I am going to start the argument, going by event...BTW, I do not include athletes who won individual gold in a different event, so no Seb Coe in the 800, I did include relay gold medalists who won no individual golds.
100m - Ralph Metcalfe, USA
200m - Frank Fredericks, NAM
400m - Butch Reynolds, USA
800m - Wilson Kipketer, DEN
1500m - Hicham El Guerrouj, MAR or Steve Cram, GBR
5000m - Ron Clarke, AUS
10000m - Henry Rono, KEN
110H - Greg Foster, USA
400H - Harald Schmid, FRG
3000st - Moses Kiptanui, KEN
Marathon - Bill Rodgers, USA
LJ - Mike Powell, USA
TJ - Jaoa de Olivera, BRA
HJ - Dwight Stones, USA
PV - Bob Gutowski, USA
SP - John Godina, USA
DT - Wolfgang Schmidt, GDR
JT - Janusz Sidlo, POL
HT - Aleksey Spiridonov, URS
Dec - Tomasz Dvorak, CZE
100m - Marlies Gohr, GDR
200m - Merlene Ottey, JAM
400m - Jarmila Kratochvilova, TCH
800m - Ana Quirot, CUB
1500m - Mary Slaney, USA
3000/5000m - Sonia O'Sullivan, IRL
10000m - INgrid Kristiansen, NOR
100H - Pam Ryan, AUS
400H - Marina Stepanova, URS
Marathon - Grete Waitz, NOR
LJ - Fiona May, ITA
HJ - Tamara Bykova, URS
SP - Helena Fibingerova, TCH
DT - Tsvetanka Khristova, BUL
JT - Daniela Jaworska, POL
Hept/Pent - Romana Neubert, GDR
Both won silver medals at the Olympics in their prime & did not win a medal in their other Olympics. Cram was closer with a 4th in '88, although Ryun never got the chance to run in the '72 final.
Both ranked #1 in the world in the 2 years prior to the Olympics, but while Ryun never ranked #1 again, Cram did 4 more times, '85-'88.
Both set world records in the mile that lasted for 8 years. Ryun set two world records at 1500, Cram set one.
Cram won a world championship, Ryun never had the opportunity.
Cram lived in an age of dawning professionalism in track which allowed him to compete at the highest level for another 4 years. This opening of track also increased the competition as other athletes were able to do the same.
Ryun had only two "great" runners as adversaries, Kip Keino and later, Marty Liquori. Cram faced Seb Coe and Said Aouita, although Aouita never concentrated solely on 1500.
Largely on the basis of his 6 #1's to Ryun's two, I would still stick with Steve Cram. Interestingly, it seems as though Cram's legacy has been much more quickly forgotten (at least here in the USA) than Ryun by his inability to win Olympic gold.
>I've thought about Cram vs. Ryun - very
>Cram lived in an age of dawning
>professionalism in track which allowed him to
>compete at the highest level for another 4 years.
>This opening of track also increased the
>competition as other athletes were able to do
At the great risk of starting another huge argument, I personally wouldn't say that lack of professional opportunities kept Ryun from competing at the highest level for another 4 years.
Ryun had only two "great" runners
>as adversaries, Kip Keino and later, Marty
>Liquori. Cram faced Seb Coe and Said Aouita,
>although Aouita never concentrated solely on
I don't think Aouita ever entered an Olympic 1500.
Gutowski over Warmerdam, Fredericks over Harold Davis? Absurd. Stones over Steers is a little closer. But Godina over Torrance or Fuchs, and Schmidt over Gordien are just about as modernistically (a word?) myopic.
>>I've thought about Cram vs. Ryun -
>Cram lived in an age of
>professionalism in track which allowed
>compete at the highest level for another
>This opening of track also increased
>competition as other athletes were able to
At the great risk of starting
>another huge argument, I personally wouldn't say
>that lack of professional opportunities kept Ryun
>from competing at the highest level for another 4
Ryun had only two "great"
>as adversaries, Kip Keino and later,
>Liquori. Cram faced Seb Coe and Said
>although Aouita never concentrated
I don't think Aouita ever
>entered an Olympic 1500.
He did enter the '88 race, but withdrew after the heats with a hamstring injury.
>Interestingly, it seems as though Cram's legacy
>y has been much more quickly forgotten (at least
>here in the USA) than Ryun by his inability to
>win Olympic gold.
Probably because Cram came close to reaching his ultimate potential in terms of his PR's. Many observers feel Ryun's training actually kept him from reaching his potential, never mind the lack of real competition when he was at his peak. The mono and everything else pretty much derailed him, though he did come back for a go at it in '72. In short, Cram came close to his potential at the 800, and pretty close in the mile. Ryun was probably physically capable of PR's back then that would match the PR's of most of the greats of the last decade or so. But it didn't happen. I'd go with Ryun over Cram in the 1500. Ryun blew the 1500/mile records out of the water by huge margins as well.
Trouble with Johnson is that he was past his peak in 1940...... Davis would have bin favoured, with Ewell as a close second
The list of non-winners is however long
Bernie Wefers, Arthur Duffey, Howard Drew, Frank Wykoff, Ralph Metcalfe, Eulace Peacock, Davis and Ewell, Art Bragg (!!), Dave Sime, Jom Golliday, Charlie Greene, Steve Williams, James Sanford, Calvin Smith, ....
Wefers, VS Rice, Ralph Metcalfe, Davis, Ewell, Sime, Ray Norton, John Carlos (!!),Williams, Clancy Edwards
John Baxter Taylor, Harry Hillman, Ben Eastman, Grover Klemmer, Hubie Kearns, McKenley (!!), Ulis Williams, Larry James, Wayne Collett, John Smith, Reynolds,
Robert Simpson, Steve Anderson, Jack Davis, Earl McCullough, Nehemiah, Foster,
he has been among the top handful of shotputters for a decade: #1 in the world 4 times, 4 world championships, olympic bronze and silver, NCAA record. There arent more than 2-3 other shotputters EVER that have been as dominant as him over a long period of time.
My thoughts on the events discussed:
M200: Fredricks has always been so close. Remember he ran 19.68, and Johnson may not have run 19.32 if Fredricks hadn't run faster than Johnson in the semis.
M400: Reynolds broke a long standing record and had a couple of dominant seasons.
M1500: Ryun because he improved the records so much.
MSteeple: Rono. I saw his record, and with better conditions he could have been under 8:00. He just never concentrated on the event.
5k/10k: switch Rono and Clarke. Clarke specialized at 10k, and his WR would still get him a Top 10 TFN ranking. Rono's 5k was more historic than his 10k.
MMarathon: Khannouchi still has a chance, but he's obviously more dominant at the world level than Rodgers ever was. I'd rank Salazar, DeCastella, Clayton, and Hill (not in that order) over Rodgers too.
MHH: Nehemiah was untouchable by anyone and broke through with the WR. Jackson had a losing record to Johnson.
MPV: WARMERDAM!!!!! How could it be anyone else!!!!! (And a pox on all of you others who missed this one.... ;^) ).
W800: Kratochvilova here too. Her mark is still unapproached and she won at will.
I've been away for a while. I see that there has been some disagreement with my choices, very civil disagreement for the most part, and even "hogwash" would pass for civil among the louts who inhabit the Cur rent Events board.
Nobody seems to disagree that Harbig belongs on the list. And the consensus on Warmerdam seems overwhelming.
Davis over Fredericks is disputed. I would simply say that Fredericks, apparently a prince of a fellow, ran (runs; it seems he's not retiring) very fast but often behind somone who ran faster. Davis ran fast and won races. Look at his record for 1940 through 1943 recapitulated in Track & Field Performances through the Years at the end of the 1937-44 volume, an almost unbroken record of firsts. If I were doing it from scratch I'd have Davis in the 100, Metcalfe in the 200; the latter was legitimately beaten in two Olympics 100s but lost a 200 only, apparently, because of a faulty stagger.
McKenley over Reynolds is disputed. (I wouldn't quarrel with Lon Myers.) Here is a case where comparison is reasonably possible because the ancient, McKenley, had about as long a career as the modern Reynolds. Reynolds has 67 all-time ranking points, McKenley 60. But before there were rankings, McKenley won the AAU meet in 1945 (fifth in 1943, second in 1944, second in 1946) and the NCAA in 1946. He was fastest in the world in 1946 and in the top 10 in 1944 and 1945. He beat Eastman's 14-year-old record for the 440y and was the first under 46 for 400m.
Torrance or Fuchs over Godina is disputed, Here, I suppose, it depends on your criterion. I watched John Lyman put 54-1 in the Big Meet in April 1934, the first official 54-foot put. In August Torrance put almost three feet farther, 57-1, for a record that stood for 14 years (some of them, to be sure, the years of the war and its aftermath). Talk about Beamonesque! He was almost as far ahead of his time as Rose and farther ahead than Matson or O'Brien. Fuchs doesn't have as many ranking points as Godina, but he set a world record four times and was dominant until O'Brien came along.
Someone mentioned Silvester in the discus throw. He was good but Gordien was great.
I'll concede Stones, but Steers not only set a world record that stood for 12 years but was a graduate of Palo Alto High School, enough to qualify him just by itself.
Without a doubt Brain Oldfield, one of the greatest if not the best shot putter of all time, he once beat OJ simpson in a race in the SuperStars cometition!!! The man was way ahead of his time and one of my favorite shot putters
Hey, Oldfield is a good choice. He was a hoot. He'd smoke during competition, and even played a crazed killer in a low budget flick back in the eighties. He was also fast as hell for a big man.
Jim Ryun was so dominant during his short run at the top, that I think he was one of the best not to win the Gold, despite that goofy squires always looking for excuses to say Kip Keino was the greatest runner ever.
<I say Lon Myers, but it's kind of hard to defend.>
His only chance would have been at the 1896 (Athens) Games, when he was really past his prime. We should look at people who got a chance to compete and could not win. Otherwise you have really high level people such as Gunder Hagg, Hal Davis, Walter George, Cornelius Warmerdam, to name a few. (Add Rudolf Harbig perhaps, though a "green" Harbig was there at the 1936 Oly, wasn't he?)
><M400: Reynolds broke a long standing record and
>had a couple of dominant seasons.>
>to disagree. Herb McKenley is my choice - he got
>a gold in 1952, but in the 4 x 400 relay.
This may be a generational issue. I'm too young to remember McKenley, and he doesn't get the play that other athletes of the era get in the history books.
On the other hand, Reynolds was really dominant in an era when there were many more competitors than in the early 1950s. I think on that basis, Reynolds has to get the nod. (Also didn't Reynolds get a gold on the relay in 1988?)
Davis over Fredericks is
>disputed. I would simply say that Fredericks,
>apparently a prince of a fellow, ran (runs; it
>seems he's not retiring) very fast but often
>behind somone who ran faster. Davis ran fast and
>won races. Look at his record for 1940 through
I'm afraid that war year competitions in the US have to be heavily discounted for obvious reasons. Unless an athlete was smashing WRs, a la Wammerdam or Hagg, it's hard to make comparisons to other eras solely on competitive records. Fredricks faced much stiffer competition.
McKenley over Reynolds is disputed.
>(I wouldn't quarrel with Lon Myers.) Here is a
>case where comparison is reasonably possible
>because the ancient, McKenley, had about as long
>a career as the modern Reynolds. Reynolds has
>67 all-time ranking points, McKenley 60.
But Reynolds career was truncated by what many would consider to be a botched drug penalty case (yes, we can move to another forum to discuss this issue further-not! ;^)).