Most of the top jumpers are not in the mix at this point. Note that in the college conference meets last weekend we saw several jumpers over 8 meters at the SEC meet and college heptathletes at 7.85. Also, these marks are all indoors with no aiding wind; while not a huge factor, for season bests we might expect that it would be adding 10cms.
BCBaroo wrote:Sure, but the world lead last was all of 8.35.
I know there's been talk about human limits being reached by Soto in the HJ. Is the LJ at the same asymptote-al limit?
Yes, but the world lead is affected by the lack of top-level jumpers jumping and for those, it is still the 'off-season' in a year with a major summer championship.
The WR is indeed at a place where it is hard to get it to go higher, but that is a bit different from the 8.25 WL effect which is not in the 'extremely hard to exceed range. That is more the equivalent of a 2.25 HJ, which almost fails to get you to the NCAA championships.
BCBaroo wrote:Or was I simply spoiled/ fortunate to be a track fan during the Myricks/Lewis era. And we'll never see it again?
My take would be this.
The main difference between this era and the Myricks/Lewis era is the absence of the likes of Myricks and Lewis. The current depth isn't that bad - perhaps we're not "instant glory era, just add Myricks and Lewis" but it's pretty close.
As for why Myricks and Lewis are not present, well, if you only have one or two of those at any given time the odds are sooner or later you'll have none for a while; in other words, one suspects this is just random variation. At the same time, if you want to make Lewis-like jumps it helps a lot if you have Lewis-like speed, and we haven't really seen that many world-class sprint-LJ doublers lately. Maybe the most prominent is Makusha, who keeps getting injured; ditto Howe. Dwight Phillips, a 6.47/10.06 type, is on the decline; if he were still at peak level we wouldn't have to worry about WLs of 835.
True, even when he was peaking there tended to be one or two other athletes at 84x, but they weren't consistent at anything close to that level. I would say the 835 WL was a statistical fluke in that against all odds nobody had a big fluky jump (and athletes like Makusha, Phillips, Watt all happened to have injury woes at the same time); I'd expect a better WL this year, even if the jumpers' actual quality doesn't go up a bit.
We've had at this before. The talent is being siphoned off by other sports and interests. Unlike 30 years ago, there are so many things that an athlete can do besides T&F now, including sitting on your butt playing video games. There are more 'other' sports and activities than ever before. Football and basketball are really killing us now.
Plus, events go in cycles. The 400, 400H and PV are down too. Many events are way up.
If you look at HS and college results, you'll see that the depth at the top is still there, so the cycle will eventually go up again.
Talent is not being siphoned off by other sports (which is why USATF keeps citing those ridiculously meaningless hs participation rates); particularly Football and Basketball, which have always been there. And with the decrease in D-1 scholarships there are actually fewer opportunities for football not more.
I agree that there is a cyclical component but when i factor in your other point ("there are so many things that an athlete can do besides T&F now, including sitting on your butt playing video games") and the fewer opportunities for men at NCAA T&F level and i think there is reason to be alarmed that it may never get back aside from the occasional outlier(s).
Starting salary now in the NBA and NFL (and soccer) is vastly higher than 30 years ago. It makes those sports the ones that catch the attention of good athletes. Further, it used to be that there was not a lot of specialization in sports before high school. Now, kids are playing football or basketball or swimming thousands of hours before they hit the age of mid high school where they might be long jumping.
In addition, coaches seem to want to keep football players etc. playing during the off-season and many college athletes do spring ball instead of track. The total number of scholarships does not affect the top talent that could be world class; it has more effects on the cannon fodder that the likes of Bear Bryant used to chew up (I had a colleague that was one of them and he despised Bryant). And football has a category called 'preferred walkons' that fill that numbers gap, keeping more that are good football talent but better track and field talent doing football.
Look at the vertical leaps in basketball and even football and it seems obvious that jumpers (LJ and HJ) are going in to those sports. Even baseball has much more emphasis on pure athletic ability than it used to have.
Looking at the all-time lists, the top level is Lewis, Powell, Pedroso, Phillips - the only ones who have had lots of 8.50+ jumps. And even they jumped 8.70 only occasionally.
The second level - Emmiyan, Myricks, Walder, Beckford, Saladino were fairly regular 8.50 jumpers but perhaps one step below the all-time greats.
Then Dombrowski, Streete-Thompson, Lamela, Tsatoumas, Bayer, some others fluked one or two really long jumps over 8.50.
I think the "just unlucky that there were no fluke jumps" theory holds in that I believe there are current long jumpers with at least the same amount of talent as the jumpers in the third group. However, the problem is that there don't seem to be any current first or second level talents currently competing in the long jump. If there were, there is no way the WL mark would be below 8.45 at the end of a season.
Despite the low quality of the event, the IAAF keeps raising the standards to qualify for championships. The Moscow A standard is 8.25 and the B is 8.10. There are men that could win that won't qualify for the meet. The IAAF certainly doesn't seem to be encouraging anyone to compete in the event.