I used to think the HJ was out there also, but now I think the event is suffering from some kind of slump. It seems to have stagnated. For all the press Sotomayer has, and being the first to bust 8 ft., I think that Zhu Jianhua probably had more talent. Remember him soaring over 7'10" with lousy form? There are a number of talented guys out there, but I think the record in this event is now soft.
The TJ record (Edwards) is my choice for the next best or toughest record.
The 800 is a tough one also. Part of the reason it's so tough is (I think) a lot of 1500 guys that could blaze in the 800 stick with the 1500 these days (money?) unlike the guys back in the day, who would run both, double.
After these, it's hard for me to rank the other events. Probably not hard for some other guys out there. I have too many questions swirling in my track addled brain.
I was going to mention Bubka's 6.15 meter 20'2" vault and the fact that he has the top 10 vaults of all time, but then it occurred to me that almost all of the men's WR are above and beyond. Perhaps we should ask which is the softest.
My vote goes to the 100m. Guys seem to break this one about every 4 years or so. All it takes is one of the world elite sprinters to get good race conditions and a perfect peak.
MJ's 200m will last at least 20 years. The 100m will go within 2 years. Ky's is possibily tainted (considering his & Quincy Jones' subsequent disappearance. They had the same coach, remember). Edwards record could also last 20 years. However, Bubka has to be the best of all time.
How about ranking the womens non-drug records? How many can we be sure were clean? 100 - 10000m...I don't think so.
Radcliffe's 2hr. 15mins was ground and gender-breaking.
I agree with Joel that so many of the men's records are way out there that it makes more sense to look at the few soft ones that are left. I agree with several others that the 100m is soft. But I'll surely incur some wrath in asserting that I think the softest of all is the 800m. This event purplexes me (though I do know about anaerobic/aerobic problems in this event), as these guys are just plain SLOW. The problem, I think, is that distance runners tackle this event, rather than sprinters. It's nice that Borzo runs 400s to increase his speed, but what we really need here is some fast guy who will bite the bullet and do a few years of intense endurance work. Like one of the scads of 45 second 400m men we seem to produce every year. Why just be another face in the crowd, hoping for a spot on a good relay team? Take a few years and do intense, really intense, endurance work, including high-altitude work (you know, like the distance guys) and then put that 45s 400 speed to good use and break 1:40. All it takes is 50/50 splits. Should be a walk in the park. Really, we should be seeing 1:38, and even 1:36 (48/48) is not beyond the pale. Nowadays you're world-class if you run 1:44. That's only 51/53 or 52/52! HS girls run faster than that (for 400)!
OK no hate mail or death threats from you 800m guys, please. This is (partly) tongue-in-cheek, but it's also meant to be a little provocative and inspire some new thinking about an event that is lagging behind.
Most of the guys that can run 45 are pure sprinters. To find a guy with the physiogical make up - meaning also having the muscle tissue, cardiovascular system and such to run a great 800, with that speed, is probably more difficult than most people realize. Most sprinters are loaded with fast twitch muscle fiber (I'm simplifying), and not enough slow twitch to 'take up the slack' so to speak.
The runner that will break 1:40 probably looks more like Coe, Kipketer or Borzakovskiy than Ed Moses.
The toughest record right now has to be the 200 by MJ. The next toughest may be the HJ, psychologically.
No, no NBA guys are the real HJ record holders. Look at the height of most of these guys, then look at them in action on a dunk. Most of them are amazing because they take off ten feet from the basket, but few of them are more than 2, 2-1/2 feet off the ground. All the talk about their 'verticals' is as bogus as football 40 yard times. Few of these guys were over 24 in. without a running start. How do I know? Because I worked on a program back in the late 80's (for NBC) on 'Black Athletes' and one of the things measured was true vertical leaping ability. (Interesting note, Michael Jordan always refused to have his vertical leaping ability tested, no matter who was doing the tests) Anyway, the info and such we gathered ended up not being used, but it was an eye opener. Most of these guys are bigger than you think they are, in terms of their weight. They are too heavy to be high jumpers.
Yeah, Conley out jummped all the NBA guys. Karch Kiraly, the volleyball player outdid them on vertical also. He stood under the basket, wrapped one leg behind the other so that he was standing on one leg, then jumped straight up and dunked the ball. (he was 6'2", 205) The NBA guys couldn't duplicate the feat.
Conley could take off so far from the basket and still dunk it was funny to see. Probably because we are used to seeing the NBA guys do it.
There have been some great jumpers in the NBA, but you have to specialize. Heck, I'd take little Franklin Jacobs over any of the NBA guys. Brumel also.
Kiraly had a 42" vertical with the "step" the NBA guys take, he was 8" - 12" inches higher than they basketballers. I don't remember what his true standing vertical was, but it was higher than the average NBA guy also. Conley was about the same vertical wise, but a smaller, faster guy. These guys, especially track athletes, the jumpers, work on jumping. The NBA guys jump as a matter of course in their sport. They really can't compete with the track guys for the most part. Of course, with a basketball, they run rings around the non-basketballers. But when people claim the NBA guys are the world's greatest athletes, I laugh. I point out how they've done in The Superstar's competition among other things. That usually brings people back to reality.
I do think some great sprint and throwing talent is lost to football by the time many kids are 15 or so. But football is the king, these days.
did you consider that the "superstars" competition were condoucted when the basketball season was in. I don't think the coaches lett alone the GM would really let those athlete compete in something other than basketball. That's why Basketball players never met NFL or Track guys of bseball for that matter.
With regard to Basketball as WR breakers the key word was POTENTIAL record holders. As a coach who has lost great leapers to this "Glamour sport" the key concern is time in the air (vertical displacement). These athletes don't get extra points by going higher than 10'6" (the minimum height needed to dunk) to "score". You also have to consider that these athletes are under constant contact on the way to the basket therefore their true competitive vertical is not diplayed. But any physicist (sp) a part of measuring "hang" time is that time in the air. Isn't that how some biomechanists noted Carl Lweis's ability to jump further more time in the air (but that's another event.)