In the 1972 semi finals for the 200 meters, NONE of the runners ran faster than they ran in the quarter finals. One runner (Jiri Kynos) ran the same time (20.88) and the other 14 runners all ran slower times.
This nearly repeated in 2004, when one one runner (Bernard Williams) ran their semi-final race faster than their quarter final race.
I suspect that it might have something to do with the wind being 'worse' in the semi finals than in the quarter finals, but I don't have the wind readings. Does anyone have them?
The only time this came close to happening in the final was in 1992, when six of the eight runners ran slower than they had run in the semi-final. The two that ran faster (Fredericks and Michael Bates) did so by only 0.01 seconds. In this case, they ran into a 1.0 m/s headwind, so that makes some sense. I was interesting in if the other cases were similar.
In the first semi-final, Borzov won with a very slow time of 20.74 with Larry Burton second in 20.78. They both improved their times dramatically in the final, with Borzov running 20.00 and Burton 20.37. The four qualifiers from the first semi-final improved their times by an average of 0.47.
In the second semi-final, Larry Black won with a reasonable time of 20.36, improving to 20.19 in the final, with second going to Mennea in 20.52, improving to 20.30 in the final. The four qualifiers from the second semi-final improved their times by an average of 0.16 (not including Zenk).
The problem is that, according to the info in the report, the FIRST semi-final was the one run with a slight tailwind and the SECOND semi-final was the one run into a stiff headwind!
It would seem to make a LOT more sense if the wind readings were the other way around. Surely an error in reporting here is possible?
I think the bigger factor in the slowness of the first semi is the failure to finish on the part of Don Quarrie, one of the leading contenders.
I don't know at what point he pulled up, but if it was seen by any of the first three finishers (Borzov, Burton, Smith) it would have meant they could have slowed appreciably. The same might have been true for fourth-placer Schenke as well.
Apart from the winds, you'd have to check the general weather conditions as well.
1. as I noted on another thread, when it comes final time, many runners who realize they aren't making the podium ease up. You can't assume they're maximal efforts, whereas anybody who moves from one round to another is usually fairly close to that.
2. lane draws were random in those days (studs weren't automaticlaly seeded into the preferred lanes), and in the 200 that can make a monster difference.
the exact direction of the wind is a key element. Various times in the UK have had positive wind readings in the sraight, but were definitely aided by illegal winds on the curve (Donna Hartley, a 23.1-23.2 runner running 22.75/+1.8 in 1978 is a key example). While the wind generally wasn't a big factor in Munich '72 it certainly was swirling around for the 200 semis
Re: 1972 200m semi finals by tandfman » Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:23 am Well, they weren't questioned on Internet message boards for obvious reasons. But IIRC they were questioned contemporaneously by athletics statisticians
Yes I know re statisticians.
The point I was trying to make is that the concept of wind readings hadn't fully entered T&F fan consciousness back in '68 and '72.
Most fans were still struggling with the difference (if any) between FAT and hand timings
The Hartley example from rhymans is a good example of the impact of wind direction and there are hundreds of other examples.
The wind was swirling inside the stadium in Munich '72 and has continued to do so for four decades as fans of Bayern Munich and Munich 1860 will attest.
When the architects designed this innovative stadium they did everything they could to eliminate the impact of the alpine wind but they ended up with swirling winds blowing in all directions inside the stadium whilst 10 ms winds blowed outside the stadium. Makes me smile when I remember the allegations that the hosts opened and closed the stadium doors to aid Wolferman's win over Lusis in the javelin.
telf wrote:... Makes me smile when I remember the allegations that the hosts opened and closed the stadium doors to aid Wolferman's win over Lusis in the javelin.
sorry, but you're conflating different Games.... the silly statement at the time of Wolfermann's upset over Lusis (I believe stated only in T&FN as a jest, maybe even by yours truly) was taht the the largely German audience gave a big burst of wind in mid-flight that kept Wolfie's spear in flight. As one who was there, I can tell you in all seriousness, it truly did feel like that.
The "open the doors for wind" story belongs to Dainus Kula of the Soviet Union at Moscow in '80.
(and there are those seasoned observers who were there—me not among them; I was denied a visa by the Commies—who say that there may well have been at least slight bit of truth behind the conspiracy analysis)