Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?


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Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 10, 2003 2:27 pm

Since a fair number of people have been defending some of the 'worst' athlete picks for Oly Gold, so to settle it, or bring some other name athletes into the discussion, how about stating who you think are the luckiest athletes (or just athlete) to win Gold - in Track and Field, that is. (Of course, nothing is for sure in track, but it's fun to speculate on 'probables')

Peter Rono was very lucky - Cram was hurt, Bile was hurt, Elliot was hurt, Aouita was hurt, the Brits didn't send Coe, who then showed himself to be in sub 3:30 shape I believe. In fact, speaking of Kenyans, a lot of guys from 68 were lucky, like Kip Keino.

Hasley Crawford also comes to mind, with Steve Williams out. Anders Garderud was lucky in 76 - Baumgartle tripped.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 10, 2003 3:06 pm

Al Oerter?
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby stevehj197 » Fri Oct 10, 2003 5:46 pm

2 comments:
Oerter LUCKY ??!! Hardly.

Obvious "lucky" winner is Germany in 1960 mens 400 relay when Norton messed up the pass from Budd, going out too fast and running out of the zone... DQ for US, gold medal for Germany.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 10, 2003 6:37 pm

How many times do I have to say it???

AMOS BIWOTT
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 10, 2003 7:09 pm

Easy! The '92 100h gold medalist from Greece. The only thing that would be luckier than seing the leader ahead of you by 6 meters falling over the final hurdle would be me spelling her name correctly without looking it up. Pe tu li du.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby JRM » Fri Oct 10, 2003 7:10 pm

Carl Lewis, 1988 Olympics.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Fri Oct 10, 2003 8:48 pm

>Easy! The '92 100h gold medalist from Greece.
>The only thing that would be luckier than seing
>the leader ahead of you by 6 meters falling over
>the final hurdle would be me spelling her name
>correctly without looking it up. Pe tu li du.

OK, I guess I need to defend the Greeks again. It is 100m hurdles. 100 meters with HURDLES. That's part of the race, to jump over the hurdles. If you can not do it, you can't win. Not to take anything away from the greatness of Ms Devers, but she was supposed to clear all hurdles. So I don't think that particular day she was exactly the best. Winning the lotto is luck. Knocking down the hurdles is not. So, I wouldn't say that it was pure luck that gave Ms Patoulidou the gold medal. But again, I am Greek so I am probably not thinking very clear. It will be nice if we can see Ms Patoulidou and Ms Devers meet next year in Athens (off track; Voula is very much involved in the organizing of the Olympics next year). Cheers all.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby waynehobley » Fri Oct 10, 2003 8:50 pm

I understand your defending of "the greeks" but he was right. She was lucky that Gail hit the hurdle other wise she would have been the Champion and from the time the greek woman had she would have had the world record. But thats just my opinion.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Per Andersen » Fri Oct 10, 2003 9:18 pm

Wolfgang Nordwig was very lucky in 1972 when the Iaaf on the day before the qualification decided that Bob Seagren and the majority of the other vaulters could not use their poles and they had to use poles they had never seen before.

Also How about Dainis Kula in the 1980 Javelin when he opened with 3 fouls and should have been out of the competition. However, the russkies decided there was a mark and measured even if the rest of the world saw the jav land tail first.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 11, 2003 6:08 am

lefteris, For the record, I am not anti-greek. I would rank the emotion and joy of pulling the upset displayed by Patoulidou right up there with anyone. I would consider whoever won that race lucky. Luck to me is when something out of the ordinary happens in which the winner had no control. The lead was insurmountable without incident of some sort. I too think like you, the responsibility to clear all hurdles, stay on your feet, make baton exchanges, etc. are all part of the event. I make no excuses for those who don't complete the basics. I would never say Patoulidou didn't deserve to win, was not a true champion, or even that she wasn't the best on that day, but I would say luck was on her side.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 11, 2003 7:31 am

>How many times do I have to say it??? AMOS BIWOTT<<

You can say it as many times as you'd like. There's no way anyone is going to believe it. He was clearly the best steeplechaser in the world at the time of the Games.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby pickle47 » Sat Oct 11, 2003 8:42 am

You forgot a couple of words. At altitude.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 11, 2003 10:42 am

>lefteris, For the record, I am not anti-greek.
>I would rank the emotion and joy of pulling the
>upset displayed by Patoulidou right up there
>with anyone. I would consider whoever won that
>race lucky. Luck to me is when something out of
>the ordinary happens in which the winner had no
>control. The lead was insurmountable without
>incident of some sort. I too think like you,
>the responsibility to clear all hurdles, stay on
>your feet, make baton exchanges, etc. are all
>part of the event. I make no excuses for those
>who don't complete the basics. I would never
>say Patoulidou didn't deserve to win, was not a
>true champion, or even that she wasn't the best
>on that day, but I would say luck was on her
>side.

Nicely said, thanks. I did not mean to indicate that you were anti-Greek; my apologies. And, yes I guess there was some type of intervention from above. Zeus was looking down that day.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 11, 2003 1:08 pm

>How many times do I have to say it??? AMOS BIWOTT<<

"You can say it as many times as you'd like. There's no way anyone is going to believe it. He was clearly the best steeplechaser in the world at the time of the Games."

Oh my God!! I nearly choked from laughing so hard! You're killing me, man!

OK: here are the facts behind the guy you name as "clearly the best steeplechaser in the world at the time of the Games."

Biwott ran a total of 6 steeplechase races in 1968: 3 in Kenya in August and 3 in Mexico City in October. He didn't run in Europe, or--obviously--face ANYBODY at sea level, ANYWHERE. His best time of 8:44.8 (in a losing effort to Ben Kogo) was 74th on the world list that year. He won at Mexico City because of the altitude (repeat BECAUSE OF THE ALTITUDE) and a whole truck load of LUCK. In 1969, his best was 8:39.8 for 40th on the world list. The guy is not exactly a timeless legend.

Olympic winners are the best on that particular day, given ALL the surrounding conditions and circumstances. That may not have anything at all to do with being the best athlete.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 11, 2003 5:48 pm

I'd say several of the winners in 1984 should feel pretty lucky (not having the Eastern Bloc teams around might have helped JUST a bit).
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 5:40 pm

Biwott ran a total of 6
>steeplechase races in 1968: 3 in Kenya in August
>and 3 in Mexico City in October. He didn't run
>in Europe, or--obviously--face ANYBODY at sea
>level, ANYWHERE. His best time of 8:44.8 (in a
>losing effort to Ben Kogo) was 74th on the world
>list that year. He won at Mexico City because
>of the altitude (repeat BECAUSE OF THE ALTITUDE)
>and a whole truck load of LUCK. In 1969, his
>best was 8:39.8 for 40th on the world list. The
>guy is not exactly a timeless legend.
>

Olympic winners are the best on that
>t particular day, given ALL the surrounding
>conditions and circumstances. That may not have
>anything at all to do with being the best
>athlete.

This is all true about Biwott. Kip Keino was also lucky the Games were held at altitude. But you'll never convince Squires. He confuses today's dominance by E. Africans (as much a product of changes in the West as it is any 'talents' that athletes from that region may possess) with what happened in Mexico City. Biwott was patently awful. Keino was a great runner who was nowhere near as great as Ryun. Ron Clarke collapsed during one race and looked near death. Does anyone with two brain cells to rub together really think that the altitude in Mexico City wasn't a HUGE factor?

Some of the winners in 84 are about as lucky as the altitude guys in 68. That also goes for some of the winners in Moscow in 80. What a shame.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 5:50 pm

>>Biwott was patently awful.<<

You may be 5,000 years old, certainly old enough to have seen the 1968 Olympic Games, if you can make a statement like that, you obviously were not in Mexico City then and never saw Biwott run. This guy ran the steeplechase without getting his feet wet. Awful? Nonsense. He was amazing. I don't know why his career was so short, his Olympic victory represented something more than luck.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 7:46 pm

>>>Biwott was patently awful.<<

You may be
>5,000 years old, certainly old enough to have
>seen the 1968 Olympic Games, if you can make a
>statement like that, you obviously were not in
>Mexico City then and never saw Biwott run. This
>guy ran the steeplechase without getting his feet
>wet. Awful? Nonsense. He was amazing. I don't
>know why his career was so short, his Olympic
>victory represented something more than luck.

He was incredibly awkward. You must be suffering from Montezuma's revenge. Look at the rest of his career stats. I agree. He is one of the luckiest winners ever.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby gh » Tue Oct 14, 2003 8:35 pm

Anybody who trashes Biwott is obviously viewing his career from afar. I didn't see his skip the water jump antics in Mexico City (admittedly, a venue that was perfectly tailored for a Kenyan--unless you're jsquire who believes Keino could walk on water) but I can read the old stats and see that he was twice more world ranked, getting a bronze in the 1970 commonwealth games (almost beating Jipcho for silver) and finishing 6th in the Munich Olympics. To be a "lucky" Oly Gold person, you can't ever have ranked before or after.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 14, 2003 10:28 pm

To be a "lucky" Oly
>Gold person, you can't ever have ranked before or
>after.

Why?

Biwott wasn't the best guy in the field, if not for the altitude that hurt the other competitors. The altitude probably affected some Kenyans more than others as well.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 18, 2003 10:19 am

AH! The Biwott question!

GH is correct, of course. Biwott didn't completely disappear after '68 but his record is quite spotty.

In 1970 he was world ranked 7th, and got 3rd in the Commonwealth final (in a season best 8:30.8). He won only 2 races that season, both inconsequential events in February.

In 1971 he was apparently in hiding: not only was he not world ranked--he didn't even turn in a single performance that made the T&FN lists (which went out to 8:36).

In 1972 he was world ranked 7th; his best time was 8:23.8, in the OG heats. He was trounced in the final, getting 6th, about 10 seconds behind K. Keino. He didn't win a single race that year.

I don't have the heart to go thru my T&FN holdings for 1973, '74, etc., but you get the point. Without Mexico City's "helpful" altitude, Biwott would be an athletic footnote to a footnote.

What amazes me with this whole question is the attitude some folks have--that, in essence, the Olympics is SO great and glorious and important that EVERY gold medalist is deserving of eternal respect and celebration. The concept that the OG is in any way "just another meet," and that luck and circumstances can play a huge role in who wins and loses, seems to strike them as blasphemy.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 18, 2003 10:49 am

<unless you're jsquire who believes Keino could walk on water) >

GH. Naughty, naughty, to bring in personal comments, not relevant to this thread. As one of the "guardians of the Holy Grail" (arbitrers of this and other threads), one expected a higher standard from you.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 23, 2003 5:09 am

It's a tricky one this. Biwott is an obvious choice, but how about

1/The USA Womens' relay team in 1952 - despite setting a WR. They were well behind the Australian team at the last changeover, when the Aussies dropped the baton. Marjorie Jackson caught the baton on the rebound and set off way behind. She finished 0.7 behind the USA, but would have won by around 10 metres with a reasonable changeover
2/ Another WR setter - in the 10,000m in 1924 - Ville Ritola. He broke his own WR by 12.2 seconds, but would have been annihilated by Paavo Nurmi (who won the 1500/5000 on the same day later in those Games). The selectors felt that Nurmi couldn't handle the treble - so he went out and won the cross-country race (in 100o+ weather) and beat Ritola by 1 3/4 minutes
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Sat Oct 25, 2003 3:30 pm

Rink Babka, I remember my dad telling me on time that you came to his high school and did like a little demo for the throwers.. Ft. Stockton High School Tx,

And another thing do you guys(Silvester, Danek) hang out together or what just wondering
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:56 pm

I think even Ovett thought he was lucky to win the 800 gold in Moscow. Can't count him as "luckiest" since his credentials were so very good; still, Coe was clearly superior, but inexperienced and caught napping.
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:01 pm

Was Billy Mills lucky? Certainly a huge upset on a messy Tokyo track, against someone a minute faster on paper (Clarke).
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:16 pm

>Rink Babka, I remember my dad telling me on time
>that you came to his high school and did like a
>little demo for the throwers.. Ft. Stockton High
>School Tx,

And another thing do you
>guys(Silvester, Danek) hang out together or what
>just wondering>>

Brad--you been had. The post that purported to come from Babka, Silvester and Danek was saying that Al Oerter was the luckiest Oly gold guy. Because if he hadn't been around, they probably would have won instead. Just somebody's way of being funny; they didn't really write the note together.

Note that when somebody who is truly somebody (like Jim SPivey and Kenny Harrison in last couple of days) posts to the board, as often as not they leave a real return address you can check and see that it really is them. Otherwise, unless they pass a quiz (like somebody had Savante Stringfellow tell what he did to the official at the Mt. SAC Relays), figure it's not really them.

Unless it's Elvis, cuz we know he'll NEVER die!
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Re: Who is the luckiest athlete to win Oly Gold?

Postby Guest » Tue Oct 28, 2003 7:20 pm

Puica from Romania in '84 3000m...because Mary Slaney would have won handily if she had not fallen and injured her hip.
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