One of the best female performances ever was the last leg of the 4x1 in Munich 72. Heide Rosendahl from West-Germany, a pentathlete and long jumper, held off the fastest woman in the world, double olympic champion Renate Stecher from East-Germany. Everyone in the stadium thought Stecher would easily win but somehow Rosendahl ran much faster than should have been possible for her. It would be like Jessica Ennis holding of Carmelita Jeter. Come to think of it, Ulrike Meyfarth was also great in 72, a 16 year old school girl improving her PB three times and finally jumping WR to win in front of her home crowd.
1) won the 100m with a clear margin to such world class sprinters as Thane Baker (had equalled the world record in the 100m earlier in 1956) - Ira Murchison (had set a new world record in the 100m earlier in 1956) - Hogan (had equalled the 100y world record in 1954) - Mike Agostini (had equalled the world record in 100y earlier in 1956)
Bobby Morrow won with about 1.5 meter to spare!
2) won the 200m turn with a clear margin to world class sprinters as Andy Stanfield (former olympic champion) and Thane Baker (had equalled the world record in the 200m earlier in 1956)
Bobby Morrow won with about 1 meter - and he ran with a sore leg (T&FN Dec56):in the finals of the 100m he had felt a slight pull in his groin at about 60 meter mark and many became concerned about his chances in the 200m.
3) and finally he was anchor man on the relay team for US, who won gold.
Beamon's was a great jump. The fact is he was much better than the field and he was the obvious favorite for gold heading into Mexico City 1968.
The discussion regarding the improbability of the 2.0mps wind reading has been presented here and it is convincing. That WR should never have been recorded, it should have been a "w" . It still would have been recognized as one of the great jumps of the sport but it would not have distorted the record books for so long.
Question: was Mexico City the first time a synthetic runway was used in an Olympic games ? That is did Tokyo have a synthetic surface for the long jump ?
All in all Beamon's jump is at least one of the top 3 olympic long jumps ever. Owens and Lewis the likely others. Beside that Beamon was an absolutely great human being, a great American, on and off the track.
On the track, in my opinion, the greatest is Harrison Dillard's gold-medal winning 100-meters @ London '48.
The world's best hurdler, but not close to #1 in the dash, Dillard defeated three men who had set 100y/100m WRs that season. In the spring, Mel Patton set the first 9.3 beating Lloyd LaBeach; then LaBeach and Barney Ewell each matched the 100m mark, Barney as he won the US Trials.
When Dillard failed to qualify for the Olympic team in his forte, but did qualify for the dash, a NY writer quipped, "Well, at least Dillard should enjoy the boat ride." No one in the World expected he could beat Patton, LaBeach, and Ewell, let alone all three.
For a hurdler to win the power event, and win it as decisively as did Dillard -- well, that's nothing short of spectacular. His 10.3 equalled Owens Olympic record -- and Harrison did that racing in the far lane against a headwind.
Too often forgotten re 1500m Final in Mexico City. Keino had run something over 20 km already; also supposedly ran a mile or so through the streets to reach the stadium in time for the final. Perhaps that is the best way to warm up for one of the greatest runs/races of all time!
Powell beating Lewis in 91. Just thinking about it psychologically. He watches Lewis outjump the World Record, then comes back and breaks the world record, beats him, and puts up a mark that will last more than 25 years. Wow
spammer wrote:Powell beating Lewis in 91. Just thinking about it psychologically. He watches Lewis outjump the World Record, then comes back and breaks the world record, beats him, and puts up a mark that will last more than 25 years. Wow
That second link is great--way more of the 1966 2 mile than I have ever remembered seeing before. AND it provides visual evidence of the famous throwing-of-the-hat. That said, it is amazing how Ryun totally dominated Keino in every one of their head-to-head meetings before 1968--even at distances, such as this, that should have strongly favored the Kenyan.
As for the original question here. With some reluctance--because I know exactly how problematic it actually is--I'd have to go with Beamon's jump. Despite all its "issues," the performance was astounding on an athletic level AND incredibly potent among the larger public. Everyone knew of it and everyone talked about it--for years and years and years. How many other great performances actually do this?
Let's spice up this question a little - what was the greatest non-final performance in Olympic T&F history ? I'll nominate Bert Cameron's 400m semi-final in 1984. He pulled up with a severe cramp at halfway (bad enough to knock him out of the final), slowed to a hobble, then picked it up again around the curve and qualified for the final. Another candidate is Quincy Watts' semifinal in Barcelona - 43.71, the #2 time in history, in an event where you really ought to save yourself for the final.
berkeley wrote:Let's spice up this question a little - what was the greatest non-final performance in Olympic T&F history ? I'll nominate Bert Cameron's 400m semi-final in 1984. He pulled up with a severe cramp at halfway (bad enough to knock him out of the final), slowed to a hobble, then picked it up again around the curve and qualified for the final. Another candidate is Quincy Watts' semifinal in Barcelona - 43.71, the #2 time in history, in an event where you really ought to save yourself for the final.
How about Mike Marsh cruising in the 1992 200 semi, basically jogging the last 10 metres, and running 19.73 - 1/100th off the world record (which had been set at altitude)?
As for best-ever, I always liked Gerd Wessig at the 1980 Olympics - setting a WR at the Olympics. I thought his style was the most attractive I've seen.
jdaman1998 wrote:I am sure this will get laughed at, but I think Rafer Johnson defeating CK Yang in the '60 Decathlon was the most riveting performance by both athletes I can remember (9 yr old kid at the time).
If you don't take "performance" too literally, the behaviour of Luz Long towards Jesse Owens in Berlin 1936 was one of the greatest "performances" ever. Owens was considered non-human by the nazis and Luz Long first helped, then befriended this "non-human" in front of Hitler. It took an incredible amount of bravery to do so.
berkeley wrote:Let's spice up this question a little - what was the greatest non-final performance in Olympic T&F history ?
For sheer quality and crazy audacity, I'd say the 1972 Olympic 10,000 heats.
Yes, if I remember right Bedford and Puttemans having a discussion about going for the WR, or maybe just OR, and Puttemans wisely advising caution. Shorter the first American under 28.
It was a shame Bedford even did the 10. Strategies completely out of whack for the 10, but would have been wonderful in the 5. Running 4:15 for the first mile, like he did in the 10, in the 5k would have set up an awesome race. And Yifter finds the correct gate to get in. One of the great what-ifs.
Its a horrible day outside and I've just read all the entries on this post. (Waiting for Men's AoY). There are a number of great performances that elicit the response of "yeah, that's a great one but what about?" I'm surprised that Mills' race in 1964 hasn't been offered into the discussion. It certainly was one of the most surprising results, in a quality race, with tension mounting, and an incredible last lap. I don't know if its the "greatest performance" or just the most "exciting" or the most "shocking."