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Masters Runners Today Can Run With Olympians of 1896

January 06, 2024 2 min read

Masters Runners Today Can Run With Olympians of 1896

David Gibbon, 57, would win the 100-meter dash in the 1896 Olympics. Here he is in the Huntsman World Senior Games. Photo by The Huntsman World Senior Games.

 

By Ray Glier

The 100-meter champion in the 1896 Olympics in Athens, Greece was Thomas Burke of the U.S. He ran the race in 12 seconds. He was 21 years old.

David Gibbon won the 100-meter dash at the USATF Masters Outdoors Championships in 11.67 seconds. He was 57.

There are few starker examples of the evolution of athletes than the sprints. But it goes across all sports.

Many more Major League Baseball pitchers throw 98-100 mph than even 30 years ago. The number of pitches 100 mph has tripled in just the last three years.

This week, five NBA teams scored 140 points in one night of games. Four scored 130...and lost. Over the last 125 years, strength and speed have increased dramatically in all sports because of training and modern medicine (bio mechanics) and the inclusion of Black athletes in the record-keeping.

Growing Bolder studied more than track to trace the evolution and how senior athletes out-pace the stars 125 years ago. It looked at swimming, too, with this report.

Here is something else that will not surprise you.

Athletes of today could be even better if they executed. I talk to NFL scouts about this. Too much attention is paid to skill and not enough to pulling off the athletic move itself. Too much time is paid to "travel ball" games in basketball and baseball and not enough time is paid to technique.

You only had to watch the Michigan-Alabama college football playoff game to see the lack of execution, from muffed kicks to missed blocks. In the NBA, as shooting the ball as improved, teams have regressed in their ability to defend the 3-point line or defend the Euro step. Baseball, as an industry, has regressed as far as footwork on the bases.

Just think how much better the athletes, and games, could be with more execution.

(Here is an interview with Gibbon by The Huntsman World Senior Games.)


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