Hicham El Guerrouj and Paula Radcliffe clearly deserve to be athletes of 2002, but they are on their way to being the 21st century versions of Jim Ryun and Ron Clarke in one serious area -- no Olympic gold medals. In fact El G and Radcliffe don't seem to be taking advantage of their professional status to win the gold.
El G does not prepare for tactical 1500s because he does not race at shorter distances as Ryun did. His conquerer at Sydney is the world record holder at 1000 meters
Ryun competed in three Olympics, but he was harmed by his youth in 1964, by altitude in 1968 and by his fall in 1972. However, he prepared for the 1500 by running many 800 races including the 800 at the 1968 and 1972 Final Olympic Trials.
Radcliffe's pace slows only 8.35% from 10k to the marathon. Even Frank Shorter slowed 10.3% in those events. Clarke's best event was 10k, but he lost 10k races at the 1964 and 1968 Olympics and at the 1966 and 1970 Commonwealth Games.
She has one silver medal in 10k at the 1999 World Championships, but her best event is the marathon. However, her marathons have been in cool weather whereas Paris will be warm and Athens will be hot.
I doubt that she can defeat the Ethiopians in the Paris 10k, but if she does, she must win the 5k also to develop the racing skills to win the 10k at Athens. If she loses the Paris 10k she must run the Paris marathon to prepare for the Athens marathon.
Bert Nelson wrote that Ron Clarke is a runner not a racer. El G and Radcliffe are great runners but they are not great racers -- yet.
would love to see a WCh or Olympic race where a runner beats a racer. Maybe in Paris - Paula should run strictly for time, and dare the rest to catch up. She's the only runner (m or f) who could do it. It would be a nice thing to watch.
I agree that I "would love to see a WCh or Olympic race where a runner beats a racer." I fear that Radcliffe must run her first 5k around 15:00 then run FASTER FOR AT LEAST A FEW LAPS to defeat the Ethiopians. I hope that her failure to race since her 2:15 marathon is not a portent of her not racing at WCh.
El G not a racer? Come on . . . he has dominated every 1500/mile he's been in for years, by a beautiful strategy keyed on his strength: accelerate the whole last 500, then kick the homestretch (if necessary -- usually he's gapped his rivals, but he's done it a couple times this summer). He was young in 1996, and Morceli was still in his prime and was favored. Yes, he was beaten in 2000, but one day being not at his best, and with another guy clearly at his, does not make him "not a racer." El G has almost entirely changed what 1500 racing is, just as the 800 went through a transformation in the Coe-and-ensuing years. El G "races" and beats Lagat and Ngeny, and everyone else.
>Hicham El Guerrouj and Paula Radcliffe clearly
>deserve to be athletes of 2002, but they are on
>their way to being the 21st century versions of
>Jim Ryun and Ron Clarke in one serious area -- no
>Olympic gold medals. In fact El G and Radcliffe
>don't seem to be taking advantage of their
>professional status to win the gold.
Are you aware of a meet called the IAAF World Championships? El Guerrouj has a few golds from those, as does Morceli, who also lost an Olympic race in between WC golds. The Olympic final is one day every four years; not winning it does not mean someone is not a "racer."
On page 14 of the December 2000 T&FN Sieg Lindstrom wrote:
El G had captured the last two world
titles. He had won 28 straight finals. But
El Guerrouj wanted to avenge only one
loss...the Atlanta Olympic final.
You are certainly entitled to your opinion that the "Olympic final is one day every four years." The preceding quote demonstrates that El G does not share your view.
The last time that El G passed another runner on the last lap of any race was the 1996 Grand Prix final.
He will win the 2004 Olympic 1500 IF a rabbit gives him an 800 in the low 1:52s and IF he is in sub - 3:30 shape.
The preceding two paragraphs describe a RUNNER only. Haile Gebrselassie is a runner who has set many world records AND he is a RACER who has won four world championships and two Olympic championships at 10,000 meters by passing other runners in the last 1000 meters of those races.
Jim Ryun also "dominated every 1500/mile he's been in for years," but despite his running far more 800s than El G has, he came out of his three Olympic Games appearances with only one silver medal.
I agree with the skeptics at T&FN who doubt that El G will attempt a 1500 - 5000 double at the Paris World Championships. However, I must note that his runing paced 1500s are the ideal preparation for a tactical 5000 there.
I agree that "El G has almost entirely changed what 1500 racing is, just as the 800 went through a transformation in the Coe-and-ensuing years."
I also thank you for proving my point -- that 1500 gold medals in the Olympic Games are preceded by success at 800 - 1000 meters. Please note that in 1980 and in 1984 COE WON THE 1500 AND PLACED SECOND IN THE 800!
In addition, winners in 1956, 1960, 1964, 1972, 1976, 1992, 1996 and 2000 also excelled at shorter distances. This is why El G's 1500 races are preparing him to win the 2004 Olympic Games --at 5000 meters.
I agree with some of the ideas stated. El G does not seem to be a "racer". Hell, even Lagat doesn't seem to be a racer. El G locks in behind a pacesetter, then jets ahead with 600 or so to go. Lagat locks in behind El G and stays there. Ryun didn't run poorly in '68, the altitude (and maybe illness) played a part in getting "just" a silver, but a great run at altitude nonetheless. Ryun won some real races, setting records in head to head races (the 1500 WR in a duel with Keino), the 880 in a surprise, one WR in the mile in a paced race, one WR while not realizing he was running so quickly. El G doesn't seem to have anything like that on his resume. Everything is rabbited. Clarke and Keino were their own rabbits on many occasions. Guys like Ryun and Keino and Clarke were also involved in many, many real races, not the time trials we have seen for the last 10 - 12 years. Morceli seemed to be a much better racer than El G.
That said, El G does have his WC gold medals. The Olys are every four years, so it's hard to measure an athlete's entire career on the games. BUT - while El G may not have been at his best in Sydney, he was outraced. True, many point to Ngeny's performances after Sydney with raised eyebrows, but El G just seemed a little out of his element when he had to take over after a very slow second lap that left his opponents full of run and confidence. Herb Elliot would never have shown the panic that El G had on his rolling into the final straight. Ngeny ran races at other distances in the seasons leading up to Sydeny - even setting a WR at 1k. El G would do well to take note.
The Olympics are a World Championships which happen every fourth year. Thank God we started having World Championships 3 out of every four years instead of just 25% of the time. Success in an Olympic year is very much subject to fickle variables like injury, illness, boycotts, being tripped in a qualifying round, or being screwed by any number of other scenarios...how about being slaughtered by terrorists? anyone remember Munich? or not getting to your race because of human error on the part of someone other than the athlete ...anyone remember the men's 100 1972?
I agree with both of the two preceding replies, but hope that my original idea compared El Guerrouj and Radcliffe with Ryun and Clarke in one respect -- NO OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALS. I doubt that Clarke would have won a World Championship if it were held in the 1970s, but Ryun is different.
Ryun surely would have won a WC in 1967 and if pros were allowed in WC and OG he probably would have won WCs in 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1975. In addition, HE WOULD HAVE BEEN ONLY 29 IN 1976! J
El G. is a racer and he knows his strengths and weaknesses as do his competitors. He trains and races to his strength - a fast pace from the gun and an even faster long drive from 500 m. out. He has trained to be able to run the entire race faster than anyone else in the world.
His competitors know his strategy and know he is the man to beat and they key on him - sit and kick, that is not nearly as difficult as being the man "keyed on".
El. G doesn't have the luxury of the devastating last 100m as many other greats have had. But he does have the most lethal weapon of any miler in history - the ability to run faster over and entire 1500m. A RACING strategy that is very difficult (an understatement)given the current level of world class middle distance running. He has used this same tactic over and over again -even with his competitors expecting it - making him the greatest miler ever.
el g has lost 1 olympic final by the smallest of margins and was tripped in the other when he looked like he was ready to strike has won every other race contested i think u are kidding saying he cant race.
I wrote on July 13, 2003 that "El G and Radcliffe are great runners but they are not great racers--yet." I suggested that his chance of winning an Olympic gold medal at 1500 meters would be greatly enhanced if he were to run an occasional 800 meters or 1000 meters. I never wrote that "he cant(sic) race."
I admire El G so much that I put his racing strategy in the same category as Herb Elliott's. Cordner Nelson described it in what I think is the greatest paragraph in the history of sports writing. He summarized Elliott's strategy in the 1960 Olympic edition of T&FN (September 1960, page 7)when he wrote:
The Olympic 1500 meters is traditionally a
tactical race, but Herb Elliott couldn't care
less about tradition. The hook-nosed, stoop
shouldered 22-year-old in the green and yellow
stripes of Australia knows only one tactic
--to begin, in the third quarter of his race,
a relentless, man-killing drive, powered by
animal strength, thousands of miles of
punishing training, and a brain insensitive to
the subtleties of foot racing. Herb Elliott
runs to win.
Because El G doesn't wait for a kick on the homestretch, I admire him, but I hope that he races at distances shorter than his best distance.
His courage contrasts with the cowardice of Radc liffe. Although her running style resembles that of Emil Zatopek her brain won't allow her to race at less than 100% conditioning. In 1950 Zatopek left a sick bed to win the 10,000 and 5000 meters at the European Championships, but Radcliffe is proably afraid to risk losing another big payday at a Fall Marathon if she were outkicked by the Ethiopians at 10,000 meters again.
>time that El G passed another runner on the last
>lap of any race was the 1996 Grand Prix
>Gebrselassie is a runner who has set many world
>records AND he is a RACER who has won four world
>championships and two Olympic championships at
>10,000 meters by passing other runners in the
>last 1000 meters of those races.
I guess WC gold medals don't really count unless you pass someone in the last lap, or is it the last kilometer? Herb Elliot didn't often pass anyone in the last lap, either, as he was already in front.
Earlier in his career, El Guerrouj exhibited an excellent kick. His first WC gold came after a 2:02 800; he took the lead with about 500 to go and finished in 52.48, 1:48.90. Since then, he has managed to get help from a Moroccan countryman in WC and Olympic finals. Not that I wish other Moroccan 1500 men ill, but I would like to see EG on his own in Paris. I believe he still has the stuff to win.
>I wrote on July 13, 2003 that "El G and
>Radcliffe are great runners but they are not
>great racers--yet." I suggested that his chance
>of winning an Olympic gold medal at 1500 meters
>would be greatly enhanced if he were to run an
>occasional 800 meters or 1000 meters. I never
>wrote that "he cant(sic) race."
I admire El
>G so much that I put his racing strategy in the
>same category as Herb Elliott's. Cordner Nelson
>described it in what I think is the greatest
>paragraph in the history of sports writing. He
>summarized Elliott's strategy in the 1960 Olympic
>edition of T&FN (September 1960, page 7)when he
The Olympic 1500 meters is
tactical race, but Herb
>Elliott couldn't care
less about tradition.
>The hook-nosed, stoop
>in the green and yellow
stripes of Australia
>knows only one tactic
--to begin, in the
>third quarter of his race,
>man-killing drive, powered by
>strength, thousands of miles of
>training, and a brain insensitive to
>subtleties of foot racing. Herb Elliott
>runs to win.
Because El G doesn't wait
>it for a kick on the homestretch, I admire him,
>but I hope that he races at distances shorter
>than his best distance.
El G. shouldn't change a thing. He is one of the most dominant milers ever. He is the fastest miler ever. He is one of the best "racers" ever to run the distance. He knows how to race 1500m. to win and should continue doing things the way he has been - don't mess with success! Even the best lose one on rare occasion.
Normally I would agree that milers should race shorter distances - Webb should go back to running solid 800s and I would like to see Lunn doing more early next year - but not El G. Suggesting that would be like suggesting Michael Johnson change his training to run under 43 seconds. You cannot second guess an event master.
I agree with everything in Alan Shank's posting on Aug. 16, but I also hope that he recalls that my observation is that the four runners are alike in their lack of an Olympic gold medal -- nothing else.
I disagree with Cyril's posting on Aug 16 - 17 in one respect -- Michael Johnson's changing his training. In 1988 - 1994 Johnson ran the 100 meters every year except 1992. His injury running the 150 against Donovan Bailey in 1993 limited his 100s that year, but he ran seven 100s in 1994 which was the year before his 400 - 200 doubles at the World Championships and at the Olympic Games in 1995 and 1996. Did he need to run those 100s? I don't know, but hindsight tells us that it sure didn't hurt him.
You can bet El G. does plenty of speed work. Just because he doesn't run the 8 in competition doesn't mean that he doesn't train to finish strong. He simply trains to finish strong from further out. Maybe Krum should look at how El. G. trains to try to figure out how to get stronger so he can run 3:26. Or maybe Coe should have run longer intervals so he could have started his kick from 500 out like El G. does. Or maybe Coe should have run less speed so that his career may have lasted as long as El G.s is going to. Maybe Marion Jones should run some 8s to make her stonger at the end of the 4. Maybe, maybe, maybe.
The arguement is ridiculous. You can't fault someone as accomplished as El G. We will most likely soon see him dominiate again even though the entire field is keying on him and knows what to expect. Who cares if team tactics are used? The Ethiopians used them in the 10 and nobody faulted them.
"His courage (EL.G) contrasts with the cowardice of Radc liffe. Although her running style resembles that of Emil Zatopek her brain won't allow her to race at less than 100% conditioning. In 1950 Zatopek left a sick bed to win the 10,000 and 5000 meters at the European Championships, but Radcliffe is proably afraid to risk losing another big payday at a Fall Marathon if she were outkicked by the Ethiopians at 10,000 meters again. "
Sorry, but that is a ridiculous comment. Would you call Radcliffe a coward to her face if you ran into her on the street? If not - why here? Do you really think a race director would pull/reduce the appearance fee of histories fastest marathoner (by far) because she loses by 2 seconds in a kick? No way. Think Geb lost any potential appearance $$ after finishing 2nd in 26:50?
If anything Radcliffe would have forced the pace under 30:00 knowing her kick is not as hot. That could have raised her fees - not lowered them.
After today's final do you still think The Great One should change his training and throw some more 8s in the preseason mix?
He took command early and rammed the distance down the throat of everyone else in the race. He showed why he is the best miler there ever was by running a balls out mile - no peak-a-boo wait and kick crap.
Your points are well taken. El G looked strong on the homestretch of the 1500, but not quite as strong in the 5000.
I hope that he wins the 1500 in Athens, but we won't know for one year. My observation is still accurate -- no Olympic gold medal yet. My suggestion of 800 - 1000 is less solid. We shall see.
I have been critical of t&f personalities in person and in published writings. I assume that someone at T&FN can provide you with my addresses, so I might give documentation to you.
I may be wrong about Radcliffe's motivation. Why do you think that she didn't run?
Geb has gold medals from two Olympic Games, four World Outdoor Championships, three World Indoor Championships at 3000 meters and one World Indoor Championship at 1500 meters. She has none.
He has the credibility as a great racer that she lacks, plus he rarely runs road races. He probably ran more miles on roads in 2002 than he had in the prervious 10 years.
In addition, iaaf.org has reported that she is scheduled to run the Flora road 5000 meters in London on Sept. 14. As Bill Cosby said about the child who faked illness to avoid school, but who then wanted to play at 3:00 pm -- "its a miracle!"
Do you think that its a miracle, cowardice, greed or something else?
>I may be wrong about
>Radcliffe's motivation. Why do you think that
>she didn't run?
>Geb has gold
>medals from two Olympic Games, four World Outdoor
>Championships, three World Indoor Championships
>at 3000 meters and one World Indoor Championship
>at 1500 meters. She has none.
>He has the
>credibility as a great racer that she lacks, plus
>he rarely runs road races. He probably ran more
>miles on roads in 2002 than he had in the
>prervious 10 years.
>In addition, iaaf.org has
>reported that she is scheduled to run the Flora
>road 5000 meters in London on Sept. 14. As Bill
>Cosby said about the child who faked illness to
>avoid school, but who then wanted to play at 3:00
>pm -- "its a miracle!"
>Do you think that
>its a miracle, cowardice, greed or something
I was very sorry that Radcliffe didnt' run in Paris. She won a 10K road in 30:51 shortly thereafter. After watching the Ethiopians handle Sun's pace and Adere run away at the end in 30:04, I don't think Paula would have won a gold medal in Paris.
I am not taking any position as to whether Radcliffe should have competed, knowing she wasn't at her best, or not. I just missed seeing her run. If she had been there at full strength, we probably would have seen a sub-30, but I think Paula is going to have a very hard time winning a WC or Oly gold on the track. The marathon, yes.
The rest of the guys are getting closer. That's with Lagat out of the picture. If El G gets stuck in a homestretch battle in Athens - provided he makes the final, anything can happen - he may win, but I wouldn't bet the house on it. He'll be another year older, and the younger guys are moving into their prime years.
radcliffe will not win a gold medal in the olympics, there are better runners in the 5 and 10k, and i doubt she will run the marathon in the olympics, if she even runs the marathon in athens, i think that would not allow her time to recover for a high paying and fast fall marathon, ethiopian, kenyan, japanese and chinese girls will be running under 2.15 in 3 years, well maybe 5 for the chinese.
I really appreciate replies to my original posting of July 13, 2003, but I fear that I still may be accurate in my pessimistic predictions.
The OG schedule is perfect for El G, so if he continues to eschew 800 - 1000 races, at least the 5000 is a fallback if he fails to win the 1500 AGAIN. "Cyril" wrote that "El G. does plenty of speed work," but more than 30 years ago, George Young said that the best speed work is a race.
I still maintain that El G should follow the Geb pattern and race at shorter distances indoors. If I were a betting man, I would give El G a 90% probability of winning a gold medal at Athens.
On the other hand, I would give Radcliffe a 10% chance of winniong a gold medal at Athens. Her half-marathon defeat of Adere by almost 1 1/2 minutes and the slowing of her pace between 10K and the marathon by only 8.35% proves to me that her best race is the marathon.
The only question is this: does she have the mental toughness to win at Athens? The Paris schedule for 10K - 5K - Marathon is similar to Zatopek's in 1952, but she didn't run there. Athens is 5k heats - Marathon - 5K final - 10K final, so it is Marathon or nothing
I think a number of you are doing Paula a dis-service re her withdrawal from the Paris World Championships.
The facts are that she left until the last possible moment to make a decision, right up to the selection deadline of Monday 11th August.
However, when she returned to the UK, she did one of her strenuous sessions in an attempt to gauge her fitness, and decided that she wasn't ready to run.
Whilst the rest of the world was in Paris, Paula had two good weeks of training. Her runs on the road in September were good, but not that good, and she was visibly very tired after the 5k run in London. She probably made the right decision not to run.
As of right now, Paula has not made a decision as to which event to do in Athens. I think the double is still in her mind.
What El G. does is train to race - not race to train. He has grown tremendously over the past few years. He is stronger than he has ever been as a result of training his body to be able to run 1500 (or 1600) meters flat out faster than anyone else in the world.
He races relatively sparingly - but when he races he knows exactly how he is going to run. He executes his races without flaws and most of the time it works to a t.
If he was to race more - run some 8s. He would likely lose more. This is not what he wants to do from a psychological perspective or a marketing perspective. And, why do it?
He has the 1500 figured out better than anyone who has ever run the race, it now looks like he is starting to get a handle on the 5 as well - why screw with what is working?
Paula on her chances [and a Clean Games]: from the BBC athletics page:
Radcliffe welcomes drugs scandal
Radcliffe is hopeful that next year's Olympics will be free of drugs
Paula Radcliffe believes the THG drugs scandal will go a long way to cleaning up athletics by exposing cheats and ridding the sport of drugs.
The marathon world record holder is a leading figure in the fight against drugs and is determined to take the positives from the latest controversy.
"The scandal over THG may be the best thing that could have happened to athletics," she said.
"The cheats are being uncovered and they now have nowhere to hide."
Radcliffe told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: "Next year's Olympics may be missing some big names, but Athens could well be the cleanest Games for years, so ultimately there is a lot of reason for hope."
Drugs cheats have robbed people of championships places
The 28-year-old is also backing new initiatives to take a tough line on drugs cheats.
USA Track & Field, who have seen four American athletes test positive for THG, are proposing lifetime bans for first steroid offences.
While UK Sport has set up a phone hotline for tip-offs about suspected use of illegal drugs by athletes and coaches.
"Anyone who is found guilty of using THG should be banned for life," said Radcliffe.
"By using it they have been cheating the system and have been guilty of deliberate fraud. They've robbed people of championship places and cheated on their fellow competitiors.
"I also wholeheartedly back the call for more people to become whistle-blowers.
"I would even like to see more private investigators put on the trail of anyone under suspicion."
The facts are:
1. Paula defeated Adere by 1:27in a "no
pressure" race on 4Oct03.
2. Paula has 1 WC medal in 3 tries and 0 OG
medals in 2 tries.
3. The Marathon is at 1800 on 22Aug and the
10K is on 27Aug around 2100. What "double
is still in her mind?" I suspect that any
double will still be in her mind only--not
in reality--when Athens is over.
You may be accurate about El G's preparation. He may establish a new paradigm for milers, but I'm a "Doubting Thomas" who will only be convinced by an OG gold medal for him.
I assume that Paula is as pure as the newly driven snow. I ask one question? With her dominance on the clock why can't she dominateon the track or on the road in the WC and OG?