Thread: Glory returns to the 100m
04-09-2003, 08:33 PM #1New Member
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Glory returns to the 100m
By Dan Warren
The men's 100m world record is more than a benchmark.
It holds a unique place in sport as its holder can claim not only to be the best at his discipline, but the fastest man on earth.
Yet for an event which ought to be absolute and indisputable, its history has been shrouded in controversy.
Tim Montgomery's astounding 9.78 seconds in Paris on Saturday should - hopefully forever - lift the cloud over the 100m.
To understand the controversy one needs to rewind to the 1968 Mexico Olympics, effectively when the modern age of sprinting began.
Prior to those games, sprint timings were calculated using a stopwatch which recorded to the nearest tenth of a second.
That was far too vague for an event which was increasingly dealing with tiny fractions of a second.
Enter American Jim Hines, who already had a hand-timed world record of 9.9secs.
In the final in Mexico, he took on the considerably more accurate electronic timing and proved his time was no fluke, running 9.95 for Olympic gold.
The modern age of sprinting had arrived, but Hines record - like so many set at Mexico - was coloured by the fact it was set at altitude.
There was never a question that he used chemical assistance - but the sprint and long jump records of 1968 were so far ahead of anything being achieved at sea level, they would not be broken for many years.
American Calvin Smith finally ran faster than Hines in 1983, although his time of 9.93 was set at the Air Force Academy - 1800m above sea level.
Four years later, Carl Lewis would match Smith's time in Rome, proving such performances were possible at sea level.
But the late 1980s saw the events which would both re-write the record books - and see them discredited.
The 1988 Seoul Olympics saw Lewis run 9.92.
Fine - except the American legend was more than two metres behind Canadian winner Ben Johnson, who ran a barely-conceivable 9.79.
In 100m sprinting, where a fraction of a second can make a massive difference on the track, Johnson's effort was flabbergasting.
“Imagine if Roger Bannister, in breaking the four-minute mile barrier, had himself been beaten by someone running three minutes 30 seconds,” says André Action Jackson, who Johnson hastily accused of sabotaging his urine sample in Seoul.
Suspicions abounded and after Johnson was found to be using anabolic steroids , his world record and gold medal were stripped and awarded to Lewis.
That brought to the fore a great rivalry between Lewis and Leroy Burrell who exchanged records during the next six years.
Burrell clocked 9.90 in 1991, only for Lewis to run 9.86 later the same year. That held until 1994 when Burrell shaved one one-hundredth of a second off Lewis' time.
Then came Canadian Donovan Bailey, restoring dignity to athletics in his country by running 9.84 in 1996.
Bailey's record preceded the era of Maurice Greene, whose dominance of the men's sprint culminated in his 9.79 in Athens in July 1999.
Yet until Saturday, the shadow of Johnson still hung over the 100m.
Because, despite his narcotic assistance, it was still indisputable that Johnson had run 9.79, and was the fastest man in history - even if his times had been expunged from the records.
Now Montgomery, running drug free and at sea level, has beaten Johnson's time, and erased the spectre of the Canadian.
Once again, the 100m record holder is truly the fastest man on earth.
04-10-2003, 05:37 AM #2
Re: Glory returns to the 100mOriginally posted by SprintChamp
Now Montgomery, running drug free
04-11-2003, 12:10 AM #3New Member
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- Apr 2003
You got me!
OK Pete, I will admit ...
Tim is DIRTY, and so is his better half (Marion) ... and they NEVER got caught!
04-11-2003, 08:21 AM #4
I'm not usually one to automatically proclaim somebody guilty by association (as is the case with Marion and her almost ex hubby CJ Hunter) but I also don't have my head in the sand. But how could she be 100% innocent of any doping when it was soooooo obvious that CJ was into AAS big time (as most world class strength athletes are)!!! When CJ tested positive in Sydney it was just one of many positive tests that he had that year alone. The other results where either misplaced or swept under the carpet before the games (the USOC has contol over what they chose to to make public and give the IOC access to) which is what alot of the governing bodies of the top countries do to avoid implication or tarnishment of hard earned reputations. In Canada, however, we have an extremely strict anti-doping program (being a track athlete from Canada I'm sure you are well aware of this) and this, IMO, is one of the reasons that a country as large as ours is not nearly as succesful as other countries. You have to agree that it would be not only naive, but downright gulible to believe that the worlds top sprinters are drug free. In a perfect world free of any performance enhancing drugs, Tim Montgomery would still be the world record holder and Marion Jones would still be the fastest women in the world, they have skill and genetics above all others...but it's not a perfect world, and in order to stay on top they too have use what thier competitors are using. I'm not taking away from their achievement, just shaking my head in utter disbelief at the fact that people actually believe that these athletes are natural. I still like what Ben Johnson said when Mo Greene ran a 9.79 last year "It's not really a big deal to me since I did the exact same thing over 10 years ago" and do you know what...he's absolutely right!
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