Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person


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Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:55 am

Who is the fastest human you ever saw run from a reasonably close distance (either against, trackside, or a close bleacher seat)?

Not having attended the Mobil's at George Mason U. where there have been burners, I'm thinking the fastest sprinter I've seen up close was Kirk Baptiste at the Howard Relays circa 1989. Olympian Larry Shipp was a star at the Upper School at a boy's school while I was in the middle grades.

Unlike my best friend, I never played pickup basketball against Darrell Green, then the NFL's fastest man. He told me Green, in pursuit of a fast-breaking opponent was an absolute blur from the top of one key to the opposite.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Sun Sep 21, 2003 9:12 am

Having just finished running a Distance Medley at the '81 Drake Relays, I was still on the infield during the running of the invitational 100. The event was won by Mel Lattney, but in lane #1 was Herschal Walker. Herschal ran within 24" of me as he passed running around a :10.2. It was amazing seeing a guy of hat size run so fast. At 150 lbs., I couldn't imagine stepping in front of that freight train and squatting to try and tackle the guy. Being that close to the action gives you a new appreciation and perspective of the physical gifts some possess.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Sun Sep 21, 2003 3:09 pm

Michael johnsom on the home stretch of the 200m oly trials final. He seemed to have a burst of speed after coming off of the turn. I have never seen legs move so quickly before or since.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Jon » Sun Sep 21, 2003 3:22 pm

Even though the past few British AAAs have been dire, the men's sprints always turn out some decent times. I've seen Chambers, MLF, Campbell, Malcolm, Gardener many a time battle it out over the 100m and the deuce.

I've also witnessed some indoor meets - WIC, Indoor Grand Prix, etc - usually guaranteed fast times at those meets.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby KevinM » Sun Sep 21, 2003 4:35 pm

I'm sure lots of people on this board (or anyone who's been to Texas or Penn) can match and beat this, but here goes:

A young Mo Greene in high school (1993)
Carl Lewis @ Texas, 1996
MJ @ Penn, last race in US (relay)
Marion @ Penn

Must be some others I'm forgetting.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Sun Sep 21, 2003 7:21 pm

How's this for an "oldie"? Saw Bobby Morrow and Leamon King in the pre-Oly warm-up meet at Santa Ana College (California) in 1956.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby jhc68 » Sun Sep 21, 2003 8:50 pm

What a cool race: Leamon King and Bobby Morrow!I've seen a lot of fast sprinters, none more memorable than Lewis or Tommie Smith. But the most dramatic race I recall was one night at Mt. Sac in the early '60's... Bob Hayes and Frank Budd in a 100 meter final. They were flying and Hayes was pulling away when Budd tore a hamstring, hopped and took a header at full speed! Tough image to shake. I think Budd never really regained form again. I was a kid, don't remember if it was an olympic warm up meet or an AAU championship.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Arnie » Sun Sep 21, 2003 10:17 pm

Mel Patton 9.3 100yd 1948.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Mon Sep 22, 2003 7:59 am

I hear Bob Parks (former Eastern Michigan coach) answers "Jesse Owens" -- he saw all the records on May 5 1935 in Ann Arbor. Now that's old!
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Tue Sep 23, 2003 12:00 pm

I was sitting on the infield near the finish line when Harry Jerome was awarded a 10 flat at the Canadian Olympic Trials in Saskatoon in 1960. There were a number of coaches who would not reveal what their watches read because it was 9.9 and he could not have done that. I also saw Hayse in Tokyo, Johnson in the 88 Olympics, Lewis in LA and Greene several times among others. I still do not know who was the fastest.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Wed Sep 24, 2003 6:52 am

"Olympian Larry Shipp was a star at the Upper School at a boy's school while I was in the middle grades."

I know the boys school you're talking about, Bijan. I seem to remember that Mr. Soles (3-D art teacher) had a funny story about you, but I can't quite remember what it was.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Wed Sep 24, 2003 5:47 pm

Hey STA person, did the Mr. Soles anecdote involve swimming?

Bijan
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 25, 2003 4:59 am

"Hey STA person, did the Mr. Soles anecdote involve swimming?

Bijan"

I think so, but again, I'm pretty hazy on the details (approx. 10 years since I was in his class).
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby rh » Thu Sep 25, 2003 5:19 am

Hayes - Budd was the 1962 AAU 100 yards race, won by Hayes in 9.3 (9.35 auto - just 0.04 quicker than the auto-time on his 9.1 in '63 !). It was Budd's last race and they had met just once before - at the Coliseum relays that year - won by Hayes (10.2) ahead of Budd (10.3) and Henry Carr (10.3)
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:07 pm

... Steve Williams @ Fresno or Modesto can't remember - exploded at ~ 50 y to destroy a good field

Tommie Smith anchoring a 4 x 200 @ SB Relays - new WR - announcer said he was sub 19 ... mmmm

I was 15-20 ft from both
and I always thought Sam Bair ran faster than anybody (sprinter or otherwise) the last 50y of any race he was in.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 25, 2003 12:28 pm

Bijan C. Bayne wrote:

>Olympian Larry Shipp was a star at the Upper
>School at a boy's school while I was in the
>middle grades. >>

No offense, BCB, but you're setting a board record for most bad facts posted. Larry Shipp was nothing like an Olympian. Finished 6th in the 1976 trials at his best showing.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 25, 2003 7:00 pm

I've seen a lot of fast sprinters over the past forty years, but one race that comes to my mind very quickly was the men's 4 X 100 relay at the East German vs. U.S. dual meet at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1983. When Carl Lewis got the anchor baton, he was probably three to four meters behind East Germany's Frank Emmelmann. I think Lewis won by .07 second. It was a thing of beauty. Lewis was not only so fast, but he was smooth and fluid. I may have seen faster sprinters, however that day remains with me as a great one.
By the way, in that meet, Udo Beyer broke his own world record in the shot put. Second place put was well over 71 feet. This was the first time anyone had put 71 feet and lost. Can you name the American who went over 71 feet and lost to Beyer in the L.A. Coliseum back in 1983?
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Thu Sep 25, 2003 9:24 pm

Dave Laut?
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Guest » Fri Sep 26, 2003 2:54 pm

Dave Laut is correct. Nice job.
Have you ever thought about how many great U.S. shot putters we have had over the past sixty years? Here's a guy who went 71' 9" and lost to a world record put and most people can't remember his name.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Jefferson Buffalo » Fri Sep 26, 2003 5:56 pm

That's because they're all louts.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby halimwash » Sat Sep 27, 2003 3:17 am

Maurice Peoples at AZ St Univ. 400 meter and 4x4. Anchored a 4x4 in which he was 100m behind after receiving the stick. He caught the lead runner by the 300m mark and won by 6 meters. Until Micheal Johnson he had the fastest 4x4 split in the high 42's. Also Dwayne Evans as a high school senior in the AZ state championship meet anchored a 4x4 with the same deficit. He caught the lead runner by the 200m mark and won by 5 meters. Dwayne went on to run in the '76 Olympic Games in the 200m as a 17 year old and won the Bronze medal.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby ndamix » Wed Oct 01, 2003 7:10 am

Fastest Sprinters I ever saw in person was both Houston McTear at the 1979 Muhammad Ali Invitational Indoor meet held at the Long Beach Arena. Carl Lewis at the 1983 TAC Championships win he won the 100/200 double and the long jump.

Best Field Event would be the 1983 TAC Championships when Carl Lewis jumped 28'10 1/2" (the farthest jump at sea-level at the time).
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Marg » Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:56 am

Marlies Gorr of the GDR during the World Cup in Canberra, 1985. She won the 100m and anchored (I think!) their 4x100m relay team which set a new world record. I had the pleasure of meeting her after the meet and chatted briefly-my German was too atrociously rusty to extend the conversation!

I would like to also include Marita Koch who competed in this meet and broke the 400m world record in the most phenomenal long sprint I have ever seen.

Marg, Australia
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby billthedog » Tue Mar 16, 2004 8:01 am

Arnie beat me to Patton's 9.3. A close second might be LaBeach's 10.2 that same day (evening for LaBeach) in 1948.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Track fan » Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:21 am

Ben Johnson at an indoor meet in Toronto, he had another gear on the field(no pun intended).
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Jon » Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:34 am

I've seen Gatlin's 6.46 from 2003 WICh and Mo Greene's 6.47 from the 2000 Birmingham GP.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby 5k Guy » Tue Mar 16, 2004 1:51 pm

At top speed, Carl Lewis was as fast as I've ever seen. I seriuosly doubt that at top speed anyone has ever run faster than Lewis. Many had better starts or could hold speed longer but at top speed Carl was the MAN.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby trackstar » Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:40 pm

I got to see Carl Lewis and Donovan Bailey go head-to-head on 4x1 anchor legs at Texas Relays in 1997. Lewis won, Bailey cramped up. (Funny how, a few weeks later in that infamous 150 against Michael Johnson, everyone accused MJ of faking a cramp, but no one accused DB of the same when it was obvious he was going to lose to CL. Not that I'm accusing him of anything, I was just bothered by the hypocrisy and/or short memory of the accusing fans.)

And speaking of MJ, I assume I saw him run the 200 at the Texas high school state champs in 1986, since I was there, but I don't remember him -- I'm sure I was distracted by Derrick Florence, who whipped him by 0.8. (20.5 vs. 21.3.) In fact, if my memory of the schedule is accurate, I may have taken the track in the class 3A mile immediately after his class 5A race finished.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby gh » Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:28 pm

Three thoughts about fastest person you THINK you ever saw.

1. Size matters. Think of a 747 in the glide path to landing. Say it's going about 250mph; it looks like it's just hanging there in the sky. If a P-51 was descending at 250mph it would look like a bat outta hell. (Why Houston McTear looked so incredibly fast even though bigger guys were running faster.)

2. It depends on how close to the track (maybe even specific lane) you are. The closer you are to somebody, the faster they look. (Using this criterion, I've never seen anything faster than Maurice Greene from a few meters away)

3. It depends on what part of the race you look at. Almost impossible to accelerate after 60m or so, but judgments about top-end speed are almost always made at the finish, where it's all about who's slowing down the least, not who's still getting faster or "kicking it into top gear."
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby oldvaulter » Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:32 pm

I saw Bobby Morrow, Dave Sime, Ray Norton, Bob Hayes, Tommy Smith, Henry Carr, and Carl Lewis -- some pretty fast guys, so this one wasn't the fastest, but perhaps the most exciting sprint I ever saw was:

Forrest Beaty running 220 yards (longer than 200m by about .1 second) in 20.2 in high school. This was a mind-blowing performance when it was accomplished on a slow (by today's standards) dirt track in 1962. Beaty never improved much in college, but he was lightning in HS.

The fast time over the longer distance and on a slow track is very impressive. However, there are a couple caveats: It was a straightaway 220 (no turn), and it was hand timed. Still, Beaty was MOVING and it was extremely exciting to everyone present. Probably because I was close to the action (down on the infield next to the track), as gh points out above, but Beaty just LOOKED faster than anyone I'd seen.
Last edited by oldvaulter on Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Diego Sahagún » Wed Mar 17, 2004 4:31 am

I've seen Carl Lewis wining the 200 m in 19"92 (+1.3) here in Madrid, Spain (04/6/1987). Believe me, that outdoor track called Vallehermoso has very sharp curves
Last edited by Diego Sahagún on Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Mel » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:37 am

I watched Donovan Bailey run 9.91 standing right beside lane 8 in 1995, with Bruny Surin chasing him in 9.97. Being at trackside makes it look faster than it ever does from the stands or on television. Track suffers because television cannot convey the true ability of these athletes. The closest they have come is with the little roll-along cameras beside the track.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby marknhj » Wed Mar 17, 2004 11:56 am

What is really astounding is when you actually run against a world class sprinter. I thought I was pretty quick over 30-40m, but when I trained with Mike McFarlane (5th 1984 OG 100m) it was amazing how fast he moved and how much distance he opened up on me within 20m.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby 79. » Wed Mar 17, 2004 12:14 pm

...I was lucky to watch Tim MONTGOMERY's 9"78
WR in Paris, September 2002.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby tandfman » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:26 pm

Last edited by tandfman on Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby jhc68 » Wed Mar 17, 2004 6:56 pm

30 years ago I was lucky to be at the track during some training sessions when Jean Louis Ravelomanantsoa was practicing starts. He was an NAIA sprinter at Westmont College far from his home in Madagascar. Short, thick, stubby and incredibly quick. He was a 10 flat world class sprinter for a decade mostly on the basis a blinding start. I've seen Carl and Hayes and others run faster at top end speed, but, sheesh, JL's acceleration was something to behold.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby Bruce Kritzler » Wed Mar 17, 2004 8:07 pm

Herb Washington in indoor races.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby DentyCracker » Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:03 pm

Seen Percy Spencer's 9.98 and Frankie Fredericks' 9.97 at the National Stadium. Many Ray Stewart races. He Stewart grew up in the same area of Kingston that I lived and still live, and went to the grade school that my Mom still teaches at.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby dupontred » Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:22 am

I guess I've never been to a big time meet in person.

But the one performance I really remember was back in the mid-80s at the Empire State Games tryouts. There were some amazing female sprinters from the Rochester area, including one youngster in the 100. Went by the name of Kim Batten, current world record holder in the Women's 400H.
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Re: Fastest Sprinter you Ever Saw in Person

Postby hijumpsteve » Thu Mar 18, 2004 6:51 am

>I guess I've never been to a big time meet in person.

But the one
>performance I really remember was back in the mid-80s at the Empire State Games
>tryouts. There were some amazing female sprinters from the Rochester area,
>including one youngster in the 100. Went by the name of Kim Batten, current
>world record holder in the Women's 400H.



I had a similar experience with a 7th grade girl. I went to my son's first 7th grade track meet, and there was a girl that won the girl's 400 by about 150 meters, I kid you not. I immediately said to the coach, "this is a blue, blue, chipper that can go to the very, very, top."

Her name ? Maicel Malone.
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