The Wilt Chamberlain and Usain Bolt threads got me thinking about this one. Are there any athletes out there that you think just defied the "norm" when it came to an event. I know Wilt really didn't compete that much but when he did(49-400 and 55? shot) it was impressive. Bolt is the 6'5" 16 year old from Jamaica that has already run 20.2...wow. I ran at JC Nationals in '94 and witnessed Montgomery's 9.99 and I couldn't believe how skinny he was. He was listed at 138 I believe. Now he's big. How about Haile Geb.? 5'2", 95?...with unbelievable speed/talent. My favorite is Florian Schwarthoff. 6'7", 175 bronze medalist in 110HH in Atlanta. I loved watching him actually chop his steps to get 3 in.
Did he ever run any other events?
How about some other freaks out there?
Professional? Collegiate? Past? Present?
Several huge (275lb+) throwers over the years have claimed very quick sprint times and/or vertical jumps. Guys like Oldfield and Udo Beyer. Franklin Jacobs jumping 23+ inches overhead has always seemed a bit freakish to me. And at Palo Alto they had the world long jump record laid out on a rug at one of the specatator entries... unbelievable when graphically displayed. Anyone (Powell, Lewis, Beamon) who could throw himself across 29 ft of geography has to have been way freakish.
All great champions are freaks, both physically and mentally. Otherwise they'd be just like the rest of us. It's freakish to be able to run a quarter mile so fast that you could be pulled over in a school zone, or to run 180 miles in 24 hours, or to throw a bowling ball 3/4 down a basketball court, or to be able to jump over a crosswalk. When I measure off Beamon's WR jump for my math classes, they just go nuts -- and then I show them the picture where his feet are above a seated official!
One guy who's probably never been mentioned in T&FN but definitely falls into the "Freak of Nature" category is Yiannis Kouros. I think he's approaching 40, has been competing for over 20 years, and is still the best ultramarathoner in the world. His 24-hour record is 303.5 km, or about 185 miles. Last fall he put up 172 miles on a day that was much too hot for ultramarathoning (80s and high humidity).
>University of Southern California, during this
>last college season, had a top TJer who
2. Very tall (6"7"-ish)
>Very skinny (170 lbs. by the looks of it)
>beanpole could jump!
He's not exactly alone, though, is he? He sounds like he has a good build for the TJ. Olsson has a very similar build.
The fact that he is white isn't exactly unusual for a TJ'er (look at Olsson, edwards, Saneyev, and all the other East Europeans of the 1970-90 era).
The fact that he's tall must only help him (Willie Banks, Olsson, Conley, Kapustin are all fairly tall).
His skinniness I can only put down to the fact that he's young - maybe he'll bulk up soon. Still, Jonathan Edwards, Willie Banks and Mike Conley have all proved that you don't need to be powerfully built for the TJ.
Powell wrote this on another thread:
Anyone heard of Tim Goebel? He's a German sprinter who made the World Indoor final at 60 meters AS A JUNIOR (a week after his 19th birthday). Well, he's 6-7.25. He hasn't been able to progress much since then due to injuries, but he definitely was a huge talent.
>Anybody think McMullen is
>a freak? When he toes the line, he looks like a
>bouncer in a midget bar...lol.
Great line! Seriously, though, Larry Rawson talked a while back about how skinny middle-distance runners have become in the last 20 years. This coincides with a switch towards mostly rabitted races, where tatics mean very little. McMullen, on the other hand, does his best work in tactical races, due at least in part to the fact that he can't get pushed around.
I read a recent Ultra result that listed Yiannis Kouros as age 46. He truely is a freak of nature (in a good way). His natural endurance is amazing. In his 24 Hour world record he averaged 7:38 per mile for 188 miles straight!
Not sure which is more impressive, his physical endurance or his mental strength and determination.
Let me also add this was in 2001. Goebel's bests that year were 6.58 and 10.21. Not too bad for a 19-year old... As I mentioned, he's been injured most of the time since then, but being only 21 now, he could definitely come through in the future.
I read a recent Ultra result that
>listed Yiannis Kouros as age 46.
Thanks. I searched for it and couldn't find it. The USATF 24-hour championships are in a Toledo suburb every year, and he competed as a "special guest" last fall. A 45-year old man ran 172 miles in 80-degree heat and high humidity! His world record is seven Boston qualifiers IN A ROW! He's set over 200 world records. Without hyperbole, he is one of the greatest athletes who ever competed in Toledo -- the others are some baseball players on their way up through the minors (Willie Mays, etc.), Ben Hogan, and Jack Dempsey.
>Let me also add this was in 2001. Goebel's bests
>that year were 6.58 and 10.21. Not too bad for a
>19-year old... As I mentioned, he's been injured
>most of the time since then, but being only 21
>now, he could definitely come through in the
Why wouldn't he run the 400 being 6'7"? Seems like a natural. Also, did Schwarthoff ever run anything than the 110HH?
Who's the biggest 400 meter world class runner?
> Why wouldn't he run 400 being 6'7"?
Because he is German or European and they really do not typecast athletes nearly to the same degree
as the Americans do. In Europe they have 6'8" soccer players in the states it is almost a given that soccer players are short. I never forget the U.S. team and the Iranian team lined up before a match in the '98 World Cup and the Iranians were taller.
Had Goebel,Shultz and Schwarthoff been American they very likely would have disappeared into some other sport.
Anyway, Schwarthoff did run some 200s.
For tallest 800 runner I'll say Wint at almost 6'5'. For the mile I know Ruyn was 6'3"
For 3,5,10000 there is Gordon Pirie at 6'2"
He held the W-rec for 3000 and 5000 in the mid 50's. He was one of the most opinionated and colorful athletes of the last 50 years without a doubt.
>It was always fun to watch Alberto J. along side
>a contrasting style in Rick Wolhuter. Mr.
>Wolhuter would have to be put on a list of
>underrated and almost ignored top US m-d runners
>in history imho.
If you asked "Who was the best American [male] middle-distance runner of the 1970s" you'd usually get "Dave Wottle" or "Marty Liquori" as an answer. I think the right answer is Wohlhuter.
Richard Elliot's classic on mental preparation for distance racing advises you not to obsess over your size since both Miruts Yifter (at 5' 2") and Jack Bacheler (who he said was 6' 7") were both great distance runners.
Yeah, I was gonna mention Bachelor; definitely the tallest distance runner at that level, eh?
The shortest guys distance guys I can ever remember are Moh. Kedir (4'11"? Shorter than Yifter) and Laban Rotich is awfully tiny.
Another present-day guy who popped my eyes out is Jon Fortenberry. I don't know if any of you saw the SC Gamecock when he was still in HS in Ga., but I saw him his jr. year (I think) and thought he was the thinnest sprinter I'd ever seen. His legs looked like Manute Bol's and he must have had a 22-inch waist, if that.
Wake me when a real athlete tries the distance. This is like people saying 15 years ago, "Wow! Terri Turner triple jumped 45 feet?!" Then world-class long jumpers tried the event and went 6 feet further.
I stand by the theory behind my original statement: unless Kouros has true word-class credentials at a real distance his marks don't mean shit. We have no idea how fast a 7:40 pace is for 24 hours until Khannouchi tries it. And not just Khannouchi; until dozens and dozens of world-class marathoners have. There's no valid scientific sample at this point.
I see your point, and you may be right on...but these ultra long distances I think require their own special talent,toughness and the body simply being able to hold up for that long. I'd like to see what Kannouchi and other world class marathoners could do also. It's possible they could blitz the record but it is also possible they could break down and not even be able to finish.
>I see your point, and you may be right on...but
>these ultra long distances I think require their
>own special talent,toughness and the body simply
>being able to hold up for that long. I'd like to
>see what Kannouchi and other world class
>marathoners could do also. It's possible they
>could blitz the record but it is also possible
>they could break down and not even be able to
Kouros has pretty much all of the ultra world records beyond 100 miles, but his most astounding records have come in multi-day races. It has been said that part of his total dominance is his ability to work at high levels with very little sleep. This is one of those "special talents" ultra-runners need.
Even though I regard Kouros very highly, I think it's futile to compare him to marathoners and track runners -- the events are simply much too different. I'll say that without a doubt he's the greatest ultra-marathoner of all time and leave it at that.