Like Victor Conte, Ben Johnson news won’t go away. No matter how much of an anti-drug person you are (i.e. LetsRun.com) every time they make a media presence, they make noise.
And that noise may be irritating to you.
Who can forget Ben Johnson’s 9.79 in Seoul 1988? I’ll bet a lot of you folks want to forget it.
The reason why it’s etched in your memory bank (for us old folks) is Calvin Smith’s 9.93 was the WR to beat for the longest of time. Ben sliced that to 9.83 in Rome 1987 followed by his infamous 9.79 while showboating and slowing down a few steps. I extrapolated Johnson’s time to be 9.73 or 9.72, just like Usain Bolt’s 9.69 in Beijing could have been 9.63 or 9.64.
Enter Mo Green, Lanes 3-6
Enter Maurice Green. 11 years after the day in Seoul, another human being (drugs or no drugs) proved he could run 9.79 in legal conditions. (forget
Mr. Marion Jones Obadele Thompson’s wind aided 9.69)
On the left is Mo Green on the cover of the T&FN Sept 1999 issue.
After that race, he quoted his goal for 2000 was 9.69 WR and the Olympic Gold medal in Sydney 2000. Well, he accomplished half of his goals, and it’s always better to set your goals high, even if he never ran faster again.
Today, the World Record stands at 9.58 and Usain Bolt talks about lowering it to 9.4 where he’ll then become a legend. Unbelievable.
Looking back the past 12 years, other than Mo, who else have run under 9.79?
I count only 3 men, Usain Bolt, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, and they are all going to clash in Brussels this summer. (Like Ben Johnson 9.79, Justin Gatlin 9.77 and Tim Montgomery 9.78 have been annulled)
22 years ago, 9.79 was the Holy Grail of sprinting… to go under 9.80 where no (clean) man has ever gone before. Today, we expect a lot of out Usain Bolt or else we’ll take the remote control and change the sports channel to dog jumping, poker or even darts.
After 20+ years of technical advancement, better spikes, better training, better track surfaces, and better nutrition you would expect to see a lot more sub 9.8’s?
Is Usain Bolt (and Coach Glen Mills!) the only man to figure out the magic formula?
It’s like the 400m. 44 sec is the Holy Grail. Only 2 men in the past decade has dipped under that magic barrier, and one of them recently tested positive. (it’s up to you to interpret the results whether he really cheated or was simply plain stupid)
I do not extrapolate Ben Johnson time to 9.72 but 9.77. Ben’s walk in Seoul starts at 95 meters point. Usain’s walk in Beijing stars at 75 meters point. There is a huge difference.
Jimson Lee says
Mo’s last 10m was 0.85 in his 9.79. If you replace that to BJ’s 9.79, you would get 9.74. His coach quoted the 9.72 or 9.73 extrapolation, or rather, interpolation…
jad adrian says
I would extrapolate Ben’s time to 9.73-74. Ben Johnson slowed down at 90m then raised hand at 95m. Usain Bolt did celebrate at 80m point but he was keep turning his leg fast until the finish line. Of course the speed momentum from the top speed was likelihood the contributor of his speed maintenance at the last 20m. He would have clock 9.63 or 9.64s if he run like the others.
I know how to get someone to run just as fast or faster than Usain Bolt, one problem I will never get a chance to prove it. Elite athletes follow elites, even when the training program doesn’t work for them.
The other issue is you have to throw logic out the window. The logic said no one could ran as fast as Bolt has, no female could run as fast as Flojo had.
So how do you train someone to run faster than you think they can run? By thinking you have no idea have fast man can run and just start training people to be as fast as possible.
When was the last time a different training plan has come about? How long has the idea of reduce ground contact time been around? A lot of people have tried and the results are not very spectacular but we keep on trying it.
How long as the idea of increase force output been around, once again not very spectacular results but we keep on trying it.
The biggest statement in the article is for all the sprinters getting under ten seconds is still a big deal let alone under 9.80.
It is very hard to run under 9.80 when you start your season at 10.20. Usain is the first sprinter to open up at sub 10.00, too many peaking theories out there, now we have an athletes that not only runs fast but is able to maintain it over a long period, which most coaches believe was impossible to do without getting hurt.
A lot of people say Usain is a freak, but he wasn’t a freak just 5,6 or 7 years ago when he was called an underachiever.
Let me train an athlete that is capable of running 10.10 and I could get him down to 9.7 or faster.
Let me train a female athlete capable of 11.20 and I could get her under 10.60.
And not in 8 years but rather quickly.
And it is not a secret just thinking differently.
People will read this and say, he hasn’t coached anyone big, he doesn’t know anything, or what does he know that the gurus don’t know or the other thousands of reasons used to dismiss people everyday without ever hearing them out.
Ben split 0.86 + 0.87 for his final 20m in Rome….he had already split 0.87 (8.02-8.89) for his 80-90m section in Seoul, he would’ve split the same for his 90-100m had he not put his arm up. 9.76 at absolute fastest for Ben in that race, the legend of how fast he could’ve gone in that race grows every year thanks to Charlie Francis and his fans
Harri Heimonen says
I don’t remember 9,79. Maybe I am getting old. I don’t think Bolt is a freak: I think he is purely…speed(?). I watched Swedish-TV sportsnews yesterday: it was about Marion Jones’s basketball career: it was mentioned in the programme that baseball etc players’ doping punishments are nothing compared to what she has gone through.
Jimson Lee says
@Adarian – yes, you do have to throw out logic. The coaches role should be simply to remove the barriers… whatever they are. Then you will produce the athletes…