Walter Dix was the unsung hero of American Track and Field in Beijing 2008.
With all the hype towards Tyson Gay and possibly winning 3 medals (and ended up with zero), Walter Dix came out with 2 medals despite 2 DQs in the 200 meters that moved him up from 5th to 3rd. A 3rd medal was a possibility if it weren’t for the botched hand-offs in the semi-finals of the 4×100 meter relay.
I was surfing around the the T&FN forums and noticed some harsh criticism on Dix, especially on how weak his first 60 meters was compared to others.
The forum was referencing Walter Dix’s 2007 NCAA 100 meters victory 9.93.
They quoted on the forum (disclaimer: not sure how these splits were obtained):
first 60 meters = 6.55 – 6.60
last 40 meters = 3.33 – 3.38
If you compared these times to other World Class performances, you can see how Walter Dix has exceptional speed endurance over the last 40 meters. This is no surprise as he is a 100 – 200 combo sprinter.
A breakdown of the first 60 – last 40 meter splits can be found in a past article on Dwain Chambers. To summarize:
World class 100 meter splits
first 60 meters = 6.40 or faster
last 40 meters = 3.37 – 3.47
The above splits were from NCAA 100 meters 9.93. His Olympic Trials was wind aided in 9.80w. Dix’s performance at Beijing was a 9.91 bronze medal.
The moral of the story is if Dix can improve his acceleration on his first 60 meters while maintaining speed endurance, he will be up there competing with Bolt, Powell and Gay. I am sure he’s working on it… trust me on that one.
There was even a YouTube video on how he recently ran a 3.7 40 yard dash on the track after a workout, but after several hand time readings from my watch off the video, I clocked him at 4.3HT or 4.4HT going on his first movement. (Remember, a 4.21 stopwatch time is rounded UP to 4.3HT or converted to a 4.54FAT by adding 0.24 seconds)
The corollary of the story is there are many ways you can run a 100 meter race and still have the same performance or time. For example, you can have a bad start, but good acceleration from 30-60 meters. Or, have a good start, but collapse in the last 30 meters. The secret is putting all the pieces together on race day after 3 prior rounds… at the World Championship or Olympic Final!