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Category Archives: Frankie Fredericks
May 27, 2013Posted by on
In the sprints, an athlete aims to reach the finish line as fast as possible. Hence, he/she limits the time amount of time on the ground by being explosive. From the track literature I’ve read throughout the years, I’ve learned that stride frequency is genetic, while stride length can be improved through hard work. A sprinter can do as much explosive drills, plyometrics and Olympic lifts as humanly possible, but one’s stride frequency and explosiveness is limited by nature’s genetic endowment of fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Stride length and stride frequency are the major pillars of sprinting. A sprinter strives to achieve a balance between the two. To perfect the sprinting form, an athlete goes through a cacophony of running drills to master each facet of the deceptively simple picture-perfect sprinting form:
- Back erect
- Shoulders relaxed
- Jaw relaxed
- Arms pumping below eye level
- Hands relaxed, not tensed
- Knees pumping high like pistons
- The heel not going beyond one’s butt
- Toes dorsi-flexed
Among the elite sprinters, I like respective forms of 9-time Olympic Gold medalist Carl Lewis, 2007 Osaka 100m/200m World Champion Tyson Gay and 4-time Olympic Silver medalist Frankie Fredericks the best.
Among all the sprinters of the orthodox school, Usain Bolt epitomizes the synergy of stride frequency and stride length the best. At 6’5 (1.95m), Bolt is the tallest elite sprinter to date (Although the retired German 400m specialist Ingo Schultz is taller at 2.05m, his major achievement pale in comparison to Bolt!). Naturally, Bolt has longer legs and longer strides than most other sprinters at the world level. His height does not prove a hindrance, however, as he seems to possess a degree of explosiveness more than sufficient to outclass his shorter competitors.
Bolt seems to have ample endowments of BOTH stride length and stride frequency, despite the apparent instability of his upper body relative to other sprinters – a minor aberration to this purveyor of speed!
At 1.85m (6’1), Michael Johnson is not as physically impressive as Bolt. Pound per pound, however, Johnson is more impressive than Bolt with the former’s erstwhile 200m world record of 19.32s and current 400m WR of 43.18s. His arched back, low knee lift and short strides defies textbook sprinting form.
Johnson relies on sheer explosiveness, leg power alone and out-of-this-world speed endurance, in light of his relatively shorter strides.
Usain Bolt may be the current toast of the athletics world (despite his recent loss to Gay). Bolt has single-handedly lifted the sport on his Zeus-like back. He is every inch the sport’s premiere icon, with his stellar 100m and 200m world records. But then again, there will come a time when someone just as tall and fast as Bolt, would emulate his feats.
The chances of another maverick who epitomizes Johnson’s sprinting style is even more remote.
Simply put, if there’s a index which rates one’s ranking in the freak of nature scale, Johnson ranks higher than Bolt in my book. But on the showmanship index? Bolt is up there along with likes of Shaq!
Check out MJ’s reaction to Usain’s world record! This is priceless.
Article by Joboy Quintos
September 24, 2010Posted by on
For the longest time, I’ve been scouring the net for a longer clip of the 2003 Paris World Championships 200m Final. It was where Shingo Suetsugo (20.38) unexpectedly clung on to an historic bronze medal finish – a first for an Asian man at major athletics meets. The Asian record holder finished behind Americans John Capel (20.30) and Darvis Patton (20.31). The indefatigable Frankie Fredericks (20.47) crossed the finish line a distant 7th, not bad for 36-year old.
Results (from Sporting-Heroes.com):
- Darvis Patton (USA) – 20.31
- Shingo Suetsugu (JPN) – 20.38
- Darren Campbell (GBR) – 20.39
- Stephane Buckland (MRI) – 20.41
- Joshua Johnson (USA) – 20.47
- Frankie Fredericks (NAB) – 20.47
- Uchenna Emedolu (NGR) – 20.62
Suetsugo’s reaction when he found out he got bronze is priceless – truly priceless!
Although he did win a splendid Olympic bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, it’s pity how he faded into insignificance as an individual sprinter.
When Suetsugo and Liu Xiang both won their respective bronzes in Paris 2003, I thought that the former could go all the way to the Athens Olympics. Suetsugo should have just focused on his event, the 200m dash (20.03), instead of aiming to break the 10-second barrier in the century dash (PB – 10.03).
July 10, 2010Posted by on
We had it coming. From 10.04, 10.03 and 10.02, Young Christophe Lemaitre finally broke the 10-second barrier.
In the history of the 100m dash, almost all of the sprinters who ran under that mystical barrier were athletes of West African descent – the only exceptions were Patrick Johnson (Irish, indigenous Australian) and Frankie Fredericks (Namibian).
Lemaitre ran a 9.98s to win the French Championships, setting a new European-leading time and breaking Ronald Pognon’s erstwhile 9.99s French record. He had a fine start, demolishing the second-placer by a good 1 1/2 stride at the tape.