What I Learned Watching the Olympics

Specifically, what I learned watching the 800m heats this evening, regarding the 800m-
And to expand on the last point, very rarely is there an American of anything approaching quality or prominence in any race longer than 800m, either.

So why is this?

Unsurprisingly, I have a theory. In two parts:
i) explosive speed over short distances
ii) leaping ability
iii) brute strength
So, where does that leave the United States track and field team? Well, these are actually pretty good predictors of the events that the U.S. traditionally dominates - 100m, 200m and 400m sprints, hurdles and relays (esp. relays, given absurd depth of the United States' athletes); long jump; decathalon; the throwing sports (javelin, shot put, hammer, discus [which I really think an ultimate player should train for for 2008]).

These sports are emphasized, at this point, both for their training ability, the United States' traditional dominance, and also - their ease. The tools that are developed in other sports are easily translated into these events, which in turn help hone those abilities.

So - 800m+ races? What sport is there where running half a mile straight, with proper pacing and race strategy, comes in handy?


The 800m.

Plenty of sprinters and shot-putters went on to the NFL, or vice versa - not so much with the middle distance.

Not that there's anything wrong with that...it's just that, well, there's really no reason the United States should ever lose, at anything.

I'd argue that the 800 would be a good test/distance for soccer. Though we don't seem to value that as highly as say basketball, or especially football.

Nice theory though. Seems solid.
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