USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?


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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby JumboElliott » Thu May 16, 2013 12:32 pm

Looks like Sanya will be back next week at New York.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby 26mi235 » Thu May 16, 2013 1:01 pm

:D
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby Weights&Shoes » Thu May 16, 2013 2:26 pm

Didn't realize my comment saying the USA wasn't a lock at this year's WC turned into this nice debate.

Carry on. 8-)
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby olorin » Thu May 16, 2013 5:37 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
olorin wrote:When I have time, I'll look at who ran in the heats since 2007 and look at what their form was that year. Those alternates would be the people we're talking about exchanging for Felix.


Allyson Felix in the relays:
For each of the last five major championships I present the time by Felix, The difference between her time and the slowest lag by an American in the final (not including the first lag), The difference between her time and the fastest American athlete that compete in the qualifications but not in the final (this athlete is likely to be Felix’s replacement in case she didn’t run).
The final two rows present her contribution to the win. The first is the difference between her time and the time of the second lag athlete of the team that won the silver and the last line is my own assessment of her contribution.
I will demonstrate on 2007 and then present for 2008-2012
2007:
Felix time - 48.01
Faster than slowest American lag - Mary Wineberg ran 50.24 (third lag) so the gap is 2.23sec
Faster than fifth American - Hannangan is the fastest lag in the qualifications that did not compete in the final. She ran 50.01 so the gap is 2.09sec
Faster than Silver - the second Jamaican ran 50.05 so the gap is 2.04sec
Felix’s contribution - The gap between the US and Jam was 1.18sec so all the gap (more than 100%) is because of Felix. Another way to look at this is that except Felix all the other three Americans were slower than their Jamaican counterparts.

2008:
Felix time - 48.55
Faster than slowest American lag - 1.51sec
Faster than the fifth American - 1.42sec
Faster than Silver - 0.63sec (RUS)
Felix’s contribution - US won by a gap of 0.28. Again, the combine time of the other three American runners was slower than their Russian counterparts. The second lag Russian was actually the fastest lag by them.

2009:
Felix time - 48.75
Faster than slowest American lag - 1.35sec
Faster than the fifth American - 2.63sec
Faster than Silver - 0.89sec (JAM)
Felix’s contribution - The gap between US and JAM was 3.32 so Felix contributed roughly one quarter of the gap. Importantly, the second Jamaican athlete (Williams-Mills) was the fastest lag by the Jamaican

2011:

Felix time - 49.4
Faster than slowest American lag - 0.44sec
Faster than the fifth American - 2.25sec
Faster than Silver - 0.2sec (JAM)
Felix’s contribution - The gap between US and JAM was 0.62. As noted this was Felix’s worse relay after attempting the 200/400 double. Still very doubtful if the US would have won gold without her.

2012:
Felix: 48.2
Faster than slowest American lag - 1.19sec
Faster than the fifth American - 2.06sec
Faster than Silver - 1.6sec
Felix’s contribution - The gap was 3.36 so the US would have won without her. Still Allyson is responsible for half (!) of this gap
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby olorin » Thu May 16, 2013 5:54 pm

So...
was the 1.5sec hyperbole?
Felix was faster than the slowest lag by an average of 1.35 (1.57 if you take Deagu out of the equation). This is assuming that the athlete that will replace Felix will ran as fast an athlete that finished ahead of her in the US trials. If we look at the gap between Felix and the fastest lag in the qualification the average gap is 2.09sec.
So I stand by my original post - Felix is "worth" ~1.5sec to the American team.

Her contribution to the gold was pivotal in 2007, 2008 and 2011. Of course this is a what if argument that can never be solved but I doubt very much that the US would have won any of these three golds without her.

Finally, I am not a Bolt fan (in fact I would like anyone but him to win), but I would never argue that he is not the greatest sprinter that ever been.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby EPelle » Thu May 16, 2013 9:58 pm

jazzcyclist wrote:
EPelle wrote:As everyone knows, Felix had Krivoshapka on her leg last year in London. Felix, with a 'suspect' hand-off runs 48,2 (maybe 47,9 to 48,0 if 'perfect'); the fastest woman on the planet over 400m last season, Krivoshapka, didn't cause Felix to panic or lose focus on the race or her run. As a matter of fact, she never caught her. For such reasons as this, I do not doubt for a minute that Felix wouldn't have panicked in Beijing.

You're conveniently overlooking the fact that Allyson ran a staggered leg which means that she had no idea where the other teams were when she got the baton, and when she broke off the turn, she had a commanding lead. Why would she have any reason to panic over another runner that she never saw during the entire race? There are no tactical decisions to be made on the second leg when you're the first one to the break.

I've not overlooked that fact. She had a 10m lead given to her by Trotter. Ever seen Felix race herself out of contention on any leg? Run so hard as to tie up and place her teammates' own chances of gold in jeopardy? I haven't. I don't suspect that she's done so on any international team. The leg she ran, notwithstanding, she still had Krivoshapka giving chase. That fact can create a sense of unease within any competitor. Yet after taking the baton, Felix created an additional 10m lead over the Russians. You don't find panic visible in Felix's run.

And you don't find that in Beijing. Or in Daegu. Or in any other championship where Felix had been called to 4x4 duty. Yet Richards-Ross had this to say about her own London leg: "It is a bit challenging to run at the front because you don't want to run too fast and mess it up."

Felix didn't run too fast despite having this 'commanding' 10m lead over the field. Ran within herself. Ran a blazing split. Maintained form and composure. Increased her lead. Brought the baton home to McCorory with an even greater command (20m lead) over the race than she'd been provided.

Again, Felix is the consummate professional. She's got this relay stuff in the bag. Whatever leg she's on, it's guts then gold then glory. But I needn't convince you of that. She's letting her own two feet and that huge muscle between her ears do it all.

And, that is all.
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby iain » Fri May 17, 2013 12:24 am

The brain isn't a muscle ...
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Re: USA w4x400 'lock' debate: Why so dominant?

Postby EPelle » Fri May 17, 2013 1:10 am

Literally and anatomically, no. As a figure of speech, yes.
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