3. maurice Greene
4. Steve Williams
5. Bobby Morrow
All good fun heh!
P.S Does anyone out there have video taped recordings of ncaa/aau/tac track meetings between 1977-1985, also 1977,79, and 1981 worldcup. Please get in touch, we can talk business.Qishangill@aol.com
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Dan
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conway's your man! Thumbs Up

Dan
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jeffh
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Would anyone consider Bob Hayes's 9.91w auto-timing in Tokyo on a cinder track(i think) at sea level one of the greatest 100m ever run?

What about 10.06/Tokyo64 on a chewed up lane on a cinder track at sea level?

I think his last leg of the 4x1 is still the fastest split on record.


Last edited by jeffh on Tue May 13, 2003 3:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Dan
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think there would be much disagreement with Haye's best performances being considered among the best ever. My very argument against him being the best sprinter supports that... Had he had more of those performances, I would see him as surpassing Greene for the career. I.e., the performances were at a high enough level, just not enough of them.

Dan
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Conway
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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hayes' performances obviously are right among the best ever ... That would be an interesting thread of its own - ranking the top performances ... Bob just didn't stay with the sport for long ... He was outstanding while he competed ... But then he left to play football ... At the age of 21 !!!! Potential unrealized, is what Bob Hayes was, in spite of his awesome performances ... And really when you stop and think, for most of the history of track and field that is what defines most of the top athletes - potential unrealized ... It was not until the 80's that that situation began to change ... Now top athtletes can compete until ... Well we are not sure yet ... Look at Fredericks and Ottey !!! But prior to "professionalism" we had athletes like Tommie Smith and Steve Williams and Rod Milburn who had to give it up way too soon ... And of course Bob Hayes .... No one else ran anything like 9.91w (on dirt no less) by age 21 (right Justin?) ... He just didn't stick around long enough ... Of course, in spite of that all others are still compared to him ... It has taken a career like Mo's to finally bring someone into consideration as being "superior" ... That in itself says volumes ...
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