Best All Around in Combined Events


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Best All Around in Combined Events

Postby WillardF » Tue May 07, 2013 6:53 pm

Who were the most successful athletes overall in the various combined track and field events, i.e., the all around, decathlon, pentathlon, etc? Or did competitors tend to specialize in one combined event and skip the others?

What athletes today do you think would be most successful in the men's pentathlon and the all around if they were revived?
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Re: Best All Around in Combined Events

Postby Jackaloupe » Wed May 08, 2013 9:29 am

Well, I can sure speak from experience on this one, having competed in Nat'ls in all 3: 3rd in 1960 AAU Pent.; 4th in 1955 AAU All Around @ U. Md. while in HS; 9th 1959 AAU Decathlon in Palmyra NJ.

Bill Toomey handily won in 1960, thanks to his LJ specialty (U. Colorado) and 200m speed, and the willingness to make an honest effort at 1500m--not yet the norm in Decathlon, as Rafer, Campbell & C.K. Yang would settle for ~5 minuets (sic). That was a good event for him, despite mediocre Jav (2nd event) and Discus, where even I beat him--after we'd gone 22-point @ 200 in the 90+ degree heat of St. Louis. Toomey held off on Decathlon proper until he'd built up his throws (he had a bad hand he rehab'ed).

Tom Pagani of Fordham/Fresno State Coach ruled the All-around during the 50s, based on his highly ranked Hammer, which carries over to 56 lb. Weight. Tom was an excellent all-round athlete with credible sprint and hurdles times (esp. for a Thrower) and decent jumps. For a spell, Charley Stevenson (sp?) of NYC took over that esoteric East Coast event, usually held in Baltimore (incl. U. Md. at least once), thanks to the sponsorship of Bill Jimerson and the BOC.
Charley was more balanced, but by no means outstanding in any single event: more a Deca type who learned to throw Hammer & Weight than a Thrower who could run and jump like Pagani.
The younger Bill Urban, also of NYAC, a better Runner/Jumper than Stevenson, put up better numbers (even than Pagani?), then the event faded away.
FYI, It's all 10 events in a single day: 100 yds., Hammer, HJ, 880 Walk (Run ifya can!), SP, 120 HH, PV, 56 # WT, LJ and Mile (approx. order, from vivid memory of the actual events). Not really as tiring as it sounds, esp. when you "stride" the Walk and dog the Mile.

I'll leave it y'all to figure who all could retool in Hammer/WT, although I doubt any madeover Thrower could manage all those other events, esp. the techniques of HJ, PV, and Hurdles. It's not a matter of natural ability, but the learning curve for so many unfamiliar events. So, for me, it boils down to who'd have the combo of strength and balance (plus rhythm) to master the Hammer.

I know some Throwers will profess that it's not Strength, but as Ronald Raygun once said (see Below), that's easy for them to say.
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Re: Best All Around in Combined Events

Postby Jackaloupe » Wed May 08, 2013 9:30 am

Reagon famously add-libbed a line in a prepared speech he obviously hadn't read, to NSF on the importance of Science (Yeah, right!). When he got to the little quote from Einstein, "Science is nothing but common sense applied", he paused, looked up, and "went": "Well....that's easy for him to say."

Since I went over, and had to add this second post, I might as well state the obvious: Ashton Eaton would excell at Pentathlon, starting (literally, 1st event) with world class LJ, near that in 200m and upper echelon 1500m amongst multi-eventers. both running events Now that he's upped Jav. to respectible levels, the Discus would remain as the only event where a Rafer Johnson type (also strong in LF and 200). Rafer would still hold the edge, based on his far superior Jav. (~250, but old Jav), up to the concluding 1500 m, where it would be a battle of the time/distance estimates. [Are RangeFinders banned, or does USATF need a Reg. for that;~]
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Re: Best All Around in Combined Events

Postby user4 » Wed May 08, 2013 10:24 am

Jackaloupe is a national treasure.
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Re: Best All Around in Combined Events

Postby Jackaloupe » Wed May 08, 2013 10:38 am

Well, that's easy for you to say, "4", as we tend to agree on many a topic: Imagine Juantorena hitting the backstetch in Montreal (~1:15 for 600m) thinking, "Take that Capitalist Pig!". If anything, living in a country that'd long suppressed its Afro-Cuban population (segregated beaches and all that), he'd have extra respect for his 400m competitors.

Hope you don't give me the TFN Jinx, as last time you tossed me a little "piropo" (= compliment in Spanish), I'd botched a Stat or name ref.: Unable to match the Stat mavens hereabouts, I go from memory--which is hangin' in there a lot better than my recent Hammer marks, down to what I tossed in the '55 All-around, even if that was 16 lbs. I still look back incredulously that I managed 21' w/ the clunky 56# Wt.; that'd get me a hokey All-American Masters patch even for 50-55 Age(d) Group.

Capt. Mnemo
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Re: Best All Around in Combined Events

Postby user4 » Wed May 08, 2013 10:55 am

Jackaloupe wrote:Well, that's easy for you to say, "4", as we tend to agree on many a topic: Imagine Juantorena hitting the backstetch in Montreal (~1:15 for 600m) thinking, "Take that Capitalist Pig!". If anything, living in a country that'd long suppressed its Afro-Cuban population (segregated beaches and all that), he'd have extra respect for his 400m competitors.

Hope you don't give me the TFN Jinx, as last time you tossed me a little "piropo" (= compliment in Spanish), I'd botched a Stat or name ref.: Unable to match the Stat mavens hereabouts, I go from memory--which is hangin' in there a lot better than my recent Hammer marks, down to what I tossed in the '55 All-around, even if that was 16 lbs. I still look back incredulously that I managed 21' w/ the clunky 56# Wt.; that'd get me a hokey All-American Masters patch even for 50-55 Age(d) Group.

Capt. Mnemo


Good point on Juanto, generally I tend to think that political sentiments, no matter how intense, they never give an athlete an advantage. The mind must be supremely focused to be at ones best, and carrying such a weight can not help.

Nothing hokie at all about tossing a 56#er 21ft ... Also I think you have stored up enough great posts to make up 10fold for a few stat-weenie corrections.
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