Ben Johnson's start


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Ben Johnson's start

Postby Jacksf » Fri Jul 20, 2012 5:50 pm

Does anyone remember Ben Johnson's start?
He seemed to pop up, or jump out the blocks, and then start running.
He was always first out of the blocks. Of course we know PEDs had much to do with his performances, but not sure if that had a significant effect on his start. He was usually ahead of the field immediately.

I always thought that his starting technique would be copied by others. But I don't I've seen that type of start since Ben.
Any thoughts as to why this start has not been emulated by others?
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Re: Ben Johnson's start

Postby Per Andersen » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:51 pm

Ben Johnson's start was never the same after he came back in early 1991 after his drug suspension.

One of the other drug suspended Canadian sprinters suggested he no longer had the power to use that particular start with the same effect.
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Re: Ben Johnson's start

Postby cladthin » Sat Jul 21, 2012 12:56 am

Jacksf wrote:Does anyone remember Ben Johnson's start?
He seemed to pop up, or jump out the blocks, and then start running.
He was always first out of the blocks. Of course we know PEDs had much to do with his performances, but not sure if that had a significant effect on his start. He was usually ahead of the field immediately.

I always thought that his starting technique would be copied by others. But I don't I've seen that type of start since Ben.
Any thoughts as to why this start has not been emulated by others?


It was a jump that Ben just picked up on his own and Charlie decided to let it go. Even early on he had a very good start so it was best to leave it alone. He employed this technique years before he was ever on drugs.
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Re: Ben Johnson's start

Postby jhc68 » Sat Jul 21, 2012 10:05 pm

If I recall correctly, Johnson got a lot of interest because he used a bunch start with very little space between his foot pads. He seemed to push forward with with lots of strength off both feet. Seems like the tough part of this would be to avoid standing straight up and to get into a dynamic stride position immediately. A lot of sprinters may have experimented with Johnson's start technique, but it doesn't seem like many stuck with it...
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Re: Ben Johnson's start

Postby MDelano » Mon Jul 23, 2012 6:03 am

Even if you did have the prerequisite strength there's no evidence that it's actually faster than a conventional technique so why would you want to mess with a movement that should be automatic as soon as you hear the gun.
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Re: Ben Johnson's start

Postby Jackaloupe » Fri Jul 27, 2012 3:21 pm

Johnson got a lot of interest because he used a bunch start with very little space between his foot pads

Milt Campbell also used the old Bunch Start to good effect, tying Jack Davis's WR of 13.4 at Compton in 1956. It was a real treat to see Milt in Eugene, where he and all other living OlyDecaChamps were honored, even circling the Hayward Field track, even if he did avail himself of a Golf Cart for the circuit, followed by the Thorpe family.

Having copied Milt's start from NJ HS meets, I can attest to its being plenty efficient at getting out of the blocks, per se. Armin Hary's exaggerated long push into an elongated (and powerful) first stride had an early effect on rethinking the entire Start/Acceleration phase into more of a piece, if you will.

I'd be interested in hearing some bio-mechanical analysis--which we may get from Ato Boldon in the inevitable long buildup to the 100 m--of Usain Bolt's own version, which seems to me rather disjointed, verging on that 'jumping out' mentioned above.

One sidelight on 'pickup': too many Sprinters seem to settle for keeping their heads down w/o effectively keeping low and driving. [In the same vein: Dwight Stones's insight into that woman HJ'er at a recent DL event (Monaco?) whom he accused of fooling herself into thinking she was correctly leaning into her "curve" when all she was doing was bending a bit at the hips.]
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