The question inheres some logic. Yes, Nixon is already good at a young age - but so is young french men Kevin Mayer (at comparable age even better) The difference between both guys is that is Kevin Mayer (in company with his great fighting spirit) at age 21 has great already techniques (hurdles, all jumps, shot put ,javelin). But standing "just" 1.85 (6'1") and without much natural speed he more or less is what he is: a finished product. In comparison to Nixon (who is just one year younger), Mayer is like a senior entering the NBA. It is like who would you pick in the draft Emeka Okafor or Dwight Howard? (not that Nixon appears tp be as dumb as Howard). In terms of natural talent Nixon is the full package: he is fast: 6.86s 60m can jump: 2.17m high has endurance: 4.22min 1500m. and surprising strenghth. He further moves his body with a good control. His 6'3.5" frame looks skinny right now, but if he stays healthy and focused, finds a good coach, improves technique and puts on some muscle - watch out. He in principle should be able to run 10.60, jump 8m throw 16m and so on .... the tools are there I expect him to become Eatons main competitor for Rio 2016.
eiluke wrote:...- but so is young french men Kevin Mayer (at comparable age even better) The difference between both guys is that is Kevin Mayer (in company with his great fighting spirit) at age 21 has great already techniques (hurdles, all jumps, shot put ,javelin). But standing "just" 1.85 (6'1") and without much natural speed he more or less is what he is: a finished product.
While I agree with your Nixon analysis I think you underrated Mayer. He also is undeveloped and will make dramatic improvements. Of course it is altogether possible and likely that someone else will appear at Rio with 8700+ !
DentyCracker wrote:I think this guy can be really good if he sticks with the Deca. What say you?
You think the guy that has one of the top 5 age 20 decathlon scores of all time might be really good one day? That's crazy talk!
The broader question is whether decathlists that excel in young age are (very) likely to become superstars as they matured. This is the top list if athletes that are 20 & 21. Note that a decathlete is 20 if he didn’t celebrate his 21 birthday during the year in which he set the results. 21 and under 1 8415 Kevin MAYER.....92 FRA 2 8312 Gunnar NIXON....93 USA 3 8289 Michael KOHNLE..70 GER 4 8257 Yordani GARCÍA.88 CUB 5 8188 Aki HEIKKINEN....80 FIN 6 8179 Arkadiy VASILYEV.87 RUS 7 8156 Leonel SUÁREZ....87 CUB 8 8126 Haifeng QI..........83 CHN 9 8122 Ashton EATON.....88 USA
In top two places Mayer and Nixon are new. Behind them places 3-6 are held by athletes that are not a medal threat. Suarez is in seven, and Eaton is the only one of the top stars that is in top ten. A year later it is much of the same story when the top 5 are: Besemann, Krauchanka, Suarez, Garcia and Mayer. None of the top 10 at the age of 21 is in the top ten as an adult. Both age groups show that there is no real relation between success as a young decathletes and as a matured one. Of the exclusive 8,800 club only Eaton was (relatively) good at a young age. The rest were several hundred points behind.
Overall the above suggests that we shouldn’t look at only Mayer and Nixon for the next superstars and that Nixon's chances to become one are not higher than those of Beach and company.
Having said all of this I am very impressed by Nixon’s mental strength to perform at his best in major competitions. In the thirty seven events that he competed this season (three decathlons and one Heptathlon) he didn’t have a single big disaster. This may help him to become a very tough competitor to beat.
Gunnar is young, but let's not forget he also started training for the decathlon at a young age and competed in his first one in 2008. Ashton, on the other hand, had to learn the following events when he arrived at college: shot put, high jump, hurdles, discus, javelin & 1500. He scored 8122 in his 2nd season doing the event (2008). In terms of training age, Ashton has only been training for the decathlon one year longer than Gunnar. It's very difficult to compare decathletes at a young age because their training and coaching is so incredibly different. I was very impressed with Gunnar's toughness at the US champs this year and I think he has the potential to challenge the world's best in his career. But I also strongly believe if he is going to realize that potential, he needs to team up with a great coach. The more he trains on his own, the more likely he is to develop bad habits that will be harder and harder to overcome. Rick Sloan comes to mind. Gunnar reminds me a lot of Dan at that age, both physically and emotionally.
Mac Wilkins will assist in the throws! Is it Morris Mac Wilkins the guy who threw the discus above 70 m shot put above 21 m and threw the javelin above 78 m ??? Wow, if this guy can teach what he could do himself he could be a perfect "threwing coach for a decathlete.
As for Kevin Mayer, I do expect him to improve as well, it is just that his virtual ceiling is lower. It could however very well happen that he'll remain better than Nixon. But while I'm almost sure that he'll never surpass the 8850 mark, Nixon does have a chance to do so (if everything turns out really good)
As for Kevin Mayers potential, while long jump is one of the best markers for the overall talent, let's not forget how important pure speed is for the most events (including long jump, high hurdles, 400m, ...) Mayer has PBs of 7.10s 60m/ 11.04s 100m Nixon has PBs of 6.86s 60m/ 10.80s 100m.
100m PBs regular (wind aided) of the above 8800 decathletes leadingf the all time list: Eaton (9039) 10.21/10.19 Sebrle (9026) 10.64 Dvorak (8994) 10.54 O'Brien (8891) 10.32/10.23 Thompson (8847) 10.26 Hingsen (8832) 10.91/10.70 Clay (8832) 10.35 Nool (8815) 10.43/10.34
They were mostly really fast guys (and all had a PB in the LJ of above 8m) Just Hingsen had been relatively slow. But he was a 2.00m/102kg guy with endurance, who could jump and throw. Mayer is good and will get better, but lack speed and height are limitations, which are hard to overcome.
eiluke wrote:As for Kevin Mayer, I do expect him to improve as well, it is just that his virtual ceiling is lower. It could however very well happen that he'll remain better than Nixon. But while I'm almost sure that he'll never surpass the 8850 mark, Nixon does have a chance to do so (if everything turns out really good)
You may well be right, but I dont see the 6'1" size of Mayer to be a net negative, could be a positive. Be aware that Mayer at 21 years of age and has a deca PR of 8446 and a per event PR total of 8741.
user4, there we do have the problem with underestmating the effect of pure speed. You projected Mayer to improve to 100m: 10.8 and 110Hurdles: (near) 13,5
When looking at the best times of the top hurdlers in the world (aside from Terrence Trammel 10.04 / 12.95) they do not fit as a comparison. Once these guys are in their prime, they simply do not compete in the 100m dash anymore. Often their PB is from age 18 or 19. The only athletes who ran/run 100m and 110hurdles on a regulary basis in their prime are decathletes. The decathletes (alltime) with the best relations are: Gonzallo C. Barroilhet (Chile) 10.99 / 13.78 Wolfgang Muders (GER) 11.12+ (10.9h) / 14,03(+?) (13.9h) Frank Busemann (GER) 10.59 / 13.45 Nobody in the world who just runs 10.8 flat is able to run the hurdles in 13.5 - just impossible. If Mayer would be 6'3", 10.8 and 13.6 theoretically would be possible. But while for the superfast guys too much size could be of disadvantage, since the distance between the hurdles is almost too short for their full potential, it in the "Mayer-range" is a big advantage. Barroilhet and Muders are 6'4", Busemann 6'3".
I do however really enjoy Mayers fighting spirit and expect further improvement. My point is just that he has some physical limitations