After being out-kicked by Regina Jacobs for the umpteenth time, Suzy complained about Regina's following tactic, saying, "All in Europe go out hard and run an honest race." (Quote from TFN)
Suzy should learn the difference between a championship race and one of those GP races that are half time-trial and half race, where the promoters provide paid rabbits to set a pace for the elite runners. Unless you're El Guerrouj, who always seems to get a Moroccan teammate in the final to pace him, you're on your own. If Regina feels she can out-kick Suzy, why should she lead the race. If Suzy knows she can't out-kick Regina, it's her problem to solve somehow. This is called "racing."
> If Regina
>feels she can out-kick Suzy, why should she lead
>the race. If Suzy knows she can't out-kick
>Regina, it's her problem to solve somehow. This
>is called "racing."
Bravo. As a former distance runner myself, I've frankly always been perplexed by these notions of "sharing the pace" and such nonsense. I always thought the purpose was to beat the other guy, not cooperate with him. I was one of those guys with no kick, and when I got outkicked by my two main rivals (consistently), I didn't piss and moan about them not "doing their part," I kicked myself for letting them do it yet again. Finally, in our district championships (with top two earning a trip to regionals, and the 3rd staying home), I laid down the hardest pace of my life, got so far ahead that one of them threw in the towel and I took 2nd and almost stole the whole race. Made it to state, eventually. I just wish I would have used that tactic all season. Yes, being 40m ahead by yourself in the mile is hard work, but that's just what some of us have to do. (In case you're wondering, rabbits annoy the hell out of me.)
To be contrarian, who doesn't admire Pre's take on this, which was (and I paraphrase grossly) go all out from the get-go and see who has the b**** to finish. He could have won many races kicking but chose not to (usually). What's not to like about that mentality? Then it's not just about the win - it's about the effort. I guess I'm the only one who agrees with Suzy and thinks that Regina could and should help set the pace in domestic races. If she did, they would BOTH be a lot more ready to compete internationally with the hotter paces.
>To be contrarian, who doesn't admire Pre's take
>on this, which was (and I paraphrase grossly) go
>all out from the get-go and see who has the b****
>to finish. He could have won many races kicking
>but chose not to (usually). What's not to like
>about that mentality? Then it's not just about
>the win - it's about the effort.
We're talking about a national championship race here. It seems to me that to most athletes the win, or at least placing in the top three, would be paramount. With Prefontaine, setting a hot pace was his best chance of winning, so there was no conflict. He did not complain (except about Harald Norpoth outkicking him in his first international race) about having to do the work to make the race the way he wanted it.
Just to get things straight on this one, Suzy added at that press conference that she would have done the same thing if she were in Jacob's shoes (admitting Regina has a better kick from a moderate pace). Suzy was simply expressing her frustration with the problem of what always turns out to be a one-on one race at Nationals and her desire to get over to Europe where the fields are deeper, and the paces are quicker.
The issue about whether or not to take the pace is all relative. Why do people think that taking the pace is a good thing for everyone? Each runner has to deal with their own strengths and weaknesses as a runner. There have been runners who have won wire to wire, and runners who have won with a kick. Its called Racing folks!! Racing is a conundrum that fascinates us all. The tactics, the adjustments, the fear, the competition all come into play when we are talking about Racing. You can't criticize people who have tremendous leg speed for waiting and kicking. If Regina has Suzy's number in the last 200 meters, and knows she can outkick her, then I dont blame her for using that successful tactic. Remember one thing. The person who is a great kicker can never guarantee that the race will be a kickers race...But someone who is great at running from the front can always guarantee that they will have their pace because they actually set it. Its a fascinating puzzle..
When Suzy hangs it up, she'll have an 800 under 2, 1500 under 4 and possibly yet a 5000 under 15. There are numerous records and championships at all levels. So, she has not won a WC or OG medal. She still is no doubt Wisconsin female athlete of the Century and one of the bright stars of the T&F of the past almost 20 years. Just how many people have these credentials?
Please don't take offence, I work with people from WI and they laugh at being cheeseheads! Yes, your facts are correct, however SFH has to be one of the all-time underachievers in track history. On the world stage she has failed at just about every opportunity. I have sympathy for her mental problems and especially the suicide of her brother. However, your statement of her "being one of the bright stars of T&F in the last 20 years" just doesn't correlate with her consistent failures. "Stars" tend to win or medal at the important meets.
There is no doubt that she choked a few times (perhaps a few more). What I am trying to say is that when you look at the life-long accomplishments, she has few peers. I know you could name a few, but not that many. Some people just don't win championships (world, olympic or whatever). Ron Clarke was a running machine, never won anything major. Nor did Dan Marino, nor did Karl Malone. I could probably produce a few more names, but it is not necessary. And, no I am not offended by being called a cheesehead, I wore one proudly to the 1994 Rose Bowl where we kicked the UCLA butt ( 2 more followed). By the way, I followed Suzy's career ever since she was a high-schooler in Stevens Point.
>When Suzy hangs it up, she'll have an 800 under
>2, 1500 under 4 and possibly yet a 5000 under 15.
>There are numerous records and championships at
>all levels. So, she has not won a WC or OG medal.
>She still is no doubt Wisconsin female athlete of
>the Century and one of the bright stars of the
>T&F of the past almost 20 years. Just how many
>people have these credentials?
Is this a trick question?
Regina Jacobs already has all of the above + multiple WC medals + world and american records.
What records and championships does Suzy have at the senior level?
>Yes, I am. Just tell me which facts did I
The truth is simply data to be manipulated.
Talent allows one to run fast. That is only part of being a successful competitor. No one doubts that Suzy's parents gave her some fine gifts in the athletic department. What she has done with them is underachieving. And one gets a little tired of the spin being put on her unachievements by her entourage these days (husband the sports attorney, remember?).
Outside of Cindy Bremser and the brief career of Cathy Branta, Suzy has a monopoly on the "Wisconsin World."
Also, if Wisconsinites don't like being called cheeseheads, tell them to stop wearing those ridiculous headpieces at Packer football games. Otherwise we WILL assume they are happy with the term they appear to embrace.
I do take issue with that statement. She has been near the top of the annual lists for a long time. Are you saying because she doesn't have a haul of medals, she is underachieving? Was Ron Clark an underachiever? She is merely not a great racer at the most ELITE levels. So what? Shouldn't we applaud her obvious dedication to excellence and the obvious effort she put out to do her best? Do we sit in judgement of an athlete who has done what 99.9999999% of us couldn't do with all the training in the world? Shame on us for denigrating a great athlete who only does her very best.
>Talent allows one to run
>fast. That is only part of being a successful
>competitor. No one doubts that Suzy's parents
>gave her some fine gifts in the athletic
>department. What she has done with them is
How do you figure she has "underachieved"? As a basic measure of talent, let's see what the all-time top 10 high school list looks like (combined 1500/1600/mile, represented as mile times):
I see three names in there (Larrieu, Jennings & Gallagher) who have international credentials that can rival hers--not necessarily as milers--and all were faster than her to begin with. So if what SFH has done is "underachieving" I'd hate to see what you think about such obvious bums as the rest of the list!
C'mon! Compared to the average person of her original talent level she's a gross over-achiever!
>>Talent allows one to run
>fast. That is only
>part of being a successful
>competitor. No one
>doubts that Suzy's parents
>gave her some fine
>gifts in the athletic
>department. What she has
>done with them is
>you figure she has "underachieved"? As a basic
>measure of talent, let's see what the all-time
>top 10 high school list looks like (combined
>1500/1600/mile, represented as mile
>So if what SFH has
>done is "underachieving" I'd hate to see what
>you think about such obvious bums as the rest of
Again, if you are talking purely in terms of talent, yes, the woman has talent. If you are talking, as I stated I was, in terms of complete competitive athletics, she has underachieved according to her talent. Talent means little without a head for the sport. All the lists printed here just back up my point.
Someone who can run 3:57 but bails out of championship races the minute she faces some adversity?
Yeah, I call that underachieving. Especially when homers try to convince me otherwise!
In the context of semantics, GH, you're obviously correct.
However, how about, "SFH has consistently failed to live up to her talent and ability in important races that matter on the world stage"? Then again, I guess that means she hasn't achieved what she, the press, and T&F fans felt she was capable of achieving. Isn't that underachieving?
I'm now anticipating somekind of intellectual spanking from you professional wordsmiths. But what the hell, figure if you're getting up at 3am you'll be a bit knackered right now!
Thank you, GH and "what the hey". I kind of felt alone for awhile, sniff, sniff. Hmmm, tell me about Kory Everson. And by-the-way, I did not object to being called a cheesehead. I objected to a statement "cheese got to your head" - a huge difference.
>How about, "SFH has
>consistently failed to live up to her talent and
>ability in important races that matter on the
>world stage"? Then again, I guess that means she
>hasn't achieved what she, the press, and T&F fans
>felt she was capable of achieving. Isn't that
Sorry, don't buy that either. I think people are remembering her long run of making U.S. teams with "no success" and applying her performances of today to those meets. Let me splain it to you Lucy.
SFH won 3 US Junior titles, starting in '84, so you think of her as being around for ever. Then she won 4 NCAA titles. So all of a sudden she's 7 years into a high-profile UNITED STATES career. She also has a PR of "only" 4:08 and isn't remotely a world-class runner. At this point, many/most would quit.
1991--first year out of school, improves to 4:06, doesn't move out of the heats of the WC, but in a year where she's 23rd on the yearly list, who would really expect her to?
1992--improves to 4:04, doesn't move out of heats of OG. That's a year where it takes a sub-4:00 to get even 4th, let alone medal.
1993--a 4:10 year (don't know why), doesn't make WC team, so doesn't let anybody down in a big international.
1995--runs 4:05 makes it to WC semis. At 14th on yearly list, that's about as far as one would expect her to go.
1996--4:08, doesn't make OG team, no screwup in the biggie.
1997--improves to 4:03, misses WC final by 0.13. Since she's only #20 on the yearly list, this could be viewed as an OVERachievement.
1999--hurt, no outdoor running
2000--reinvents herself, picks up some needed sprint speed and improves to 3:57. Facing killer kicker like Szabo (who could probably outkick just about any man on the board) she does the only thing she can do; she grabs the race by the balls and runs from the front. Coming off the final curve she's in the lead but you can tell she won't win. But a medal still seems likely. Then it all goes to hell and she goes down. A phenomenally brave run and you people have the gut to call it disappointing? Holy shit!
2001--a 4:00 again has her figured as a contender but she doesn't make it out of the semis. Why? Becuase she gets hit from behind and knocked off her stride. In her distress she makes an ill-advised comment about "saving it for Zürich," or the like, but she was clearly out of it.
But even if the '01 thing was a total head-caser, you're going to characterize that whole career as a disappointment. Maybe disappointing to fans and sportswriters (including T&FN?) who have built her up to being more than she is, but I see virtually nothing to fault in her big-meet performances, given her sad lack of native speed. She has worked her butt off to overcome that, hanging in there to PR at age-32. I say the woman deserves more respect.