Womens longjump, a couple of videos.

Lebedeva’s winning jump:


One of Marion Jones’ attempts, (probably her second one):


I vote Thor for president!

I’m surprised seeing Levedeva, she looks so explosive in that clip and so strong in her acceleration, like she bounds forward … and certainly appears to reach a higher top speed then Jones (to the eye at least) … no wonder why she won.

For Lebedeva (and Kotova) she doesn’t have a fast run-up in spite of the visual impression. Their run-ups speed shown on TV screen were around 32-34 km/h, while Jones had at least 35km/h. The Russians never ran the 100m faster than 11.8 at training, while Jones is a true sprinter and is much stronger. The compensation is on technique and bounding skills.

I would be curious to know what the changes in velocity were immediately after take-off for Lebedeva vs Jones. I’m sure we would see more drastic deceleration at take-off for Jones.

Exactly, even if Jones this year has decrease her run-up speed in order to have a lesser speed loss at take-off. I don’t have the numbers for yeserday’s comp. The Russian didn’t jumped very far actually in Athens compared to what they did at NC, so the victory was possible for Jones (based on Olympic Trials performances) without the problems of the past weeks.

This year, Marion’s main problems in her worst jumps, (that’s when mistakes are obvious):

  • Good run-up even if sometimes too slow to hope +6m80 jumps.
  • When she wants to run-up faster she makes the mistake to increase step frequency, that leads to shorter last 3 strides and she keeps that frequency state of mind during the flight and do the job too fast during the flight an dprepares the landing too soon (old scheme from 1998-2000 years coming back here…), that position in the air is very hard and costy to keep, even if she has strong abs and back…
  • Often on the marks at 5m to the board, but reduces her strides because of a bad mental scheme (don’t want to hit the board)
  • Often straighten up her upper body for the last 5 steps
  • Little weakness during support (knee flexion and long ground contact)

Very good observations PJ. I also noticed the step frequency issue and many of the other points you made. The point about reverting back to the “old scheme” is also right on, and you can see that her arm motion reverts back to some degree. She was always uncoordinated with her arm motion at the board, and I’m sure she starts to revert back to her old problems when she gets nervous, falls behind in the standings and/or lacks to run-up speed.

I’m wondering if her coach is also aware of the observations you made?

Additionally, Marion did an interview during the Olympics where she stated that, “I will never be a great technical long jumper, but I will be the fastest one on the runway.” I didn’t think this was a very good attitude. I don’t know if someone put that idea in her head or it was her own conclusion. Dreschler wasn’t the fastest on the runway in the latter part of her career, but she was still winning major competitions because she could execute her technique consistently.

Marion at times this year hasn’t even been an average technician with her jumps. This combined with the speed issues that PJ brought up has led to mediocre performances at best. This is not to say that she couldn’t improve considerably. Maybe she felt too much pressure to improve in such a short time, especially considering all the chips were down on the LJ for the Olympics.

The arm problem is a very old issue with Marion, moving the shoulders more than the arms themselves. It may have been someone to focus on and related with the increased frequency problem. Maybe a solution was to use a greater range of motion for the arms, the extreme exemple was former WR-holder Anisoara Cusmir, and in a less extend JJK. I think it may solver the coordination problem, and the frequency attitude that keeps her off the board and make her upper body on the right position during last 3 strides.
On the video that Thor posted, there are 2 points that we can insist on:
During take-off: her shoulders move back, that’s a facotr of loss of speed and bad way to prepare the forward spring, also the angular speed of the swing seems slower at the end of the support (the opposite is of course better). Furthermore, the leading legs’ knee isn’t as high at take-off as her +7m jumps, it was then a good indicator of her spring abilities.
During landing: it has always been Marion’s problem, and the big difference with JJK, Marion keeps her arm in front of her, while JJK moved them backward, which give some extra centimeters. Even Drechsler didn’t keep her arms in front of her.

About her quote and beeing the fastest on run-up spped, i don’t know who told her that certainly not Dan Pfaff. The long jump is not a contest of speed. You say “Dreschler wasn’t the fastest on the runway in the latter part of her career, but she was still winning major competitions because she could execute her technique consistently”, i may say: Drechsler’s loss of speed during the '90s was the condition of technical improvements.
I think Marion’s 6.82 had a toe-to-board of 0.17, which means that she did a 7.00-7.10 job in Athens, her lack of consistency comes form lack of training work at LJ… Her coach is well aware of most of these technical points, and i’m sure he did his best in the conditions he had.