I’ve been a Track & Field fanboy for a very long time, and I have to admit, it was great to see a new World Record for a women’s strength power and speed event.
Keni Harrison’s 12.20 WR in London was all the proof we need. The excitement, the media frenzy, the joy… everyone was so happy for her. (Mind you, the backside story of her missing the Games was a plus for journalists looking for a rags-to-riches feel-good story!)
If you take at the look at the strength, power and speed events listed above, you can see several, if not most, of the records occurred during the 1980’s era of Track & Field. Note there are 5 new events that were recently added that didn’t exist 30 years ago: Women’s pole vault, triple jump, hammer throw and 400mH. The javelin changed its specifications, so that “reset” the World Record. More on “resetting WR’s” later :)
I’ll be the first to admit we are in a very challenging time in terms of gaining popularity for the Track & Field or Athletics audience. The doping scandals, zika virus, transgender fairness issues, Paralympic advantages… all don’t help the case!
Meet Directors and Television commentators have tried to avoid the WR topic by using MR (meet records), WL (world lead) or even CR (championship record) to make the event “more exciting”. Nice camouflage, but people still want to see a WR!
So other than the “new” events listed above, Keni Harrison’s 100mH WR, and the 4x100m relay in London with 3 sprinters running at near full speed to take advantage of the “fast track”, we have not seen a WR in strength, power and speed events in a very long time.
I talked about resetting the WR in my recent podcast on Joel Smith’s Just Fly Sports Blog. If we want to make T&F more exciting for the fans outside of the 16 days every 4 years, I think we need to do something about the WRs.
I don’t think we should wipe them, but we do need something, just like a baseball Home Run record going from a 158 to 162 game season. (Okay, maybe HR’s are a bad example :)
My suggestion is to change the weights of the implements (shot & discus) still hold true. For hurdles, you could raise the heights, but we don’t have to now.
But for running events, I think an arbitrary Year 2000 list can be implemented. Take a look at T&F news listing from 2013:
- 100 …….. 10.64 …….. Carmelita Jeter (US) ’09
- 200 …….. 21.63 …….. Dafne Schippers (NED) ’15 (updated)
- 400 …….. 48.70 …….. Sanya Richards (US) ’06
- 800 …….. 1:54.01 …… Pamela Jelimo (Kenya) ’08
- 4×400 …… 3:16.87 …… United States ’12
- HJ ….. 6-9¾ (2.08)i ….. Kajsa Bergqvist (Sweden) ’06 & Blanka Vlaši? (Croatia) ’09
- LJ ….. 24-4¼ (7.42) ….. Tatyana Kotova (Russia) ’02
- SP ….. 70-5 (21.46) ….. Larisa Peleshenko (Russia) ’00
- DT ….. 227-7 (69.38) …. Natalya Sadova (Russia) ’03
- Hept ……. 7032 ……… Carolina Klüft (Sweden) ’07
Now these numbers look more attainable, don’t you think? If we choose to do nothing, then 10.49 and 21.34 for the 100/200 won’t be broken for a very very long time.
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