Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m


Forum devoted to track & field items of an historical nature.

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby deanouk » Mon Sep 17, 2012 1:49 pm

telf wrote: -
Jim's sprint times were achieved in a very different world than today.

Worth remembering that Jim ran the 21.6 split in March 1965 a month before his 18 birthday.


I just don't think anyone can base a proposed 45 sec 400 ability in one year off a 220yd relay split from a different year!
For a start, was this race televised? Who took the split? Where did they start timing from in the change over zone?
It was obviously hand-timed and they can be out by a couple of tenths. You can't base much on a hand timed relay split with a rolling start. From the blocks this might have been worth anything from 22.1 to 22.6 if the timing were accurate and they timed from the correct point.

Secondly, this sort of performance is not unique. At 17 Ovett was running 22.8 & 48.0 from the blocks. By 18 he had run 47.5 from blocks and at 19 ran 21.7 for 200m. More than comparable to Ryun's relay splits at the same age.

Ovett's stats also show that the presumption Ryun's basic speed improved with age and greater endurance, is not a given. Despite big improvements in 800 - Mile times for Ovett from his late teens to early 20's, his pbs for 200 & 400 remained those he set at 19 and 18 respectively.
There is no evidence that Ryun was any different.

telf wrote:-
The 46.9 440 relay was in April 1966 (pre 19th birthday) and on the same afternoon he'd just run a world leading 3:55.8 mile on a rain soaked track at Memorial stadium.


This is a good example of where so many Ryun anecdotes seem to embellish what happened.
Which source states that the track was rain-soaked? In the account I have there is no mention of rain or bad conditions! Both sources I have (T&FN and the Encyclopedia of Track & Field Athletics, 1981) also state his relay was 47.0, not 46.9!? Which source is accurate, which stat do we believe? Ok, it's only 0.1, but it just seems there are so many contradictory stats involving many of Ryun's races.

telf wrote:-
Whatever you say about Jim Ryun's legacy as a miler, I can't think of any of the several milers who have shown equal or better basic speed especially given we are going back nearly half a century for Jim.


I'd say Ovett showed comparable speed to Ryun over 200 and 400 as a 19 year old, and Coe had better basic speed than Ryun when he was Olympic 1500 champion and Mile world record holder.
He ran a 45.6 relay leg from a stumbling/standing start and easing down at the line, in early 81, just 90 minutes after front running a 1:44.0 800m. This can be found for all to see on Youtube:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AhZGonCBaOM

And this was over 30 years ago.

Ryun was way ahead of his time, and had better basic speed than probably all current Milers, but when people start claiming he could have run 45 secs for 400m and run 800m as fast as the current all time top 10, citing 21.6 & 46.9 relay splits as proof, the argument doesn't carry much weight.
deanouk
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:15 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby telf » Tue Sep 18, 2012 3:00 am

I just don't think anyone can base a proposed 45 sec 400 ability in one year off a 220yd relay split from a different year!


100% Agree

At 17 Ovett was running 22.8 & 48.0 from the blocks. By 18 he had run 47.5 from blocks and at 19 ran 21.7 for 200m.


Ovett & Coe are the only two other milers who could be considered as having comparable speed to Jim.

Coe was, based on 400m timings, faster than Ovett but I would have backed Ovett to beat Coe over any distance up to 200m when Steve was in prime condition.

Steve was unbeatable on a 200m kick from off a slow/medium pace but, as Cram and others discovered, he was vulnerable to a 300m or greater kick.

The Ovett of ’77 & ’78 was special and many injuries hampered his subsequent career in the same way as mono reduced Ryun from ’68 onwards.

This is a good example of where so many Ryun anecdotes seem to embellish what happened...it's only 0.1, but it just seems there are so many contradictory stats involving many of Ryun's races.


I tend to use newspaper reports and books from the time as a principal source. I can send the track stuff for Memorial if your are really interested?

Jim’s early performances are no more contradictory than most other athletes. I recall that the 21.7 by Ovett in ’75 was not widely known or reported until a long time post the end of his career. Some sites (powerof10) still list 48.4 as Ovett’s best recorded 400m time.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt Steve did run the fast times but it’s unfair and very inconsistent to label Jim’s early performances as contradictory whilst blindly accepting all other performances.

Sometimes you get the impression on these boards that some posters think that hand timing in the '60s and earlier at major US collegiate meets were done by officials eye-balling a wrist watch whereas all hand times from small meets from the '70s onwards were done by Kronos God of Time.
Ryun was way ahead of his time, and had better basic speed than probably all current Milers, but when people start claiming he could have run 45 secs for 400m and run 800m as fast as the current all time top 10, citing 21.6 & 46.9 relay splits as proof, the argument doesn't carry much weight.


Yes I agree 100% with this point and I do understand the frustration some (mostly) non-Americans feel at the perceived deification of Jim Ryun but sometimes we need to stand back and objectively marvel at what Jim achieved in that golden period in ’67.

My personal favourite is not his world records but the final lap kick against the West Germans.

Both Tummler and Norpoth were fine athletes and invariably deadly in a finish but what Jim did to them with his 36.4 final 300m is without equal before or since.

by Vault-emort » Mon Sep 17, 2012 12:46 pm
I love these threads about Jim Ryun......oh wait..


Thanks for the insightful (or is it inciteful) contribution :D
telf
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:50 am

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby deanouk » Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:24 am

telf wrote:-
Ovett & Coe are the only two other milers who could be considered as having comparable speed to Jim.


Agreed. Certainly if we're talking 200 to 400m.

telf wrote:-
Coe was, based on 400m timings, faster than Ovett but I would have backed Ovett to beat Coe over any distance up to 200m when Steve was in prime condition.

Steve was unbeatable on a 200m kick from off a slow/medium pace


Have to disagree on that one. Coe ran 21.6 in training at the end of a series of 10. His acceleration off a slow pace was as good as Ovett's and off a fast pace was better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5zTzMciyxw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Edz3KXJhu3M

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MOVrht9WIvE

In my opinion anyway. And of course Coe outkicked Ovett in Moscow 1500.

telf wrote:-
The Ovett of ’77 & ’78 was special and many injuries hampered his subsequent career in the same way as mono reduced Ryun from ’68 onwards.


Yes, Ovett was special in those years, but he was made to look even more special because of the standard of opposition and the fact that the rest of the field invariably played into his hands with slow pace and then a speed up over the last 200m. Moreover, in my mind Ovett was as good if not better in 79 and 80.
As for all these injury problems, when?
He had no major injury problems until after the 81 season had finished. There is no medical/physical reason for him not to have improved (and I think he did, marginally) after 78 until the end of 81. Given, after 81 he was never quite the same again, and after 84 he was certainly finished as one of the world's top 4.

telf wrote:-
I tend to use newspaper reports and books from the time as a principal source. I can send the track stuff for Memorial if your are really interested?


Yes, I would actually! Thanks.

telf wrote:-
Jim’s early performances are no more contradictory than most other athletes. I recall that the 21.7 by Ovett in ’75 was not widely known or reported until a long time post the end of his career. Some sites (powerof10) still list 48.4 as Ovett’s best recorded 400m time.


But Ovett's 21.7 was from the blocks, Ryun's was in a relay!

I think you have mistaken what I mean by contradictory. I don't doubt he ran a relay leg in 21.6/46.9. What is contradictory are the splits he's often credited with. I have recently been having the same discussion on LetsRun, so it is probably easier if I put the same points on here later.
deanouk
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:15 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby deanouk » Tue Sep 18, 2012 11:48 am

telf wrote: -
Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt Steve did run the fast times but it’s unfair and very inconsistent to label Jim’s early performances as contradictory whilst blindly accepting all other performances.

Sometimes you get the impression on these boards that some posters think that hand timing in the '60s and earlier at major US collegiate meets were done by officials eye-balling a wrist watch whereas all hand times from small meets from the '70s onwards were done by Kronos God of Time.


OK, here's 2 examples:
1) Mile WR 3:51.1. In some reference books, including the "IAAF Progression of World Records (2007)", his last 440 is given as 52.5! In the T&FN book, "The Milers", it is given as 53.7. On the Youtube video he clearly goes through the finish line in 2:57.3, giving him a 53.8.

2) 1500m WR 3:33.1. The IAAF book has his last 300m in 39.6. In fact all the splits they have are in metric, which seems unusual as the track was an imperial 440! The T&FN book gives a last 320yds of 38.1, which works out at 39.3 for 330yds, or 39.1 for 300m. So there is a 0.5 discrepancy there. They state he went through 3/4 in 2:55.0, which is c. 2:54.1 for 1200m, giving a last 300m of 39.0. So it would seem the T&FN book might be correct!?
The IAAF book gives his last 400m as 53.3, whereas the IAAF book says the last 440 was 53.9, which is only 53.6 for 400m. So there is a 0.3 difference there.
T&FN state that his 210yds from 1200m to 1400m was 24.6, which works out at 25.8 for 220yds or 25.6 for 200m. The IAAF book says that he covered these two 100m in 13.0 & 13.1, = 26.1. Again, 0.5 difference.
Finally, they differ by over 1 second on his last 1200m time. The IAAF have it as 2:46.6, while the T&FN book say he covered the last 3/4 in 2:48.7, which works out at 2:47.8 for 1200m
That's just 1 race with 4 quite marked discrepancies.

telf wrote: - My personal favourite is not his world records but the final lap kick against the West Germans.

Both Tummler and Norpoth were fine athletes and invariably deadly in a finish but what Jim did to them with his 36.4 final 300m is without equal before or since.
deanouk
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:15 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby deanouk » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:09 pm

Now this is the one I have the most doubt about. The "History of the US Olympic trials" state his last 300m was 36.1! You and the T&FN book I have say it was 36.4. Yet a friend of mine who has seen the video footage in Kansas University's library archive (and he is a massive Ryun fan) wrote:- " Yes, I saw the race back in September 2011 when I was in Lawrence, Kansas for a XC meet. The day before the meet I and a few others went through Kansas University with a phys ed teacher and he took us to an archive section. There were several tapes with footage of past baseball, football(American), games and some track tapes with the majority of the footage being Ryun's races since he is probably KU's greatest ever athlete. On one of the tapes was the Dusseldorf race, and I to was skeptical about the 36.4 300m finish. After timing it I came out with a 37.1 and looking back on it now I think that is probably a bit to fast as well."

I've also seen the last lap quoted as 50.8, 50.6 and even "under 50"

So we have 3 different claims, that differ by 1.0 sec and 2 of those would have been hand times, which are notoriously vague. Without the race actually being available for the wider public to view, any wildly ott claims remain purely myth.
37.1 and 50.8 seem on the generous side, sub 50 and 36.1 are simply impossible and have evolved through word of mouth. In 5 years time someone will likely claim he ran the last 300 in 35 something.

There are so many reported stats from over the years that are wrong and can be proven so by looking at the original recording of the race. As a classic example, Aouita's last 100m in his Nice race was reported as 11.7 at the time. This actually appeared in the pages of AW. I knew straight away that this was impossible in a 3:29. But this was 1985 and the race was seen all around the world within the next few weeks, and is for all to see on YouTube. People, including statisticians (clearly not very good ones) had mistakenly thought the line entering the straight was the 100m line. It was, in fact, the 90m line, and his 100m split was only later rectified as 13.1.
If this could happen in 1985, then it doesn't give ovewhelming confidence in a hand time split taken in 67, which has no video in the general public's domain.
Let's think about it. Kipchirchir ran a 36.7 last 300m in a 3:52 1500m race. He was a 3:30 performer. Do we really think Ryun was capable of a 36.1 in a pace 14 seconds faster? Anyone with a sense of realism would dismiss this out of hand. I have trouble believing even 37.1, but this is at least within the realms of possibility.
deanouk
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:15 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby deanouk » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:10 pm

And it's not just me "Ryun bashing", as some of you will think. I don't for one minute believe that Aouita ran a 36.1 last 300m in a 3:34 1500 in Grossetto, Italy in 1984, either!

The idea of anyone running 36.1 at the end of a 3:34 or 3:38 1500m is plainly impossible.
When you think that Ovett ran a 12.0 100m stretch in his 3:34 race, but the last 300m was 39.5 secs, and Coe ran a 12.1 last 100m in Moscow (38.6 last 300m), which is the fastest last 100m in any Championship 1500m, how can anyone believe that 2 men put together that sort of speed for 3 times longer? 300m in 36.1 is 3 lots of 12 secs flat.

The fact that no video exists (or does it?) for either Aouita's or Ryun's 36.1, just adds to the mystery. Athletic publications have timed from the wrong line and given inaccurate splits before now (Aouita's 11.7 a case in point), and it was only because there was video evidence of the race that some saw sense and realised it was taken from 90m and not 100m. If they could be 1.4 secs out in 1985, then there is no reason why they couldn't have been as much as that out in 1967. People quote that Ryun RAN 36.4 or 36.1 in that race without ever having seen the race. Don't always believe what you read in books, however reliable you think they are.
deanouk
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:15 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby telf » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:33 pm

Have to disagree on that one. Coe ran 21.6 in training at the end of a series of 10. His acceleration off a slow pace was as good as Ovett's and off a fast pace was better.
In my opinion anyway. And of course Coe outkicked Ovett in Moscow 1500.


Don't think there was much between them. For me, the visual impression of Ovett's 11.8 100m round the turn in in Dusseldorf in '77 was unforgettable.

The two H2H 800m in Moscow in '80 and Prague '78 were unsatisfactory races but Ovett won them both.

The Moscow 1500m was, for me, a 700m sprint finish courtesy of Jurgen Straub rather than a 200m kick to suit Ovett.

Yes, Ovett was special in those years, but he was made to look even more special because of the standard of opposition and the fact that the rest of the field invariably played into his hands with slow pace and then a speed up over the last 200m. Moreover, in my mind Ovett was as good if not better in 79 and 80.
As for all these injury problems, when?


I recall lots of niggles and some respiratory problems from early '79 until the bad injury in '81. Maybe my memory is failing.

Perhaps Steve was as good in '79 and '80 but I think the Dusseldorf Ovett of '77 and the Rono vanquishing Ovett of '78 could have run much faster than 3:32 in a paced 1500m race.

From my vantage point, the many post '78 victories over the admirable Thom Wessinghage (sometimes by only a few metres) are not in the same league as the pre '79 version of Ovett.

What is contradictory are the splits he's often credited with. I have recently been having the same discussion on LetsRun, so it is probably easier if I put the same points on here later.]


I understand.

Legendary status can lead to hyperbole and there are not many YouTube videos to support Jim.

Jim's dominance over his rivals in '67 was perhaps greater than that enjoyed by any other miler before or since.

In 1967 when Jim ran 3:33.1 and 3:51.1, only seven men broke 3:40 for 1500m and only 2 ran under 3:56 for the mile.

I sympathise, appreciate and am fully aware of the time inconsistencies but they don't diminish my rating of Jim's greatness.

Markings for 440/400 were not great when generating splits in mile races in US in the '60s and the problem was compounded by the 1500m being run rarely.

If I had a $ or a £ for ever incorrectly reported last lap/ final 200m in T&FN and AW over the last forty years I would be a rich man.

Whether 36.1, 36.4 or 37.1 - Jim beat two renowned world class kickers who were in good form by over 30 yds in a sprint finish.

Coe's 21.6 in a training rep set and Ovett's hand time minor meet 21.7 from blocks (which I don't think was reported until over a decade after) are accepted by you as 100% legitimate whilst most major races Ryun ran are questioned based on relatively minor time inconsistencies in final laps.

That's all folks for me on this thread. I am getting creeped out :D
telf
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:50 am

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby lonewolf » Tue Sep 18, 2012 4:57 pm

I don't remember or have access to all of Jim Ryuns stats...I just remember he was a pretty good country runner over a wide range.
lonewolf
 
Posts: 8813
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:32 am
Location: Indian Territory

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby jmd » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:43 am

Please, be kind with my English, I’m French and my studies are far from now…

Elliott, Ryun, Coe, Ovett…
With those wonderful milers, we are really in the area of myth and legend !

1958 : the 3’40” had just been reached on 1500 m
and the world record was at 3’38”1 by Jungwirth…

Then came Elliott, just 20 years old, and his 3’36”, with a 54” last 400 and
the overall impression that he could not be beaten !

Delany, the 1956 Olympic champion, said something like :
“There’s one way to beat Elliott, it’s by attaching his legs !”

1960 : the same guy came back with 3’35”6, for the Olympic gold
and such an impressive run, reported by everyone and not still forgotten.

Sure, it was another time, with not so much money, advertising or carrier quest !
Nevertheless….

1966 : a wonder kid of 19 years old run 1’44”9 on 880 yards, equalling another myth,
Peter Snell !

1967 : the same kid establishes two new records, 1500 m and the mile !
And a month later, Jim Ryun makes a demonstration of final lap speed against
two German elite runners.
45 years later, we are still admirative about it !
The times are what they are, one, two, three or four 1/10 slower or faster,
I humbly think they still impress everyone even though there was no videos.

1977 to 1984 : a golden generation of British milers equals those legends, beating
a lot of world records and giving us so much interest to their confrontations !
I remember having almost (!!!) run as rapidly than Seb and Steve,
the distance between my office and my house, not to miss the 1500 m final
TV retransmission, in 1980 !

Now, what would have they all done if not ill, not retired, with today conditions, mondo,
dietetics, money, etc…?
No one knows, sure, but still remains the… myths that made us dream,
among some others before, after and, I hope, to come !
jmd
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:34 am
Location: France

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby telf » Wed Sep 19, 2012 2:32 am

by jmd » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:43 am
… myths that made us dream,
among some others before, after and, I hope, to come !


A great first post JMD and your English is clear and very easy to understand.

You perfectly encapsulate why I started contributing to this forum.
telf
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:50 am

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby jmd » Wed Sep 19, 2012 9:01 am

Thank you very much, Telf !
jmd
 
Posts: 46
Joined: Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:34 am
Location: France

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby deanouk » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:16 am

Don't think there was much between them. For me, the visual impression of Ovett's 11.8 100m round the turn in in Dusseldorf in '77 was unforgettable.


Yes, it was an awesome display, but the previous 200 was 29.4, which is v slow in a top 1500 race on the last lap. That was the type of race which Ovett was made for. I don't think he was any less of an athlete in 79 & 80 as he'd been in 77/78, but rather the rest of the world's milers recognised that they had to make it faster in the closing stages before the last 200.
Pulling away from Wessinghage in a 3:34.5 is v different from expecting the same margin of victory in a 3:31.3. Having said that I believe Ovett was capable of sub 3:30 from 78 - 81.

I think I posted earlier that that 11.8 was hand timed by Wilson his coach. When looking at the video it's more like 12.0. One is able to adjust these hand timed splits for races where there is video footage & with Ryun this footage is rarely available.

Jim's dominance over his rivals in '67 was perhaps greater than that enjoyed by any other miler before or since.

quote]

I never doubted or questioned this. He was head and shoulders above his peers.

Markings for 440/400 were not great when generating splits in mile races in US in the '60s and the problem was compounded by the 1500m being run rarely.

If I had a $ or a £ for ever incorrectly reported last lap/ final 200m in T&FN and AW over the last forty years I would be a rich man.


I agree. I think that is where a lot of the inconsistency arises from.

Coe's 21.6 in a training rep set and Ovett's hand time minor meet 21.7 from blocks (which I don't think was reported until over a decade after) are accepted by you as 100% legitimate whilst most major races Ryun ran are questioned based on relatively minor time inconsistencies in final laps.


That's a fair point. I think 21.7 seems a bit fast for someone with a 400 pb of 47.4 at the time.
Coe split 22.0 in his 45.6 relay leg from a practical standing start so that is good evidence to back up claims of what he was doing in training.

I have never questioned Ryun's final times in "major races", only some of the splits in some of the races for which there is no or limited video documentation.

Neither do I doubt Ryun was capable of a 21.6 & 46.9 relay legs. What I do question is when someone can use these relay splits to claim he was a 45 sec quarter miler. You don't run more than a second faster in an open 400 based on a best relay split.
Coe ran a 45.5 relay split in 79 and a 45.6 (from a stumbling start/takeover) in 81, for which there is video evidence, & anyone can go onto Youtube to check the validity of the times.
That does not mean he was a 44 sec 400m runner. The relay splits tell us he was capable of somewhere between 45.5 - 46.0 in an open 400 in 81.
deanouk
 
Posts: 448
Joined: Sat Nov 25, 2006 4:15 am
Location: London, UK

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby tandfman » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:23 am

There's a piece that's still in the Day''s Best Reading section of the front page--you may have to scroll down. Two veteran journalists are engaged in a serious discussion of who was the greatest miler in history. The name Herb Elliott is not mentioned!
tandfman
 
Posts: 15041
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:31 am

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby telf » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:38 pm

There's a piece that's still in the Day''s Best Reading section of the front page--you may have to scroll down. Two veteran journalists are engaged in a serious discussion of who was the greatest miler in history. The name Herb Elliott is not mentioned!


The unintentional metaphysical article made me smile as I started asking myself the question, can something exist without being perceived? :?

Perhaps Herb Elliott and Peter Snell are figments of my imagination :shock:

Perhaps 20 years from now Coe and Ovett will be figments of my imagination :shock:

On a slightly more serious note, Neil Wilson has been the athletics correspondent for the tabloid newspaper The Daily Mail for the last 20 years.

Neil seems to be a very nice man and he has a very good recollection of the various sports he has covered since he started writing but I am sure (or is it I hope) that he would be the first to admit that he is certainly not an athletics historian.

I am not aware of Neil Armdur and it find it pretty odd that he could mention Bannister and Landy and then move straight to Ryun but hey-ho.
telf
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2012 7:50 am

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby kuha » Fri Sep 21, 2012 4:03 pm

I too read that piece (quickly, I'll admit) and I wasn't overly impressed. It seemed too biased to (relatively) recent history, and as soon as I see mention of how MANY sub-4 miles someone has run, my eyes start to roll.
kuha
 
Posts: 9014
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:32 am
Location: 3rd row, on the finish line

Re: Herb Elliot, 1960 OG 1500m

Postby KDFINE » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:37 pm

I read the article and said to myself, "what, no Elliot?" and quickly dismissed what they had to say. By the way, there is an ad running on T.V. for something or another (maybe Verizon) that has a still photo of Elliot from the 1960 games in it for a fraction of a second.
KDFINE
 
Posts: 973
Joined: Sat Oct 08, 2005 4:32 am

Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests