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Rethinking Track And Field


Author: Alphonse Juilland, Edited By William D. Gairdner.

Why do we run the distances we do? Will women ever outrun men? What is the ideal physique for men and women in each track and field event? Should we have weight classes for throwing events? When are we likely to see a three-minute mile? What are the all-time best records in track and field history?

These are just a few of the questions colourfully examined by Alphonse Juilland, famous literary scholar and Masters world record sprinter, in this groundbreaking book. Juilland, who was born in Romania and educated in France, and was a longtime professor of linguistics at Stanford University in California, is famous in the track and field community for his detailed examination of the sport and his visionary recommendations.

Every page of RETHINKING TRACK AND FIELD bristles with unusual insights, whether the professor is musing about handicapping humans like horses, comparing throwers to runners, calling for a new “democracy” of sport, or completely rethinking all the hurdling, jumping, throwing, and relay events.

Alphonse Juilland, Ph.D., who died in June of 2000, published many scholarly articles and books in his lifetime. In 1994 he became a literary celebrity for the publication by Gallimard of his book ELIZABETH AND LOUIS, a fascinating record of his successful ten-year sleuthing effort to discover and then interview the long-lost 86-year-old lover and muse of the famous French novelist, Louis-Ferdinand Celine. In his late 40s, Juilland suddenly stopped smoking, dropped 30 pounds, and proceeded to establish three Masters World Records for his age-class in the 100 and 200 metre sprints. It was his personal success as an athlete that caused him to rethink the entire sport of track and field.

Table of Contents


Foreword: By Roberto L. Quercetani
Editor’s Foreword
Track and Field on Trial: An acrimonious debate with myself
Chapter One
The Challenge: Rethinking old events
False starts, starting blocks and laser beams
The One-tenth Delay, and the Art of Anticipation
False Starts and Laser Beams
Starting blocks, starting gates, and running starts
Refined timing?
Photo or laser beam finish?
Relays: why passing zones?
The “Freestyle” Sprint Relay
High Jumping And Pole Vaulting Without “Missing”?
Bars or laser beams?
The tumbling high jump
“Diving” prohibited
Two-foot take-off prohibited
Should Tumbling Be Approved?
How to measure high jumps
The Important Difference Between the Best Jumper,
and The Highest Jump
Who is the best jumper, as distinct from the highest
Should we try another way to rank winners?
The boardless long and triple jumps
The triple jump: a misunderstanding?
Hop-step-and-jump or hop-hop-and-jump?
Hop-step, or hop-hop
The decuple jump?
Is the pole vault a “dying” event?
Be done with throwing circles!
About foul lines and circles
About the freedom of throwing
About throwing rules and restrictions
About running and throwing
About freedom and innovation
Be done with foul lines?
Chapter Two
Gender war, or gender gap?
Will women ever outrun men?
Women in sports
Questions to physiologists
Percentage of men’s records
Should women compete with men?
Women racing against men
Women jumping against men
Women throwing against men
Do women have more endurance than man?
Ultra-marathon distances
The Paris-Vladivostok race
Historical sketch of the women’s marathon record
Too good to be true?
The 1993 chinese women’s records
Womens vs. Men
The time lag: How many years behind men?
The frequency of records: how often?
How much should women’s implements weigh?
Chapter Three
Physical attributes, performance, & the democracy
The recordmen’s physiques, by event
Physical ranking of events
The recordwomen’s physique
Summary by event

Physical ranking of events

Should flyweights throw against heavyweights?
Women and gigantism
About shot-putters and weightlifters
About boxer and throwers
Throwers and the weight of implements
About customized implements
Who is the best pound-for-pound decathlete?
Record points and recordmen’s height
Record points and recordmen’s weight
Record points and recordmen’s density
The best pound-per-pound decathletes ranked
Contributions to the decathlon record
Decathlon scores ranked as a percentage of the sum
of contemporary open records
The decathlon and world records
Recordmen and age: Youngest/Oldest
Average age by event
Youngest and oldest by event
Recordwomen and age: Youngest/Oldest
Average age by event
Youngest & oldest by event
Chapter four
The best athletes & performances ever, regardless of
date or event
Can performances be compared regardless of date and event?
Can early records be compared with recent ones?
The ten best men’s records ever
The ten best women’s records ever
Ten best records ever-whether male or female
The ten best recordmen ever
The ten best recordwomen ever
The ten best record-holders ever, whether male or female
The progression of men’s records Frequency
The progression of women’s records Frequency
Chapter five
About breaking world records: easier in some events than others
Time, space, and records
Time/Distance or percentage record-breaking minima?
About surfaces and records: men/women
Olympic years and world records: men/women
Chapter Six
Trying new events: the need for innovation
The need for solo races and records
Fixed-distance races, and fixed-time races. Racing against the clock
The “Fastest human” or the 20 – meter dash
Distance and Speed
Maximum speed and optimum distance
Intermediate sprinting times
The highest peak, the fastest human?
Best 10 meters out of the blocks
Best 20 meters out of the blocks
Best 10 metres with a running start
Best 20 meters with a running start
The women’s 110 meter, and the men’s 120 meter hurdles?

A Radical Innovation! …Let’s try “Hurdle Zones”
High throwing?
Long vaulting?
Chapter Seven
Why do we do what we do? Some anomalies, curiosities, and paradoxes
What is the logic of the distances we run?
Straights, turns and ovals
A puzzling sequence
The 500 meter ovals
The advantages of the 500 meter oval
Races on the 500m oval
Is there life left in the old 500 meter ovals?
Why do we throw the weights we throw?
Are the two shortest and two longest track races redundant?
Is the 100 redundant? Or is it the 200m?
Olympic Double Medalists
Is the 5000m superfluous? Or is it the 10000m?
So you think you know who “The fastest man in the world” is? Think again!
How good is Michael Johnson’s 19.32”?
Morceli: Another record, another barrier
Chronology of the record
The all-time 3000m recordmen’s race
The 10,000m considered as 5,000m + 5,000m
10,000m as 10 x 1000m
The recordmen’s age
Some improvement slopes for the curious.
1) the Mile
Mile record “Periods”
2) The high jump
3) The shot put
About running humans and galloping horses
Handicapping humans like horses
Many sports have been caught in the gigantization/miniaturization trap
Chapter eight
Peering into the future: bionic men and women?
Men: projections and predictions
Predicting the past
Predicting the future
Women: projections and predictions
Can Johnson run: 100m in 9.79?, 200m in 18.99’’?
300m in 30.99’’?, 400m in 42.99’’?
500m in 59.99’’?, 800m in 1:39.99’’?
Will we ever see a 3 minute mile? Don’t hold your breath. It is predicted to come around may, 3045!
Bionic men and women?
When will we see a 10,000 point decathlon? Answer: perhaps by 2076
The 9000 points decathlon
The 10000 point decathlon

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Published by:
SEP Editrice - Italy