too many distractions + committing to running is not "cool". jobs, making $$$,internet, tv, movies, social events, etc. distract those with potential from training. US guys feel like they are "missing out on fun" that comes with these things if they commit to running. look at all the US guys between 2:20-2:30, tons of em. the 2:20-2:30 range is the new 2:10-2:20 for US marathoners.
old post from Renato:
Performances that 20-30 years ago were normal for European people (and also American : think of Johnny Gray, Barbosa, David Mack in 800m, Cram, Coe, Ovett, Spivey, Steve Scott in 1500, Moorcroft and Maree in 5000m, Mamede, Lopes, Antibo, Cova, Nenow, Salazar in 10000m, Mahmoud, Rowland, Panetta, Lambruschini, Garderud, Malinowski, Baumgartl, Maminski, Marsh, Croghan, Wesolowski in steeple), now are an exception, and always in a fast race dominated by African runners, while many years ago our athletes were the winners.
So, if is true that African runners were able to improve (but I think that Kenyans of 20 years ago were better than Kenyan of today : the difference is in more professionality and more selection today, because now running is a business, before was a pleasure), is more true that our technological society doesn't seem able to produce now the same talent of many years ago.
Speaking about middle-distance, we are now living a come-back to illiteracy, forgetting all what we learnt before.
New generations have no hystorical memory, and think that what happen today is all what is possible to do. That's the reason because many talk about doping also regarding normal performances, "deja vou" in the past without any particular assistance.
If Ron Clarke was able running in 27'39" in 1965 (38 years ago !) and at the moment no US runners are able running so fast, is because Kenyans are doped ? You understand how stupid thought is this one, and how much limited it is for the development of your activity.
Europe has yet Jon Brown, Keska, Vroemen, some Spanish, but we must recognize that they are not real number one, like were our top runners in the past.
The current generation talks about AMUSEMENT every time. Our world pushes for living every kind of amusement, that means TO ESCAPE FROM A LIFE THAT PEOPLE DON'T LIKE. Now is very difficult to find ideals, and there is no more the taste of winning something using your own ability.
In 1960, Herbert Elliot (22 years old) won OG beating the World Record with 3'35"6. That one was the last race of his career.
For winning Olympics, he took holidays from his job, beeing OG in September, and working Elliot as the most part of normal people.
At that time, there were three possibilities for using your time : for a job (and all people worked for living), for fun, for doing something that was your passion. So, not beeing possible to do well all the three activities, PASSION HAD TO COINCIDE WITH FUN, so every athlete spent his time working and training (and, of course, competing) without thinking about other amusements, because ATHLETICS ITSELF WAS A FUN.
Now, nobody wants to forgo the amusement, SO ATHLETES WANT THAT TRAINING AND COMPETING COINCIDE WITH THEIR JOB.
Young people speak about "big sacrifices" for training, forgoing many types of amusements with great regrets.
This is a way to look at athletics activity not "positive". The motivation and the pleasure to reach some results in an activity that you love must be greater than the regret of what you don't do.
This is not an African attitude. Who wants to succeed, during the period of his activity is concentrated only in training and in competing, and doesn't lack other activities.
So, western athletes have too much waste of concentration in their activity, because that one is our lifestyle.
This is the reason because I cannot train a white runner for winning a medal in OG (also if, for example, Sergey Lebid was silver in WCCCh two years ago).
But someone has to think that, if it's easy for a coach of Kenyans to win races against white runners, is not so easy to win against other african runners... That one is the current challenge for testing your methodology.