2011 & 1888 Goodwin Champions – track athletes

18 07 2011

Another sport that had different athletes in both the 2011 and original Goodwin Champions sets was track and field.  Both sets had a sprinter and an athlete from the “field” part of track and field.

The original Goodwin set had a high jumper by the name of William Byrd Page, a competitor for the University of Pennsylvania.  Page was the best high jumper in the world for a time – in his senior season he set the world record, becoming the first athlete to clear 6′ 4″.  This was done at a time when they didn’t have the pads to create the “soft landing”, and the modern jumping techniques like the Fosbury Flop had not yet been established.

The field athlete in the 2011 set is former world record decathlete, Bruce Jenner.  Jenner was a football player who was forced to switch to the decathlon due to a knee injury, and qualified for the Olympics only 2 years after picking up the sport.  Four years later, he took home the gold medal in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.  Jenner smashed the world record and held onto it for 4 more years.  Jenner was viewed as an American hero, because he took back the title of “best athlete in the world” from the Russians during the Cold War era.

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Lon Myers was featured in the 1888 set.  Myers was known as possibly the best sprinter / middle-distance runner from 19th century track and field.  At various times, he held world records in the 100, the 440 and 880 yard dashes.  This is an incredible width of talent that would be unthinkable today.  In the 1880 American Championships, he won all four races from 100 to 880 yards, an incredible display of versatility and durability.  He was the first man to run under 50 seconds in the 440.

Tyson Gay is today’s sprinter featured in the 2011 set.  Gay is the American record holder in the 100-meter dash, so he’s the current “fastest man in America”.  His 9.69 mark in the 100-meter is the second fastest of all time, behind Usain Bolt’s 9.58.  He also holds the third fastest time in the 200-meter – his time of 19.58 leads that of “mere mortals”, behind only Bolt’s 19.19 and Michael Johnson’s 19.32.  He won an incredible triple of the 100, 200 and 4×100 in the 2007 World Championships, a feat one-upped a year later by Bolt matching that performance in the Beijing Olympics.

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