Salvitore Stitchmo wrote:
3) Tegla would have hard time showing me any evidence that this situation fundamentally is new or has been created because of these shoes. I'm guessing she is referring people who have to buy shoes (ironic because I'm guessing for 90% of her career she never had to) - rewind 10 years, go to a fun-run and look at the spectrum of shoes on display. Some people had better shoes than others based on economic factors then and they do now. How does this differ from a round of golf, or a cycling race, or anything that involves the purchase of an item of sporting equipment? It doesn't. Next flawed point please...
It's a little tragic really. Tegla shouldn't feel that her legacy is infringed on because her former WR is now over 5 minutes slower than the current one and that many women now break the 2.20 mark that I would guess was her dream benchmark. Are shoes contributing to this - yes of course they are. But Grete Waitz probably could have had the same argument vs Laroupe and so on and so on.
Your argument essentially says that technological innovation is inevitable and therefore must be embraced. Two major problems with this.
1) It assumes that all innovation is either equal or equally acceptable/impactful/. i.e. you're equating things like track surface improvements with an enormous technological breakthrough.
2) It accepts all future "innovation" as legal and in line with the essence of the sport. In a world where biotechnology, gene editing, and maybe even protohumans are on the near horizon, the logic of your argument dictates that we draw no hard line, and accept everything the free market gives us as not compromising the essence of the sport.
I'm an ecologist. To me, regulating track and field is a bit like managing an ecosystem. There is no one static "ideal" because all your variables are constantly changing. You have to be adaptive in management, and look at what will create the healthiest ecosystem going forward - not recreate an ecosystem of the past before humans or certain other introduced, possibly invasive species existed.
I think it's the same with track and innovation. Can we realistically go back to a time before altitude chambers and Nike sponsorships and pollen masks? No.
But we can make intelligent, compassionate decisions that preserve the essence of the sport. When you're at a major competitive disadvantage because you don't have the right piece of $300 technology in your shoe, you're not running track and field anymore. You're competing in some kind of WWE/XFL carnival bastardization.
Under the logic of your argument, you would accept, for example, a future track surface which is made out of something like a trampoline. Say 10 people break 3:40 in the mile the first year the tech is introduced, and you'll be on here saying how salty El G is because he's written out of the history books. People don't seem to be grasping that something like this - tech like this, decisions like these - are on the immediate horizon, the bouncy shoes are but the tip of the iceberg.
You sound intelligent. Surely you realize that there is a difference between better nutrition, better coaching, better training, well-fitting shoes, and flat, even surfaces on the one hand, and, on the other, a piece of technology with a carbon fiber plate that makes people run times they couldn't have touched, outperform athletes of 5 years ago who are far superior.