USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?


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USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby Gabriella » Tue May 14, 2013 1:32 am

Started a separate thread from the 'lock' one so we don't go off piste too much.

The US women have won the last 5 major championships 4x400m, a winning streak that goes back to 2007. Why have they become so dominant and why does it seem that the Russians, who promise so much, just cannot seem to beat them?

The simple answer is: Allyson Felix. As soon as Felix was drafted into the team, the US went from battling closely with the Russians and Jamaicans to dominating them.

Between 2000 and 2005 the USA only legitimately win gold once, in 2003, in a close battle with Russia. They lost both their Sydney and Athens golds due to doping offences and in 2005 they were DQ in the heats. So in the first five years of this century it was Jam 2, Russia 2 and USA 1. Come Osaka and Felix is drafted into the team on the second leg, and then it is all over. Only in Beijing was Felix's devastating leg negated by a good 3rd leg by Firova, but in all those other majors since 2007 it's Felix's leg that has tipped the odds in the USA's favour. Of course, SRR has been a major factor too, but I'd argue that her main contribution was 2011 with the brillaint 1st leg, while her other last legs could probably have been run similarly by other US women, with the big leads she always had.
Last edited by Gabriella on Tue May 14, 2013 3:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby mump boy » Tue May 14, 2013 2:05 am

All of this but it seems to me that all US runners raise their game in the relay. They have great team spirit and treat the relay as an important event not as something they have to do at the end of the meet. I assume this kind of attitude is engendered through schools and collegiate competition where you do everything to earn points

I don't see the same attitude from other teams and certainly not from the UK who's biggest 400m stars coach once told me "the relay doesn't matter" and it's shown in her performances until recently :x

US ran smart, in the right order, great tactics (2011 was the best i've ever seen) and they run with passion. Russia run like they've never met each other before, with ridiculous selection decisions and lacklustre performances.

Great relay running has always been about running above your individual level, using the competition and camaraderie to raise your game. US do this every time and no one else does. When on paper teams are relatively even this is what counts and until other countries can rival this competitive instinct they are going to continue losing
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby eldanielfire » Tue May 14, 2013 3:26 am

I very much agree that a combination of Felix and the us raising their game. Felix kills the race at 600m allowing the usa to always run the shortest race. The third factor is the Russian's being unable to bring their a game to championships and poor tactical races and poor order. I've also unconvinced they run their best 4 as well.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby Gabriella » Tue May 14, 2013 3:53 am

I agree with that too; the USA raise their game more so than the Russians, who, to quote gh, often look like rabbits caught in the headlights. Russia's better runners have not been the women running low 49s at their nationals but the ones not so dominant individually, like Litvinova and Firova who both ran 49.2 legs in Beijing. Firova was their only sub 50 sec leg in Berlin in both heats and final! Antyukh, is 'reliable' with some high 49 legs, but where have the other low 49 legs been this decade? There have been none. In fact, at a major champs Krivoshapka has only run one sub 50 secs leg, a 49.8 from London! :shock: This is the woman with those super fast times individually.

Individuals within teams do raise their game and can lift the rest of the team; the Usovich sisters always ran well, Breuer was devasting in relays; Williams and Williams-Mills have both run some superb legs. When you know you have (a) strong runner(s); some athletes lift their game beyond what is expected. When the Usovich sisters were in sub 50 leg form, Khlyustova was running good 50.3 and 50.7 legs, despite having just a 51.87 PB. When Breuer was running, Rohlander had some great legs, (49.6 in Athens 97, 49.5 in Budapest 98) as did Ghosh (50.0 in Seville 99) That is what Russia doesnt do. The US women know that on that second leg they have their most reliable runner and best relay splitter this decade in Felix and that gives them confidence.

I also think the US benefit from knowing that leg is Felix. Baton exchanges in the 4x4 are not the same as the 4x1 obviously, but you still benefit from having an aknowledged order sometimes. 2nd..Felix..the USA know they're going to be in the lead at the halfway stage. That gives you confidence.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby Marlow » Tue May 14, 2013 4:41 am

?!
Isn't the more obvious explanation that the USA has always been chin-deep in excellent 400 runners, especially when it comes to relay racing. The USA places a big premium in HS and college on it.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby mump boy » Tue May 14, 2013 4:46 am

Marlow wrote:?!
Isn't the more obvious explanation that the USA has always been chin-deep in excellent 400 runners, especially when it comes to relay racing. The USA places a big premium in HS and college on it.


So obvious it's already been made
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby batonless relay » Tue May 14, 2013 5:41 am

mump boy wrote:
Marlow wrote:?!
Isn't the more obvious explanation that the USA has always been chin-deep in excellent 400 runners, especially when it comes to relay racing. The USA places a big premium in HS and college on it.


So obvious it's already been made

So obvious that you agreed with the original poster that the primary reason was ... Alyson Felix?
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby Marlow » Tue May 14, 2013 5:51 am

batonless relay wrote:So obvious that you agreed with the original poster that the primary reason was ... Alyson Felix?

Nope. As much as I like her, we will continue to excel without her.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby 18.99s » Tue May 14, 2013 5:58 am

The real question to ask is: With more than 300M population and the biggest economy in the world, why doesn't the USA dominate a dozen or more of the events?
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby batonless relay » Tue May 14, 2013 6:20 am

Marlow wrote:
batonless relay wrote:So obvious that you agreed with the original poster that the primary reason was ... Alyson Felix?

Nope. As much as I like her, we will continue to excel without her.

Normally when someone uses the quote function, unless they are highlighting something specific within ... we can assume that they are quoting the last poster to post, in this case that would be the poster "mump boy", not you.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby batonless relay » Tue May 14, 2013 6:40 am

18.99s wrote:The real question to ask is: With more than 300M population and the biggest economy in the world, why doesn't the USA dominate a dozen or more of the events?

The REAL question was asked, what you are suggesting requires another thread that you're welcome to create/recreate where it can be the REAL question.

Since 2000 the USA and RUS have been essentially equal in strength at w400 and w400h - the two events whose athletes are usually conscripted to 4x4 service. The advantage the USA has is below 400m where sprinters (100, 200, 110h, LJ, TJ) usually have 400 experience. That's why it's not that unusual for a Flojo or Gwen Torrence or even an Allyson Felix to run on the 4x4 (or in the case of RUS, an Irina Privalova).

Relay legs, to me, are like comparing athletes running on different surfaces, in different climates, against different competitions; no two are the same. It has a lot to do with where and how athletes are positioned (think: NBA leads that never hold up to the next run by the opposing team). The USA would have probably won without Felix - even though in some cases RUS had the "better" individual performances coming into the races - because they're that good. But, to address another fallacy in the OP's thesis...the USA would have probably won from 2000 to 2005 as well. The occasional rogue athlete was not enough to stop the USA from winning, imo, if we're encouraged to suppose that Allyson Felix is the key. The two squads, USA and RUS are just too close in ability and it's impossible to say that a drafted sprinter or 400/400h backup couldn't replicate the split depending upon where they are placed in the order. It happens every year that some athlete runs a split that no one thought they were capable of and the USA has far many more of these athletes than anyone else.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby JumboElliott » Tue May 14, 2013 6:41 am

18.99s wrote:The real question to ask is: With more than 300M population and the biggest economy in the world, why doesn't the USA dominate a dozen or more of the events?

Football, basketball, and baseball, and for women, soccer and volleyball.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby eldanielfire » Tue May 14, 2013 7:18 am

JumboElliott wrote:
18.99s wrote:The real question to ask is: With more than 300M population and the biggest economy in the world, why doesn't the USA dominate a dozen or more of the events?

Football, basketball, and baseball, and for women, soccer and volleyball.


And videogames.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue May 14, 2013 7:24 am

JumboElliott wrote:and for women, soccer and volleyball.

Since there are no pro leagues in these sports, they are weak examples IMO. The only women's sport that has much greater financial incentives than track & field is tennis.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby eldanielfire » Tue May 14, 2013 7:37 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
JumboElliott wrote:and for women, soccer and volleyball.

Since there are no pro leagues in these sports, they are weak examples IMO. The only women's sport that has much greater financial incentives than track & field is tennis.


This may explain why women's Track and Field success in the USA is currently dominated by women.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby ATK » Tue May 14, 2013 7:47 am

batonless relay wrote:But, to address another fallacy in the OP's thesis...the USA would have probably won from 2000 to 2005 as well. The occasional rogue athlete was not enough to stop the USA from winning, imo, if we're encouraged to suppose that Allyson Felix is the key. The two squads, USA and RUS are just too close in ability and it's impossible to say that a drafted sprinter or 400/400h backup couldn't replicate the split depending upon where they are placed in the order. It happens every year that some athlete runs a split that no one thought they were capable of and the USA has far many more of these athletes than anyone else.

Exactly. Felix is not the key to the relay. The US could have won everything from 2000 to present. Like mummy said, all the US ladies raise their game when it's time for the relay. Regardless of what their previous performances were. McCrory ran below par in the London 400x but managed to run an amazing relay leg. SRR was completely off her game in Daegu but blew away the leadoff for the relay.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby iain » Tue May 14, 2013 8:48 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
JumboElliott wrote:and for women, soccer and volleyball.

Since there are no pro leagues in these sports, they are weak examples IMO. The only women's sport that has much greater financial incentives than track & field is tennis.


Football (soccer) is a better example for women than baseball and US Football are for men. Almost nowhere plays baseball, and the US still don't win (although do some of the best pros not play?) and the US is the only country which plays 'football'.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby EPelle » Tue May 14, 2013 8:49 am

I believe the Russian team are tired due to being under-raced prior to moving the stick around at either the Olympics or the World Championships.

Take either Kapachinskaya and Firova, for example. Both generally race sparingly throughout the season. They tend to run well at their national championships, and then run within their top-5 seasonal best times at the Olympic/world champs. In essence, they're peaking for their national champs and then running within range of their best times at the universal champs despite the qualification rounds.

During the 2011 season Kapachinskaya had three races before the Russian National Championships. Then she ran three races there in Cheboksary, the third of which was her eventual season's-best (49,35). Then no more races until Daegu. She pours her legs into Daegu, with her semi-final (50,41) and final (50,24) contested faster than any of her previous races (save that Russian national champ final). Then she finally got the stick for 4x400m duty. I believe she ran out of gas when it came to running hard/fast under pressure; didn't have anything left in the tank.

Firova only had four races (three finals) prior to London 4x400m duties. She ran two sub-50's in Cheboksary (49,76 and 49,72, respectively), and left everything on the track there. No more competitions ahead of London. Then gets the stick for two rounds of relays exected to contest against the always-on American team amongst others. Neither Firova nor Kapachinskaya had a season conducive to running at one's expected best.

Kapachinskaya had a similar experience last year as well. She ran three finals last season before London, with no fewer than zero races in the two prime-time months between Cheboksary and London.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby EPelle » Tue May 14, 2013 8:50 am

Krivoshapka came out of the gates guns blazing last year, with her first outdoor 400m a 49,43 in Krasnodar. She'd run one more meet (two more races) prior to London, with the Russian National Championships producing 50,05 and 49,16 SB, respectively. Gets the entire month off between the Russian National Champs and London, then runs 50,7 - 49,8 - 50,1 at the Olympics. Not much left in reserve for a fast leg against the always-on Americans and the other contestants who provided competition. Proved that the longer she races, the better she runs, capping off a lengthy season (relatively speaking) of racing between january and september with her fourth sub-50 on the season (49,94) in Italy. Same kind of scenario in 2011: two-fastest times of the year in Russia (50,19/49,92, respectively) then a month break before lining up for Daegu, where two of her three races would eventually be her third- and fourth-fastest times on the season. After those efforts, it was on to the relay, where she was expected to be able to roll with the Americans and others on very taxed legs.

How do you spell r-u-s-t-y in Russian, again?
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby JumboElliott » Tue May 14, 2013 9:23 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
JumboElliott wrote:and for women, soccer and volleyball.

Since there are no pro leagues in these sports, they are weak examples IMO. The only women's sport that has much greater financial incentives than track & field is tennis.

Destinee Hooker.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby KevinM » Tue May 14, 2013 10:50 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
JumboElliott wrote:and for women, soccer and volleyball.

Since there are no pro leagues in these sports, they are weak examples IMO. The only women's sport that has much greater financial incentives than track & field is tennis.


I think they're fine examples. Athletes like Destiny Hooker or Marion Jones aside, the vast majority of athletes will already be on one-sport tracks by the time professional money is a factor. To the extent that financial incentives play a part, I'd guess that the college scholarship system has a much greater impact on where kids end up.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby jazzcyclist » Tue May 14, 2013 11:05 am

KevinM wrote:
jazzcyclist wrote:
JumboElliott wrote:and for women, soccer and volleyball.

Since there are no pro leagues in these sports, they are weak examples IMO. The only women's sport that has much greater financial incentives than track & field is tennis.


I think they're fine examples. Athletes like Destiny Hooker or Marion Jones aside, the vast majority of athletes will already be on one-sport tracks by the time professional money is a factor. To the extent that financial incentives play a part, I'd guess that the college scholarship system has a much greater impact on where kids end up.

But I was responding to Jumbo's comparison of football, basketball, and baseball (men) to soccer and volleyball (women). In football, basketball and baseball, there are huge financial incentives luring boys away from track and field. That situation doesn't exist with girls in soccer and volleyball. The men's equivalent of soccer and volleyball would be wrestling and lacrosse.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby eldanielfire » Tue May 14, 2013 11:18 am

EPelle wrote:I believe the Russian team are tired due to being under-raced prior to moving the stick around at either the Olympics or the World Championships.

Take either Kapachinskaya and Firova, for example. Both generally race sparingly throughout the season. They tend to run well at their national championships, and then run within their top-5 seasonal best times at the Olympic/world champs. In essence, they're peaking for their national champs and then running within range of their best times at the universal champs despite the qualification rounds.

During the 2011 season Kapachinskaya had three races before the Russian National Championships. Then she ran three races there in Cheboksary, the third of which was her eventual season's-best (49,35). Then no more races until Daegu. She pours her legs into Daegu, with her semi-final (50,41) and final (50,24) contested faster than any of her previous races (save that Russian national champ final). Then she finally got the stick for 4x400m duty. I believe she ran out of gas when it came to running hard/fast under pressure; didn't have anything left in the tank.

Firova only had four races (three finals) prior to London 4x400m duties. She ran two sub-50's in Cheboksary (49,76 and 49,72, respectively), and left everything on the track there. No more competitions ahead of London. Then gets the stick for two rounds of relays exected to contest against the always-on American team amongst others. Neither Firova nor Kapachinskaya had a season conducive to running at one's expected best.

Kapachinskaya had a similar experience last year as well. She ran three finals last season before London, with no fewer than zero races in the two prime-time months between Cheboksary and London.


EPelle, maybe not last season but I'm certain I've see Firova out in the diamond league on numerous occasions. I've always seen her as always the 3rd or 4th best Russian at best but she always runs a great relay leg while never quite with the talent to hit sub-50 individual time enough to contend for individual medals. But by gosh did she get it right in 2010. She seemed so pleased becoming European champion.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby EPelle » Tue May 14, 2013 12:05 pm

eldanielfire, yes, Firova's 2011 differed tremendously from her 2012 season. She ran in Eugene, Oslo, European Team Champs in Stockholm, and the Moscow Championships all prior to competing in the Russian Championships. Not qualifying for Daegu, she competed in the London Aviva Grand Prix, competed in Moscow the following day and concluded her season in Rieti with her 2nd-fastest time of the year (50,97). A world of a difference from 2012. Perhaps if she and others had competed more in 2012 rather than save themselves for the Games, Russia may have had a more positive outcome in the 4x4. It's all speculation, of course, but it does seem as though they'd have been successful in London individually and as a collective team had they given a couple of races the time of day during that month's hiatus.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby 26mi235 » Tue May 14, 2013 12:37 pm

It seemed like they held some 400m athletes out of the open 400 to allow them to be fresher for the 4x400, since they would almost certainly not medal in the open event.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby eldanielfire » Tue May 14, 2013 1:29 pm

EPelle wrote:eldanielfire, yes, Firova's 2011 differed tremendously from her 2012 season. She ran in Eugene, Oslo, European Team Champs in Stockholm, and the Moscow Championships all prior to competing in the Russian Championships. Not qualifying for Daegu, she competed in the London Aviva Grand Prix, competed in Moscow the following day and concluded her season in Rieti with her 2nd-fastest time of the year (50,97). A world of a difference from 2012. Perhaps if she and others had competed more in 2012 rather than save themselves for the Games, Russia may have had a more positive outcome in the 4x4. It's all speculation, of course, but it does seem as though they'd have been successful in London individually and as a collective team had they given a couple of races the time of day during that month's hiatus.


I agree. On Firova thanks for confirming that. I'm guessing in 2011 she was going into that season as European champion and her star was never higher to earn something from the track in appearance fees and sponsorship. As she is 30 now, I'm not sure she will make another Olympics, I kinda hope she does as I've always liked her, for all the criticism of the Russian 4x400m she has always been dependable to run a good lap and she seems to be one of the few English speaking Russians in Track and Field. You can't argue with 3 Olympic silver medals, a world championship medal and European champion.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby Gabriella » Wed May 15, 2013 3:26 am

Between 2000 and 2007, when Felix came onto the team, the USA hadn't broken 3:20 legally.

2000 Sydney - 3:22.62 DQ (doping)
20001 Edmonton - 3:26.88 (dropped baton)
2003 Paris - 3:22.63 1st (Russia second in 3:22.91)
2004 Athens - 3:19.01 DQ (doping)
2005 Helsinki - 3:23.38 (DQ in heats)

Without the dropped baton in Edmonton they would have probably run a 3:19+, but in Paris they only just beat Russia in a 3:22 and their other sub 3:20 race was a DQ for doping.

Felix takes the team from a 3:19-3:20 team to a 3:16-3:18 team. Not necessarily single handedly, but through a combination of her fantastic second leg splits, and the confidence that gives the other women, who then raise their game.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby Speedster » Wed May 15, 2013 3:39 am

Gabriella wrote:Felix takes the team from a 3:19-3:20 team to a 3:16-3:18 team. Not necessarily single handedly, but through a combination of her fantastic second leg splits, and the confidence that gives the other women, who then raise their game.


Exactly, she has a lock on the second leg for as long as she's fit and healthy as she can create that space to allow the 3rd and 4th to run their best legs possible. Tactically if RUS, JAM or GBR put their best runners on second might be the only way to see this become a closer race.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby batonless relay » Wed May 15, 2013 3:43 am

The goal isn't to run sub-3:20, the goal is to win. As I said before, in the absense of Marion Jones, Allyson Felix or Crystal Cox the USA still may have won. The time they ran is irrelevant.

I would also disagree that Felix gives the women confidence to "raise their game". It is very likely that they feel stronger with Felix and actually relax more; with a "weaker" member they may be more steeled to overcompensate and run even faster. Absolutely no way to say that the either happened, though. In a nutshell: USA is dominant because they have won, but the races are so close that RUS could have won, and if RUS had won then the title of the thread would read: RUS w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed May 15, 2013 4:09 am

Folks here are talking about Allyson Felix as though Sanya Richards and Deedee Trotter don't exist. They've been every bit as important to the relay over the last ten years as Felix has been over the last six years.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby JumboElliott » Wed May 15, 2013 4:11 am

DeeDee wasn't on the relay in 2008, 2009, or 2011.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby Flumpy » Wed May 15, 2013 4:19 am

And Sanya usually gets an easy last leg because she has such a big lead given to her by Allyson.

Obviously she could do a lot more if necessary but it's not usually needed.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby TxHottrack » Wed May 15, 2013 4:41 am

Flumpy wrote:And Sanya usually gets an easy last leg because she has such a big lead given to her by Allyson.

Obviously she could do a lot more if necessary but it's not usually needed.



That's why I think it's best for Sanya to be on 1st leg or even 3rd. USA can pull another person for anchor leg and still win. I like it best when other teams chasing us down oppose to the other way around. Sanya 1st, Felix 2nd, Dee Dee 3rd, and anchor: Hastings, McCory, Beards and so on!

We also have this line up: Dee Dee 1st, Felix 2nd, Sanya 3rd, and anchor: Hastings, McCory, Beards and so on!
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed May 15, 2013 5:21 am

Flumpy wrote:And Sanya usually gets an easy last leg because she has such a big lead given to her by Allyson.

Obviously she could do a lot more if necessary but it's not usually needed.

The only time that Sanya has ever cruised on anchor is in 2007 when she admitted afterwards that she was still uncertain about her medical condition, so she didn't want to jeopardize the gold medal for the entire team by trying to run a really fast split only to have a piano fall on her back when she hit the homestretch. However, in 2008 when, she got the baton in second, she proved that she was capable of dropping the hammer down when necessary.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed May 15, 2013 5:34 am

TxHottrack wrote:
Flumpy wrote:And Sanya usually gets an easy last leg because she has such a big lead given to her by Allyson.

Obviously she could do a lot more if necessary but it's not usually needed.



That's why I think it's best for Sanya to be on 1st leg or even 3rd. USA can pull another person for anchor leg and still win. I like it best when other teams chasing us down oppose to the other way around. Sanya 1st, Felix 2nd, Dee Dee 3rd, and anchor: Hastings, McCory, Beards and so on!

We also have this line up: Dee Dee 1st, Felix 2nd, Sanya 3rd, and anchor: Hastings, McCory, Beards and so on!

The one downside for putting Sanya on scratch leg is that you lose the benefit of the some of the subtle things she does better than everyone else:

    1) She always carries the baton securely so that it can't be knocked out of her hand when she's in traffic. Some of the other runners carry the baton like a loaf of bread and are an accident waiting to happen.
    2) She keeps the baton moving through the exchange zone rather than receive the baton from a stand-still like some of the other runners do. I've seen her gain two meters on other teams by doing this.
    3) Her tactics are impeccable. She never passes on the curves or catches unnecessary wind. I can't say this for some of the other runners on the team.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby TxHottrack » Wed May 15, 2013 6:56 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
TxHottrack wrote:
Flumpy wrote:And Sanya usually gets an easy last leg because she has such a big lead given to her by Allyson.

Obviously she could do a lot more if necessary but it's not usually needed.



That's why I think it's best for Sanya to be on 1st leg or even 3rd. USA can pull another person for anchor leg and still win. I like it best when other teams chasing us down oppose to the other way around. Sanya 1st, Felix 2nd, Dee Dee 3rd, and anchor: Hastings, McCory, Beards and so on!

We also have this line up: Dee Dee 1st, Felix 2nd, Sanya 3rd, and anchor: Hastings, McCory, Beards and so on!

The one downside for putting Sanya on scratch leg is that you lose the benefit of the some of the subtle things she does better than everyone else:

    1) She always carries the baton securely so that it can't be knocked out of her hand when she's in traffic. Some of the other runners carry the baton like a loaf of bread and are an accident waiting to happen.
    2) She keeps the baton moving through the exchange zone rather than receive the baton from a stand-still like some of the other runners do. I've seen her gain two meters on other teams by doing this.
    3) Her tactics are impeccable. She never passes on the curves or catches unnecessary wind. I can't say this for some of the other runners on the team.



I have to agree! Sanya is great on anchor as well. I can't wait for the line up at World's since the USA women are so stacked. I have a good feeling that Beard is going to sneak in this time. Another name that I left off is Ebonie Floyd...she can take a spot as well. It appears that the USA may be stacked in this event for the years to come with athletes like: Diamond Dixon and Ashley Spencer.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby mump boy » Wed May 15, 2013 7:12 am

jazzcyclist wrote:
    1) She always carries the baton securely so that it can't be knocked out of her hand when she's in traffic. Some of the other runners carry the baton like a loaf of bread and are an accident waiting to happen.
    2) She keeps the baton moving through the exchange zone rather than receive the baton from a stand-still like some of the other runners do. I've seen her gain two meters on other teams by doing this.
    3) Her tactics are impeccable. She never passes on the curves or catches unnecessary wind. I can't say this for some of the other runners on the team.


Could someone please send these very simple pointers to the UK team
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby JumboElliott » Wed May 15, 2013 7:22 am

Another thing about Sanya is that she's one of the greatest 400m runners in history.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby jazzcyclist » Wed May 15, 2013 7:30 am

JumboElliott wrote:Another thing about Sanya is that she's one of the greatest 400m runners in history.

Yeah, there's that too. When one of the greatest runners is also the most technically sound runner, what you end up with is an invaluable relay runner. If Allyson Felix had anchored in 2008 instead of Sanya, would she have shown the patience that Sanya showed, without which the U.S. might have lost the race?
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby EPelle » Wed May 15, 2013 9:18 am

Yep. She's one of the greatest 200m sprinters in history. And very technically sound. Same applies.
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