While watching the Mt. SAC Relays last weekend, I wondered what this U.S. men's 4X1 relay team could run under great conditions (like in Paris). The team would be John Capel, Justin Gatlin, Maurice Greene, and Tim Montgomery. What do you think they could run with three excellent handoffs? Anyone want to come up with a better U.S. team?
That's easy: Shawn Crawford, JJ. Johnson, Jon Drummond and Coby Miller, training daily for a couple of months (minimum), as the sum-is-greater-than-the-total-of-the-parts Euro teams who know how to do the P-word. You know, PASS!
The team you have is surely untouchable on speed, but as Leroy Van Dyke sang in the ancient country hit, "just walk on by, stand on the corner; we're strangers when we meet."
And how'd you like to be in on the team meeting where they try to assign legs to four no-i'm-the-anchor egos?
Hmm. Hopefully they all make the Paris team and stay healthy. If they can get good consistent handoffs they should challenge the WR. Side note: Has any country ever had the last two 100m WR holders run on the same relay? US in the past maybe?
Capel, Gatlin, MOntgomery, Greene could run 36.50 ... But won't ... Even if they do get to the line ... They would easily win gold ... But getting them together to actualize their true potential is another thing ... If Britain has teir best team in Paris they could push the US enough to get a 37.30 or so ... But as far as putting the record out of site ... Won't happen ... And, by the way, who does get to anchor ???
Rule of thumb is add together the times they could reasonably run that day individually, subtract 3 seconds for running starts and add 0.6 for the curves. So if all three can run 9.90 on the same day (probably at Paris they could) that's a 37.20.
third.... John Capel
A blessing in disguise?
Why was Bulllet Bob so far behind in Tokyo? Both Mel Pender and Trenton Jackson were injured in the 100 and were unable to contest the 4x1 enter alternate Gerry Ashworth and 200 man Paul Drayton. With Pender and Jackson Bullet Bob would probably of had the lead.....boring!
The problem with the rule of thumb. It's never followed by the administrating coach. the 2.4 reference number has been very rarely reached by
American runners. But like you said the Americans can Potentially reach 36.50 but won't as GB's could reach 37.20 but won't.
Even with the alternates, the Bullet wouldn't have had to make up ground if the Ashworth handoff wasn't so poor (to Drayton ?). The handoffs are really the issue, that's why teams that practice them (ex. Bahamas' women's team) do very well at the high caliber meets. Does the male foursome above for this year's worlds even train near each other ?
The funny apart is (even after watching it a zillion times I chuckle) if you freeze frame right when Hayes gets the baton the French 3rd leg has his arms raised in a victory signal. Oh well.
One thing I never see people mention with relays is that the more speed the runners have, the harder the baton passes are. In the old days they use to talk about how the old USSR teams passed so well. Well, they did. But it was easier to pass at their speed than at Bob Hayes or Jim Hines speed. If somebody like that starts running too soon you're not going to catch them! (Not that I remember teams with those two guys messing up any exchanges).
Going back to the running order question, it's unfortunate that in recent years there has been public squabbling on our squad about who is running and in what order. What we've read is probably only a fraction of the politicking and whining that goes on in private among the team, their managers, and the coaching staff, who have an unenviable job.
Ego seems to have a lot to do with it (no surprise there), and it may be impossible for the coach not to have the winner of the 100m at our Nationals as the anchor man in Paris if he wants to be. But that may not be the best choice for the team. Apart from the important question of who is best on the curves, there's also the matter of relay experience. The second man is involved in two exchanges, the anchor only one. So if the winner of the Palo Alto 100 is an experienced relay runner, but the guy who finishes second is not, maybe he should anchor anyway.
I know that Tim Montgomery has been on the middle legs of US relay teams, but when was the last time Maurice Greene passed a baton to anyone? And does that matter?
I do not know for sure, but it seems that I recall from somewhere that back in the 20's and 30's we used a separate quartet of guys in the relays, that did not qualify to run the individual 100 ? Is that accurate at all ? 1932 sticks in my mind particularly( Toppino, Dyer, Wyckoff, ? ) ..... and they won the gold !
It's not a new idea, but if we took our 4-7 runners in the FOT and gave them 1-2 months to do nothing but train/practice AS A TEAM would not this be pretty slick ?
Remember that Montgomery was involved the non handoff fiasco in the preliminary round at the 1997 World championships, with a former school mate in fact. Yes it does matter where you have the fastest runner. Though it may seem odd it is best to have the fastest runner second (ex: Marion Jones in the 41.57 relay at the Worlds) That is why the current World record is "soft". In this Coach's dream situation the fastest man is second with a seemingly obsolete handoff technique- the time- 36.70. But again with agents, managers, personal coaches and above all politics this will not happen.
Would never happen: Nike spends eleventeen-million bucks on an Ad campaign centered around Tim Montgomery and then USATF tells them, "oh, by the way, we're not letting him run the relay"? I don't think so.
That's how true national teams do it (French in 1988-1991), USSR 1980-1988 Canada 1995-1998. several of these runners were not in the top five of their respective nations yet led thir teams to medals as well as annual bests.
OK, Mo Greene adidas, Justin Gatlin Nike, whatever. The point is that the sponsors---who also give money to governing bodies--aren't going to stand by whilst their standardbearers sit on the sidelines sted of earning gold.
On the other hand, if there weren't money and budding professionalism we never would have had the World Champs, and modern stars like Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson and Mo Greene would probably have run in one OG and then hung them up. And we be all the worse for it.