Ben Johnson Zurich 1987 9.97 -1.2W

It’s finally back online.


Nice find, at 10m sprinters relatively much more upright compared to current era.

THis is the no drive phase era. Push for a couple of meters and go. Well at least it appeared they were up and not pushing at 10

It’s a nice clip of a classic Ben race. Thanks for posting it Sharmer.

Ray Stewart looked like he added distance to what is called the “drive phase” each and every year.

by 91 he had it down. Just not relaxed enough to see the energy savings at the end IMO.
Really tough to stay relaxed when one has some of the all-time bests with Higher MaxV in the race.

If a Coach wants to name a certain phase of the race to explain it better…have at it.

Yes but does pushing for longer / staying more horizontal increase speed of acceleration for most sprinters ? Ben was upright at 10m and still has some of the fastest 30m splits ever.

Can’t take credit for it , Balance found that one !

Idk, I think all those groups of individuals were full of athletes with different abilities and running styles.

Carl was taught to accelerate through 60 meters by Tom Tellez. No, he does not look like Mo with a bent over waist and head down, but rather he kept his spine and head in alignment with his takeoff angle on each stride.

Ben in particular was an anomaly as you guys know, and he naturally had a jump start which was followed through with short, rapid steps, but this allowed him to get into a more upright position sooner than his competitors and ultimately top end speed. Though more upright than most at 10 meters, he still continued to accelerate in this position. It seemed like this was mostly an innate ability to express force in those particular positions. It may have been anatomical, neurological, etc., but probably a combination of multiple things.

I assume that Ray simply progressed like most sprinters do. As he became stronger, faster, etc., then he was able to naturally come out at lower angles which resulted in an extension in the forward leaning position, enabling him to accelerate to higher top speeds. So, any added distance was likely the effect rather than the cause. But I agree with Balance, and I think that he was just likely not able to hold his newfound speed all the way through the tape. Same thing happened with Desai in Seoul.

We’ve seen people run very fast with some variations. I would suspect the rate at which an athlete rises their trajectory/torso is a result of multiple things. Anatomically, some people might be built more effectively to have lower angles, whereas others may be built to more advantageously utilize Lombard’s paradox. The style of training is going to influence these things as well. I can see how a heavy sled drag could reinforce a bent waist. But in general I think it’s important not to drift too far towards teaching one extreme. If people squat/deadlift/etc. a bit differently just naturally then we should expect some individual nuances when they sprint/run/throw/jump/vault/etc. Same thing with this heel recovery craze - Mann and Brauman believe that if you pick up your foot higher than their technical model then you are wrong. I think that it may work for some and it may hinder others, but likely most are not going to either need to drag nor cycle high in order to maximize performance. Optimization is likely somewhere in the middle for nearly everyone. Same thing with pole vault, some people believe that the Bubka technical model is the only way to jump your highest, but I don’t think you can apply what worked for one athlete to everyone else. Like Tom Tellez says “It’s not what you tell them to do - it’s what you don’t tell them to do!” For the most part, the driving/pushing/horizontal/vertical/upright phases will fall into place if they are relaxed, not overthinking, and intensities/volumes/modes are appropriate. When an athlete has been taught how to properly relax along with basic fundamentals of form, and they do so while competing, I believe that they will usually find their way to the most effective movement pattern with small tinkerings here and there.

Ben benefitted from having a coach who knew how to be a sprinter and lived through many training blunders. Ben had a coach who devised a plan which he has successfully ( for the most part) been able to communicate his plan and method and share to the extent that it has been repeatable by athletes, coaches and anyone willing to make this a study.

I believe that the Ray Stewart’s of the world were huge talents. Like Tim Montgomery as well and Marion and Andre Cason and many others. These gentlemen IMHO did not have the circumstances, continuity of expertise or means to benefit their real talents. Charlie spearheaded a plan with the support of Ross Earl and other coaches and eventually created what he knew was necessary.

One reason I direct so many people to read “Speed Trap” is because it’s the background one needs to understand the environment of athletics at that time.

Don’t forget Ben was far from the only student but he was the student who’s talents all came together. Angella Taylor (Issajenko) for example had tremendous bad luck missing the Olympics of 1980 due to the boycott. Charlie believed that would and should have been her best shot and once you miss that sweet spot of your career it’s not always simple to hang on.

It makes sense that each persons physiology will favor particular phases of the training cycle accordingly. Remember Charlie saying Ben’s brother was stronger and faster but did not pursue track the way Ben did. Desai could have won the gold medal in 1988 as he was second until he looked around and realized how well he was doing and tied up and came last.

Nice summery Brett.

R. Stewart progressed like Borzov-late 60s to early 70s. It’s not something I have seen in other sprinters in the 70s, 80’s and early 90s.
Mo came along and took it to a whole New Level.

It’s Sprinting 101 now, sure. Back then, most sprinters did not progress like that.

It would be cool as shit to be able to measure the Horizontal - effective force in the first couple of steps across all the all-time bests.
Coleman, Johnson (2nd step) Bolt.

Borzov with his decline sprints lol but I get it. It’s a speed/coordination thing.
It’s def a skill that few have ever mastered.
Too land far behind one’s COG and be able to fire off in such a short time…
Seems like everyone only want to add resistance to practice their starts.

My money is on Coleman for the first two steps re:Horizontal.
Intitial Block Clearance…No one even comes close to BJ.
Turbo boost at 30m to boot.

My opinion here but I would bet lots of Charlie’s methods of coaching have been dismissed due to the scandal surrounding 1988.

We might refer to this as " throwing the baby out with the bath water".

Most of the significant sprint successes post 1988 can be tied directly or indirectly to the accomplishments and force behind what Charlie created and spent his career building.

I was Referring to the “Drive phase” looking type sprinters.
Ben was getting better/faster every single year for more than a decade.
That will never be duplicated again imo.
Great team they were. CF and BJ.

No doubt. Stu is one of those guys.

1987 Women’s Race

Ang Iss, ftw.

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