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WIC 2012 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

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WIC 2012 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby paul » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:43 pm

Seems worthy of its own thread, as the greatest pentathlon comp in history.

Skujyte got a NR too, but no room to fit it on the subject line!
Last edited by paul on Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby hemlock » Sat Mar 10, 2012 1:54 pm

If Ennis ever does another PEN in her life (and she might well not)
I can easily see her getting 5100.
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby AllanW » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:21 am

hemlock wrote:I can easily see her getting 5100.


I'd love to think so but can't at the moment. I’m beginning to fear that at this rarefied level of extreme achievement, Jess is revealing a lack of something that makes the difference between extraordinary achievement and a nice medal.

Let me say to start with that I’d like to watch nothing better than a win for her in every competition this year and I sincerely hope she rectifies whatever needs to be changed in order to triumph at the OG. And of course we should all recognise that her achievements so far have been terrific, thrilling and worthwhile as well as beyond the scope of all but a few competitors. With those caveats to set the tone I’d like to make a point about that final few percentage points of performance that in close championships can make the difference between first and rest because only from a harsh look at reality can the possibility of correcting any problem, even and especially small ones, be capitalised upon.

Jess has failed at Daegu and Istanbul to convert a strong lead into a gold medal. It might seem to a superficial inspection that the two cases are different and unique but I’d be interested to hear from anyone else on here whether they agree with me that a common thread might be developing. Even if a plot of two data points does not make a strong line on the graph, why wait until the third point reveals the trend before accepting the issue is real and doing something preventive?

What’s the thread? Let’s see. In Daegu it was her javelin achievement; could this be characterised as a physically or technically predictable performance? I would argue it couldn’t for the reason that her physical and technical preparations for that competition (as for so many over her career) produced five lifetime PB’s that put her into a winning position before that discipline. Is her javelin expectation lower than she wishes? Yes. Is it one of the weaker disciplines for her? Yes. But did her performance stick out as uncharacteristic in terms of her other relative and personal performances? Absolutely. But we can say that the reasons for it could not reasonably be presumed to have been physical as she demonstrated over and over again her physical capability. And while she may not have been as confident of her javelin going into the competition, that in no way explains how far her javelin throws were below even her expected norms. We must look for other explanations.

This weekend in Istanbul the wrecking performance was her Long Jump. No link there in any way to javelin is there? Throw versus jump; speed/spring requirement versus strength/flex requirement. And once again we can discount physical or technical factors as likely explanations as she once again demonstrated this weekend a fantastic level of training and preparation prowess that translated into PB’s and championship highs. Nothing wrong there in my opinion. So what is the thread?

I would argue it is an issue of mental strength. Nothing physical or technical, she should continue doing what she is now as it is hugely effective. I’d argue that the two isolated and uncharacteristically low discipline performances at Daegu and Istanbul came at the same point in the competition and that is their connection, the thread that joins them. The javelin at Daegu and the Long Jump in Istanbul were the disciplines going into which Jess had a strong lead and which she and everyone else would have said if asked that a par performance in each would have put her in an all-but-unassailable position. They proved to be the high-points of both competitions for her.

Her runs in each competition after these events were extremely strong and I’d argue that she would have reproduced the passion and intensity she exhibited in them to retain her lead and deliver the gold as she did to attempt to wrest control back towards herself after what actually happened. No one can dispute her heart as evidenced by the extraordinary exertion of those runs. But I think it is true to say that the javelin in Daegu and the Lung Jump in Istanbul were the points in those competitions that represented the last chance for her competitors to catch her. Or from her perspective (which is much more apposite) the points at which she could effectively closeout the medal. And she failed both times.

Now if we think that physical and technical factors can reasonably be ruled-out as explanations for the stumbles, what is left, however unpalatable, must be considered. Does she lack a killer instinct?

I repeat; I have nothing but respect for her, her team and her achievements to date and wish nothing but success for her. And I hope I’m wrong or that I’m right and she puts this last two percent of weaponry into place in time for London.
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby usedtoit33 » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:04 pm

It would be ironic if the problem is mental, as Ennis is a psychology graduate. It's possible, but I do think the LJ is slightly exceptional as there is a physical element there as she is taking off from the 'wrong' foot and doesn't get the height she needs.
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby Geoff » Mon Mar 12, 2012 1:17 pm

All the heptathletes have strengths and weaknesses and all are prone to a poor performance. Chernova wasn't exactly firing on all cylinders in Turkey.

As usedtoit has said the long jump is both a physical and technical issue having changed take off legs. I had to do it for a season a long time ago and managed ok but down on my best and it didn't feel right. It wasn't a natural feeling.

The javelin is, likewise, not a natural event for Jess. She has had to work very hard and overcome a lack of natural throwing talent for javelin to improve from high 20's to 47m which is just about acceptable. I don't think it's just a mental issue as both are in part physical and technical.

Having said that I did think she was a little tense/tight in Turkey so maybe there is an element of pressure/expectation on her especially as I heard her agent was getting emails almost every minute requesting her services!
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby Dutch » Mon Mar 12, 2012 2:17 pm

paul wrote:Seems worthy of its own thread, as the greatest pentathlon comp in history.

I think there was a greater one in 1972.
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby paul » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:12 pm

So many interesting and thought provoking points made above!

Ennis may well have some chinks in her mental armour
(I bet she and TM have tried to examine that side of things -- but it must be so tricky),
but it seems like all the great multi-eventers have their foibles.

Dobby, JJ-K and Kluft are among my great heroes in athletics, but they are all a couple
of bricks short of a full hod if you ask me.
(Dobby went walkabout for 4 years. Kluft -- nailed-on athletics genius -- just imploded completely.
Chernova has regular wobbles. Sotherton, who I admire to the moon, is not what you'd call
level-headed. Etc.)

What did Tyrell say in blade runner? "The candle that burns twice as bright burns half as long"?
And whatever you might think about Ennis' mental approach, the fire that burns out of her is
a wonder to behold.

(For myself I long ago decided that it is enough for Ennis to be _fit_ for the Olympics.
If she is, the twists and turns of the London HEP will set this whole country on fire, whatever the final outcome.)
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby paul » Mon Mar 12, 2012 3:20 pm

Dutch wrote:
paul wrote:Seems worthy of its own thread, as the greatest pentathlon comp in history.

I think there was a greater one in 1972.


LOL

By all accounts Peters and Dobrynska are both really fine characters, so I shouldn't joke.
But
70's era Peters vs Dobby
is one pub car-park fight I'd definitely pay to see!
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby sidelined » Mon Mar 12, 2012 5:18 pm

I don't go along with AllanW's analysis. At the Birmingham indoors Jess's series of jumps was 5.91, 6.22, 6.15, 6.47, 6.19, 6.15. That 6.47 was clearly an outlier. She wasn't in a pressure situation so it seems to me that her long-jump problems are technical, as others have said.

Also, in Daegu things began to go wrong right at the start when she hit a hurdle and then didn't get the result she wanted in the high-jump. I thought then that it would be impossible for her to win. She's says she's done a lot of work on her hurdles this winter - and look at the result. Maybe she hasn't been working so much on the high-jump because it's usually one of her strongest events.

When she was a junior she often had a huge lead on the first day and then lost it on the second - hardly surprising given that her weaker events come towards the end of the competition. They still do.

In Istanbul I was struck by the image of her lining up for the hurdles - a tiny wee thing flanked by seven Amazonian giants. And she beat them all - in that event anyway.
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby AllanW » Tue Mar 13, 2012 7:52 pm

Many thanks for the considered responses; much appreciated.

With regard to her LJ I fully understand the point about using the ‘wrong’ foot for takeoff; one of the senior members who trains with my son has been forced for a year or more to do just that and while he can now consistently achieve what he used to achieve off the other foot one is inevitably left rueful at what he might be scoring now off his correct side.

And while I’m always willing to listen to considered opinions from sidelined I don’t know if I’m terribly swayed by his point about her LJ; that her early season indoor form indicated a consistent achievement around 6.20m with her 6.47m being a one-off so we should reasonably have expected no more than she got. Last year in meetings at Gotzis, Birmingham, Glasgow and Daegu (most of the times she performed the LJ that year) she got above 6.36m; those four meetings resulting in 6.37, 6.38, 6.44 and 6.51 so I’m not convinced she has a technical problem and that 6.30 or even 6.35m should have been unthinkable in Istanbul.

As I said, every multi event athlete has weaker disciplines and bad days and that may well be the only necessary explanation for her failure to convert those two golden chances. Yet if she wants to win in the Summer the last two championships have shown her that she cannot afford those weaknesses or those bad days. And she needs to cover every possible angle.

I’m sure she’s working on them with her team and I wish her nothing but success with all my heart.
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby paul » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:44 pm

A bad day, Allan?

Ennis's day produced the third greatest PEN score ever. Only the previous WR and Dobby's new WR above her.

Boy would I like to have one of Ennis's bad days!

When you take on the whole world, even if you are the best in your era (as Ennis might well be), you can't legislate
against someone experiencing a perfect storm of high scores on the day.
Losing to a WR despite a PB and a near WR is just something you have to take on the chin. It is not a bad day.

If Hazel (say) gets 7300 WR in the Olympic HEP and Ennis gets 7260 for silver (roughly the HEP equivalent of what
happened in the PEN on Friday), that would not be a "bad day" for Ennis.
That would be a great day.
Wouldn't it?
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Re: WIC 2112 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby AllanW » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:18 pm

paul wrote:That would be a great day.
Wouldn't it?


By any normal measure it would, yes.

But as I said at the start of my first comment, we are not talking about normal here. You and I would be grateful for any medal I'm sure. Here we are talking about the difference between medals and greatness, those fine margins that distinguish silver from gold when records are being set. In fact, exactly the circumstances she faced in Daegu and Istanbul.

We're talking not about the difference between the whole population and those in the top ten percent. We're not talking about the ten percent of the population who might have been good athletes compared to the one percent who become top class. We're talking about that elite sliver of fractions of one percent who achieve top class but distinguish themselves from all the other top class competitors. The greats.

The greats don't think that silver represented a great day ...
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Re: WIC 2012 Pentathlon: Dobby 5013 WR; Ennis 4965 NR

Postby d pickup » Sat Mar 17, 2012 1:35 pm

One interesting difference between Dobrynska and Ennis in Istanbul was that Dob was pretty close to her PB in 4 events and did a PB in the 5th event. She had many PBs back in her Gold in Beijing 08 OLY HEP effort.

Yes one can't expect a seasoned athlete to have PBs in all events but really cracking up with just one is usually enough to snuff the gold chance.

Gotzis in May will be a very interesting event to observe.
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