Wednesday 8 August 2012

USA making history for all the wrong reasons #London2012

So all three Jamaicans are into the final of the men's 200m.

Wallace Spearmon - but is he unique?
But there is something amiss. From the USA only Wallace Spearmon will line up alongside them.

So I decided to look up the record books to find out if this had ever happened before, I will of course ignore 1980 which the USA boycotted. Firstly before 1960 there were only six lanes on the bend of the tracks, but even then we go back many years still searching for such an event.

The music that plays before each medal ceremony is a clue as to who the last American to be the sole representative in the 200m final, but not it was not 1924. It was however, 4 years later and the man in question was Jackson Scholz . Although as Charlie Paddock and Henry Cumming both of the USA were fourth and the next fastest losers in the semi finals it isn't really as poor a show.

So I'm now wondering if in any of six games that the event has been run were there less and one American in the top 8?

Jackson Scholz (number 566) last time sole American in 200m final
Not in 1924 where a certain Eric Liddell's bronze, behind Scholz and Paddock prevented them taking the top four places and a certain Harold Abrahams was the sixth man in the final.

Nor in 1920 when Paddock was again stuck in silver behind team mate Allen Woodring with another in fourth with Great Britain again denying the clean sweep. So we have to look pre-Great War.

In 1912 the top three were again USA, USA, Great Britain with two more Americans in the final.

1908 there were only 4 lanes but the USA still managed half the finalists and two of the medals though Canada took gold in the first London Games. 1904 in St Louis they had all four finalists and in 1900 there were two of the four finalists again from the USA.

Therefore on a equal basis the USA have never failed to get at least two men into the top 8 of the 200m in history! Only once before in 1928 have they failed to get two men into the final.

So Maurice Mitchell posting the only the eighth fastest loser time (outside the top two in the three semis) and Isiah Young posting the slowest of the 23 men who finished have set a little bit of USA Olympic history that nobody was expecting.

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