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Thread: Bolt wins fantasy 200

  1. #1
    Senior Member kitkat1's Avatar
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    Mar 2003

    Smile Bolt wins fantasy 200

    Greatest-Ever 200m Field Succumbs to ‘Lightning’ Bolt

    by Neil O. Clayton, posted on 11/20/2011

    The 200m goes through many phases as it closes the gap between the 100m and the 400m in popularity. The truth, however, is that in order for the 200m to gain maximum traction, much depends on what each performer brings to the table. Over the years, we have been blessed to have seen some exciting performers in the men’s event. They have no marked physical attribute: some are very tall, some are short, others are well-built; some are great starters, some are astounding curve runners, others have a powerful finish.

    If these great protagonists performed in the same space and time, how would they fare? If they competed against each in a series of races, who wins? This presents a very interesting scenario but I have no doubt who the winner would be. I have assembled a list of eight elite 200m runners whom I think stand head and shoulder above all and sundry.

    Leading the way into the elite Eight Greatest is Jamaica’s Olympic champion, two-time World champion, world record holder at 19.19secs, multiple World Number One, Usain Bolt, the three-time IAAF Athlete of the Year. He is undefeated in the event since 2008. American Shawn Crawford is the Olympic champion from 2004 and the 2008 Olympic silver medal winner. Crawford also won the World silver medal in 2001, was the indoor title holder the same year, as well as being a Goodwill Games champion. His personal best (PB) is an excellent 19.79s. Namibia’s Frankie Fredericks won silver medals in the event at both the 1992 and 1996 Olympics. In addition, he won three silver medals at the ’91, ’95 and ’97 World Championships, having copped gold in 1993. Fredericks also won gold in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and is the world indoor record holder at 19.92s. He has an outdoor PB of 19.68s from the Atlanta Olympics in 1996.

    First Man under 20secs

    Italy’s Pietro Mennea is now an Italian politician, but long before delving into the political arena, he was the 200m leading light. He finished second in a photo finish in the 1977 World Cup but won two European Championship titles. He established a world record of 19.72s at the World University Games in 1979 in the rarified atmosphere of Mexico City. That record stood for 17 years. Mennea made four Olympic 200m finals, and won bronze in the 1983 Worlds. American Tommie Smith had a very distinguished but relatively short career. Winner of the Olympic title in 1968 with a then world record 19.83s clocking, Smith became the first man to run the distance in under 20secs. He also won the Summer Universiade title in 1967 in Tokyo.

    ‘Superman’ Michael Johnson took long sprinting to another level in the 1990s. In 1996 in Atlanta, Johnson ran a commanding race to set a world record of 19.32s. He also won World titles in 1991 and 1995, and has run the distance in under 20secs on 23 occasions. At his best, he was almost unbeatable. ‘King’ Carl Lewis was the preeminent face of track and field for a number of years. He retired in 1997, but his career started in 1979. Although Lewis received a lot of attention from the number of events in which he competed, it was the sum of all of the parts that distinguished him. His first measure of major success came at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, when he won four gold medals that included the 200m gold. He finished second in the event at the Seoul Olympics in 1988, and in 1993 won the bronze medal at the Worlds in Stuttgart. His PB in the event is a respectable 19.75s.

    Jamaica's Donald Quarrie has been described as the greatest curve runner of all time. That explains why the former World Number One ranked 200m runner won two Commonwealth titles, a Pan American Games title, and an Olympic bronze medal in 1980 after winning the Olympic title in 1976. He has a PB of 19.86s.

    Honorary mentions go to American Tyson who has a PB of 19.58s, and was the 2007 World champion. The up-and-coming Jamaican Yohan ‘The Beast’ Blake has signaled his intention of becoming an international superstar. Up to the time of writing, the young phenomenon has run some commanding times against stiff competition, culminating in a PB of 19.26s, making him the second fastest man of all time. With more emphasis on the curve and thus better acceleration, he will be a threat at every level. Cuba’s Silvio Leonard was often injured and never showed his full potential even though he won gold and bronze at the World Cup in 1977 in Dusseldorf, and gold at the 1979 Pan-American Games. He made the 1980 Olympic final and finished fourth after suffering an injury earlier. Trinidad’s Ato Boldon won back-to-back Olympic bronze medals in 1996 and 2000. In addition he won the World title in 1997 and the 1998 Goodwill Games gold medal.

    Couldn’t Contain Bolt

    Usain Bolt would confidently separate himself from the competition. His world record of 19.19 speaks volumes, and I am confident that given the right conditions and requisite competition he will approach the magical sub-19secs barrier. I expect him to continue his winning ways at next year’s London Olympics.

    Michael Johnson, as formidable as he was, would not be able to contain a confident and fit Bolt. He should be credited for bringing the world record to a distinguished 19.32, but he had a cadre of stars to contend with and one got the impression that he might be fallible if he was not at his imperial best. Jamaican Donald Quarrie is third on this all-time list. His superb curve running would pressure the rest of the field, as they would be in arrears into the straightaway. With the exception of Bolt and Johnson, nobody touches him in the final meters.

    Frankie Fredericks finishes fourth. He could be relied upon to give a great performance but that did not necessarily mean winning a gold medal. Pietro Mennea finishes fifth but gains an asterisk because of his admission of taking human growth hormone (HGH). At that time, however, HGH was not banned by the IAAF. It must be noted that Mennea did not infringe the rules, and he was an outstanding athlete, who on his best day was almost inviolate. Former Olympic champion Shawn Crawford is sixth. Still competing, Crawford is a fearless competitor and has tons of personal confidence.

    Carl Lewis finishes seventh despite his reputation. I think he approached the event in most cases as an afterthought and so did not give the depth of performances one would expect from the ‘King.’ Former Olympic great Tommie Smith finishes eighth. He is duly credited for his exploits in the late 1960s, but his resume pales thereafter. That notwithstanding, with his best time of 19.83, which is a former world record, he would have made every Olympic and World Championship final in history, the 2011 Worlds included.

  2. #2
    Member NickP's Avatar
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    Nov 2003
    I'm an advocate of Borzov's 20.00 from 1972, initially recorded as 19.99.
    You can freeze-frame that Munich run at any point and the image is always perfect.
    He effortlessly glides over the track, making it look so easy.

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