When Do Women Sprinters Peak?


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When Do Women Sprinters Peak?

Postby bijanc » Sun Jan 24, 2010 5:40 pm

On another thread, the consenus on peak performance for male athletes seemed to be 25-27'ish. Though athletes may add strength, muscularity, and improve technique at "any" age, Wilma Rudolph, Marie José Pérec and Marion Jones were probably as tall at 14-15 as they would ever be.

We hear tennis and Olympic announcers speaking of performers who accomplished their best as teens. When do women sprinters peak? Personal bests at same ages as swimmers?

(and by extension, what does that age, whatever it is, say about a Merlene Ottey)?
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Re: When Do Women Sprinters Peak?

Postby tandfman » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:10 am

bijanc wrote:When do women sprinters peak? Personal bests at same ages as swimmers?

My guess would be same ages as men sprinters.
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Peak

Postby Bijan » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:17 am

But women reach puberty at 11-13, men at 16-18.
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Re: Peak

Postby Marlow » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:37 am

Bijan wrote:But women reach puberty at 11-13, men at 16-18.

??!! Boys aren't 5 years behind girls. Usually 2.
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peak

Postby Bijan » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:48 am

Thanks Marlow. Still would imply an earlier athletic peak.
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Postby Pego » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:51 am

A key difference is not the onset of puberty. Girls' growth stops shortly after (practically at the onset), boys have a growth spurt. That's the reason, why female gymnasts peak so much earlier. I am not sure that the sprinters would have that much difference in the peaking, as tandfman said. Women might peak just a tad earlier.
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Peak

Postby Bijan » Mon Jan 25, 2010 8:57 am

So teen swimmers and tennis stars (Debbie Meyer, Janet Evans, Evert, Jaeger, Shriver, Capriati) are not good analogs f/ sprinters?
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Re: Peak

Postby Pego » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:01 am

Bijan wrote:So teen swimmers and tennis stars (Debbie Meyer, Janet Evans, Evert, Jaeger, Shriver, Capriati) are not good analogs f/ sprinters?


Empirically, it doesn't seem so. At the moment, I don't have a good explanation for the apparent disparity, have to give it some thought :wink: .
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Postby guru » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:13 am

Biological age means nothing. Training age means everything.
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Postby Pego » Mon Jan 25, 2010 9:30 am

guru wrote:Biological age means nothing. Training age means everything.


Biological means a lot. Age, talent, strength, speed...You could train me all you want and still not get a lot.
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Postby Daisy » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:03 am

Pego wrote:Biological means a lot.

But it's all relative. Your peak, even if more of a hill or knoll, would have been related to your training regime to some degree.
Last edited by Daisy on Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:36 am, edited 1 time in total.
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hmm

Postby Bijan » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:15 am

Wilma Rudolph was 20 in Rome games. Tyus doubled. Seemed Devers ran 4ever. MJ 25 in Sydney, but PB 100M was 23, LJ was 23, best 200 she was 23.
Torrence 27 in Barcelona, 31 in Atl.
Gohr was 22 during Moscow games, 25 at Helsinki Worlds. VCB was 22 in Athens Oly's. Shelly-Ann Fraser was 21 in Beijing.

Allyson Felix is 24.
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Postby guru » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:50 am

Pego wrote:
guru wrote:Biological age means nothing. Training age means everything.


Biological means a lot. Age, talent, strength, speed...You could train me all you want and still not get a lot.


Within reason. Mary Wineberg a perfect example. If she starts training 4 years earlier than she did (high school freshman year), she's world class coming out of college instead of at 26. But the top end result is the same.
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Postby scottmitchell74 » Mon Jan 25, 2010 10:58 am

How old is Jeter?
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Postby guru » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:09 am

scottmitchell74 wrote:How old is Jeter?


30
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Postby Speedfirst » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:11 am

scottmitchell74 wrote:How old is Jeter?


31... well going on, may as well say 30, turned that in Nov.
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Postby jazzcyclist » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:25 am

In both swimming and tennis, it seems that women reach their prime years at a much earlier age than men do. I can't imagine any 14 or 15 year-old girl ever winning an Olympic gold medal in any track and field event. But in track and field, it seems that they reach their primes at similar ages. Why is that? Could it be that track and field puts a premium on physical maturity and strength?
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Postby Pego » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:29 am

guru wrote:
Pego wrote:
guru wrote:Biological age means nothing. Training age means everything.


Biological means a lot. Age, talent, strength, speed...You could train me all you want and still not get a lot.


Within reason. Mary Wineberg a perfect example. If she starts training 4 years earlier than she did (high school freshman year), she's world class coming out of college instead of at 26. But the top end result is the same.


You don't know that. Many exceptional talents burn out quickly. There aren't too many Bolts and Felixes. When did Mary start training seriously?
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Postby guru » Mon Jan 25, 2010 11:47 am

Pego wrote:When did Mary start training seriously?



As I said, freshman year in HS. Most athletes who reach world class in the sprints come into high school with several years of age-group club track, Felix being the rare exception. It doesn't mean every high school stud will be a world class senior - for some their training age developmental limit is reached very early, while late starters they may not reach the same training age until well into their 20's.
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Postby Pego » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:10 pm

guru wrote:
Pego wrote:When did Mary start training seriously?



As I said, freshman year in HS. Most athletes who reach world class in the sprints come into high school with several years of age-group club track, Felix being the rare exception. It doesn't mean every high school stud will be a world class senior - for some their training age developmental limit is reached very early, while late starters they may not reach the same training age until well into their 20's.


You certainly have years of experience with young sprinters, so I'll just throw in an academic question of the cause/effect relationship.
Have those world class sprinters you mention become so because of early start or did they start early, because of their extraordinary talent?
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Postby jazzcyclist » Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:23 pm

Pego wrote:Have those world class sprinters you mention become so because of early start or did they start early, because of their extraordinary talent?

Great question. From the time I was in first grade, my classmates always knew who the fastest kids in the class were. I'm guessing the slowest kids in the class were less likely to go out for track. Similarly, I observed that those nerdy uncoordinated kids tended to shy away from activites like baseball, basketball and football and towards activities where they could shine.
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Postby CookyMonzta » Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:47 pm

Interesting question, because Ottey would make an extremely intriguing paradox, having run 10.74 at age 36 and 10.91w (2.4) at age 40. One would look at what she's done and say that, for women, there is virtually no limit. Consider that she ran 11.09 at age 44.

For Ottey, her last good year was 1997 (37), when she ran 10.83 twice and I believe 10.85 once. After that, she never broke 10.90 again, with or without a legal wind. She ran 11.01 in 1998, 10.97 in 1999 and 11.00 in 2000.

So, I believe that, if a sprinter trains right and doesn't get hurt too often, he or she could run respectably fast right up until the age of 40. Gail Devers ran 7.86 for the indoor 60 hurdles in 2007. Had she gone another year, she would have easily broken 13.00 outdoors at age 41.

How long will Usain Bolt keep going? He should have no trouble becoming the first 40-year-old to break 10.00. If he stays in the game and runs 9.80 at age 35, even if he runs 100s on a limited basis at that point, he's got a shot.

What are the chances that Ottey breaks 12.00 and 25.00 at age 50? Will she run at that age? Or is she content to perhaps coach, in Slovenia or Jamaica? Or will she run and coach?
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Bronze Queen

Postby Bijan » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:01 am

Merlene Ottey (Bijan makes pronounced, deferent bowing motions w/ his hands and arms)
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Postby Marlow » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:33 am

guru wrote:Most athletes who reach world class in the sprints come into high school with several years of age-group club track,

Most? Doubt it.
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Postby guru » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:46 am

Marlow wrote:
guru wrote:Most athletes who reach world class in the sprints come into high school with several years of age-group club track,

Most? Doubt it.



Of the female sprinters on the 2008 US Olympic team, you are then saying most of them did not take a single training step, much less run a race, prior to their freshman year in HS?

I'd take that bet.
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Postby Marlow » Wed Jan 27, 2010 8:57 am

guru wrote:
Marlow wrote:
guru wrote:Most athletes who reach world class in the sprints come into high school with several years of age-group club track,

Most? Doubt it.

Of the female sprinters on the 2008 US Olympic team, you are then saying most of them did not take a single training step, much less run a race, prior to their freshman year in HS?
I'd take that bet.

That's a rather small data sample. All I know is that youth-track is very sparse in many parts of the country, even in track hot-bed Florida. I would say that well over 90% of kids' introductions to T&F is in HS. You take all the sprinters in the USA that have broken 10.10 for men, and 11.10 for women, and you will not have MOST of them with any formal T&F experience prior to HS.
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Postby guru » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:09 am

Except men aren't part of the equation in this female-specific thread, and since I said world class, Olympic teams are a good "data sample".
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Postby Cooter Brown » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:10 am

Marlow wrote:I would say that well over 90% of kids' introductions to T&F is in HS. You take all the sprinters in the USA that have broken 10.10 for men, and 11.10 for women, and you will not have MOST of them with any formal T&F experience prior to HS.


Do most states not have organized track in middle school? In Texas, we start school sports in 7th grade.
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Postby guru » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:17 am

Cooter Brown wrote:Do most states not have organized track in middle school? In Texas, we start school sports in 7th grade.



Same in Ohio, and I would guess just about everywhere. For marlow to suggest 90% of kids in track don't get exposed until high school is ludicrous.
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Postby Marlow » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:27 am

guru wrote:
Cooter Brown wrote:Do most states not have organized track in middle school? In Texas, we start school sports in 7th grade.

Same in Ohio, and I would guess just about everywhere. For marlow to suggest 90% of kids in track don't get exposed until high school is ludicrous.

Florida has very little MS T&F. Maybe I'm just over-projecting my 17 years in Florida, but I know for a fact that only a very small minority of kids run track here before HS. And we do have some very fast girls in the state. To state as fact that MOST world-class USA women sprinters HAVE competed in track meets before HS sounds 'ludicrous' to me.
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