Most athletic decathlete


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Most athletic decathlete

Postby dbirds » Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:51 pm

Sebrle is (by far) not the most physically gifted athlete (Eaton, Busemann, O'Brien, Thompson, Hingsen, Rafer Johnson, Morris, Thorpe just to name a few).


I read this on a forum and wanted to get some feedback. I do think Sebrle is a phenomenal athlete but I would not say 'by far'. Certainly Eaton is in the mix. Rafer, O'Brien and Thorpe too. Wanted to get your guys opinions.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby Marlow » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:20 pm

dbirds wrote:
Sebrle is (by far) not the most physically gifted athlete

The only way to read that is that he was lazier than Eaton. Given that Eaton is at the beginning of his career and Sebrle is at the end, I'll extrapolate AE's peak at 9400 and unilaterally declare him the better athlete. That said, I have a sneaking suspicion that Jim Thorpe really was the best athlete of the last 150 years (at least).
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby MDelano » Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:55 am

Marlow wrote:
dbirds wrote:
Sebrle is (by far) not the most physically gifted athlete

The only way to read that is that he was lazier than Eaton.


I read it differently as in that Sebrle had better technical skills which allowed him to outscore others with better physical talent. I don't see how that implies laziness with regard to training.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby Peter Michaelson » Tue Aug 21, 2012 10:34 am

For what it's worth, Bryan Clay crushed the SPARQ test, football version.

http://www.topendsports.com/testing/spa ... system.htm
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby gh » Tue Aug 21, 2012 7:39 pm

Marlow wrote:
dbirds wrote:
Sebrle is (by far) not the most physically gifted athlete

The only way to read that is that he was lazier than Eaton. Given that Eaton is at the beginning of his career and Sebrle is at the end, I'll extrapolate AE's peak at 9400 and unilaterally declare him the better athlete. That said, I have a sneaking suspicion that Jim Thorpe really was the best athlete of the last 150 years (at least).


The easiest way to put the lie to Thorpe's "greatness" is to look at his LJ marks relative to what the open guys were doing. In the modern era of the sport, I believe you'll find that all the world-class guys are also very good long jumpers, because it's a wonderful indicator of basic talent.

I'm pretty sure Thorpe fails by that metric (among others).

To declare the first guy ever to set a WR in the event the best ever is absolute lunacy. Sorry.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby Powell » Wed Aug 22, 2012 12:19 am

Marlow wrote:
dbirds wrote:
Sebrle is (by far) not the most physically gifted athlete

The only way to read that is that he was lazier than Eaton.


I think you (and dbirds) missed the 'not' in the above statement.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby lonewolf » Wed Aug 22, 2012 6:18 am

gh wrote:[To declare the first guy ever to set a WR in the event the best ever is absolute lunacy. Sorry.

I agree, even though Thorpe was a cut above his peers and is much revered in Oklahoma. I realize his was a different time with inferior training, facilities, etc., but it is my impression that his marks would not fare well in an elite HS competition today.
I don't have the stats available but would be interested to see Thorpe's PBs/decathlon marks compared to Gunnar Nixon's.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby user4 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 7:05 pm

gh wrote:
Marlow wrote:
dbirds wrote:
Sebrle is (by far) not the most physically gifted athlete

The only way to read that is that he was lazier than Eaton. Given that Eaton is at the beginning of his career and Sebrle is at the end, I'll extrapolate AE's peak at 9400 and unilaterally declare him the better athlete. That said, I have a sneaking suspicion that Jim Thorpe really was the best athlete of the last 150 years (at least).


The easiest way to put the lie to Thorpe's "greatness" is to look at his LJ marks relative to what the open guys were doing. In the modern era of the sport, I believe you'll find that all the world-class guys are also very good long jumpers, because it's a wonderful indicator of basic talent.

I'm pretty sure Thorpe fails by that metric (among others).

To declare the first guy ever to set a WR in the event the best ever is absolute lunacy. Sorry.


Im not sure what you are seeing. As I look at the 1912 Stockholm OG, Im amazed at the marks that Thorpe recorded in that era, in those conditions. His long jump looks quite impressive. Remember we are talking about 1912 here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athletics_ ... _decathlon
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby telf » Sat Sep 01, 2012 3:43 am

The easiest way to put the lie to Thorpe's "greatness" is to look at his LJ marks relative to what the open guys were doing. In the modern era of the sport, I believe you'll find that all the world-class guys are also very good long jumpers, because it's a wonderful indicator of basic talent.


Not contesting or denying Thorpe's "greatness" but I am not clear on why his long jumping is the basis which creates a "lie" to his "greatness"?

Thorpe finished 7th to a near WR for Gutterson in the open LJ in '12 in OG Stockholm

It is impossible to estimate what 22'8 in '12 equates to a century later but I don't think 25 ft + is impossible.

Surely it is reasonable to assume that the top 8 in Stockholm LJ could improve, 100 years later, by 70 cm - 80 cm with modern diet, training and track?

If Jim's long jump puts him way down the top decathlon talent list then where does Jenner sit with a PB of 24' set over 60 years after Thorpe or what about the 23'5 1952 PB of two time OG gold Bob Mathias?

I don't think Thorpe is the GOAT but that opinion is not based on any perceived relative weakness in his long jumping ability.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby user4 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:10 am

lonewolf wrote:
gh wrote:[To declare the first guy ever to set a WR in the event the best ever is absolute lunacy. Sorry.

I agree, even though Thorpe was a cut above his peers and is much revered in Oklahoma. I realize his was a different time with inferior training, facilities, etc., but it is my impression that his marks would not fare well in an elite HS competition today.
I don't have the stats available but would be interested to see Thorpe's PBs/decathlon marks compared to Gunnar Nixon's.



Telf is absolutely right, and lonewolf is interestingly on to something: we could have Gunnar run down that same dusty cinder path and see how far beyond 22 ft he goes. ... once we settle that we can hypothesize about Gunnar back in 1912 and speculate how far beyond 20ft he goes.

By the way there is one decathlete that to me has strained the imagination as much as Jim Thorpe and it is Bryan Clay. If I had to pick the greatest lb for lb athlete I would give it to Clay with Thorpe second.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby lonewolf » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:36 am

user4 wrote:[By the way there is one decathlete that to me has strained the imagination as much as Jim Thorpe and it is Bryan Clay. If I had to pick the greatest lb for lb athlete I would give it to Clay with Thorpe second.
I agree Clay is at/near the peak of the lb for lb performers.. another is Jeff Bennet, 4th at Montreal.. and Kip Janvrin...
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Sep 01, 2012 9:49 am

gh wrote:
Marlow wrote:
dbirds wrote:
Sebrle is (by far) not the most physically gifted athlete


The easiest way to put the lie to Thorpe's "greatness" is to look at his LJ marks relative to what the open guys were doing. In the modern era of the sport, I believe you'll find that all the world-class guys are also very good long jumpers, because it's a wonderful indicator of basic talent.

I'm pretty sure Thorpe fails by that metric (among others).

To declare the first guy ever to set a WR in the event the best ever is absolute lunacy. Sorry.


Thorpe did 22'3" at Stockholm in 1912. My old high school's still standing LJ record from 1930, only 18 years later, is 23'.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby user4 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:20 am

Conor Dary wrote:Thorpe did 22'3" at Stockholm in 1912. My old high school's still standing LJ record from 1930, only 18 years later, is 23'.


And what did your HS record holder long jump at the 1932 olympic games? ....hmm, interesting. HS school records from back in the day were sometimes alot like wind storms, full of air. I take them seriously in those many cases when that athlete goes on to better it in college. If however you did have a legitimate 23' long jumper in 1930 then he was a great athlete, and Im sure Jim Thorpe would have given him an autograph for free.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby Conor Dary » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:43 am

user4 wrote: .hmm, interesting. HS school records from back in the day were sometimes alot like wind storms, full of air.


Better than being fulling of hot air....:roll:
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby user4 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:33 am

lonewolf wrote:
user4 wrote:[By the way there is one decathlete that to me has strained the imagination as much as Jim Thorpe and it is Bryan Clay. If I had to pick the greatest lb for lb athlete I would give it to Clay with Thorpe second.
I agree Clay is at/near the peak of the lb for lb performers.. another is Jeff Bennet, 4th at Montreal.. and Kip Janvrin...


Thanks for that info, if that came to you from memory that is impressive. I did a search and found the 5'8" 152lb Bennett, OG 4th at Munich in 1972. yes, that challenges Clay lb for lb. Bennett was quite weak in the discus, one of Clays strongest events. What shocks, Bennett ran the 400m in 46.2 in that Munich 1972 Deca.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby lonewolf » Sat Sep 01, 2012 12:11 pm

Memory wasn't that big a stretch. I have known Jeff for more than thirty years and although I am a generation older followed his career with interest because we were about the same size and had similar PBs..Jeff retired from the Air Force and coaches at a local Christian college.. he is stilll 5' 8" but has gained a few pounds and wears a neck brace now..
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby user4 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 7:21 pm

lonewolf wrote:Memory wasn't that big a stretch. I have known Jeff for more than thirty years and although I am a generation older followed his career with interest because we were about the same size and had similar PBs..Jeff retired from the Air Force and coaches at a local Christian college.. he is stilll 5' 8" but has gained a few pounds and wears a neck brace now..


please tell him we are so proud to have had him represent us in Munich!
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby lonewolf » Sat Sep 01, 2012 8:31 pm

I will. I probably won't see him until indoor season in December. Jeff is extremely modest and reticent to speak about his Olympic experience except among friends. People, on learning who he is, invariably express surprise .."that little guy?" :)
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby user4 » Mon Sep 03, 2012 3:16 pm

Worth keeping in mind in this discussion is the completely different notions of what a decathlete was in 1912 relative to today. Thorpe was not a decathlete in our sense of the word today. He was simply the most brilliant athlete that anyone, who was anyone in sports, would ever meet.

Please read the wiki file on Thorpe so that you do not read into his marks a world that did not exist at the time: There was no focused duration of training and regimentation as we know it today:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Thorpe

I particularly liked Eisenhower's ( Army football), quote regarding Thorpe.
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Re: Most athletic decathlete

Postby Conor Dary » Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:36 pm

How can a bio of Thorpe be complete and leave out his scene in White Heat?
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