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Discussion: Men’s relay

in: Spike; Spike > 2019-08-17

Aug 18, 2019 1:38 AM # 
So... 36 years.
But then there were fewer countries, with the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia and no countries like Turkey, Brazil, and the Koreas (the newer countries are below us generally so that doesn’t affect placement of course). And several countries we used to be competitive with, or beat, have improved a lot —Spain is a good example.
No matter how you look at it, the US men did better today than in a long time (thank you Euro-Americans!). It is great to see.
Aug 18, 2019 2:44 AM # 
Pink Socks:
The FB page also recently said that it was Eric Bone's 20th WOC, which it isn't. It's his 19th.

It's also the most WOC appearances by any man ever, as Eric and Thierry were tied at 18 going into this year. I would have thought that they would have mentioned it (or they did and I missed it).
Aug 18, 2019 12:34 PM # 
Facebook pages aren't exactly known for being accurate!

I got curious, so I looked at the men's placing beginning in 1979: 14, 13, 14, 14, 15, 16, 20, 24, 25, 21, 25, 25, MP/DNF(?), 25, 22, 28, 29, 26, 24, 28, 7, 29, 27, 28, 28, 28, 24, 29, 20.

Five big changes over the 40 years:

Break up of the USSR added several new teams (1992)
Spread of orienteering across the world (adding, nations like Brazil, China, Turkey etc).
Shift to WOC every year (beginning in 2004)
Shift to relay with just 3 legs (2003)
TV/Spectator focus - shorter legs, more running marked routes.

Also, running in 20 WOCs is kind of amazing.
Aug 18, 2019 8:24 PM # 
Yeah, we should do something publicly to celebrate Eric's 19th WOC. Maybe get a card signed by all of his WOC teammates ever? Not even sure if all are still living...
Aug 18, 2019 9:17 PM # 
Biggest age gap of Eric's teammates?
Aug 18, 2019 10:07 PM # 
Are you a WOC teammate of Eric Bone? I am! 1997 in Grimstad, Norway.
Aug 19, 2019 12:13 AM # 
I am! 2003,2005,2006,2007,2012,2013
Aug 19, 2019 12:32 AM # 
Congrats to the US team. The top 20 must also be one of the better (if not best) % behind winner performances in a while. It was fun to watch.

Incidentally the Canadian women best the US women by a very similar margin to what the American men beat the Canadian men by (BTW two Canadian men’s relay team members haven’t had their 21st birthdays yet).
Aug 19, 2019 4:50 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Nev, my first guess would be Julia D (b 2000, WOC 2017 & 2018), and Sharon C (b 1944, WOC 1997).
Aug 19, 2019 4:57 AM # 
Pink Socks:
Just keeping it to CascadeOC clubmates at WOC, it would be Tyra (b 1998, WOC 2017 & 2018), and Debbie N (b 1954, WOC 1995).
Aug 19, 2019 7:16 AM # 
I gotta admit that when I think about Eric and WOC the image that first comes to mind is the blood streaming down his face after a collision with Mike Smith in the sprint in 2006 in Denmark.
Aug 19, 2019 2:29 PM # 
But will those young guys on the Canadian team become as good as John Fredrickson became?!

Seems like yesterday that Eric Bone and James Scarbourough were big rivals as juniors.
Aug 20, 2019 12:55 PM # 
That would be a great stat to see, % behind for both US and CAN through the years.
Aug 20, 2019 1:24 PM # 
I had a spreadsheet with WOC relays. I tracked the US results as a percent of the winners'. I don't have it anymore. My recollection was that 1983 was the best for the US men.

1983: the US men's time was 4:41:42 (121.1 percent of the winning time)
2019: the US men's time was 2:01:42 (121.1 percent of the winning time)
Aug 20, 2019 1:49 PM # 
Yeah, I was going to suggest normalizing the results somehow; percent behind the winners works well. Amazing the ‘83 and ‘19 teams were the same! Hmm, does that mean we’ve seen zero improvement?? Or, more charitably, we’re back to where we once were and perhaps should be.
Aug 21, 2019 11:34 AM # 
I used to use two measures: percent behind the winner and placing within a group of "similar" nations (like Canada, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland..I don't remember the whole list). I think that is a pretty good way of comparing results over time.

I don't think people are actually interested in doing that.
Aug 23, 2019 3:16 PM # 
Objectively assessing the data is not a good way to reinforce prior beliefs.
Aug 24, 2019 4:12 PM # 
I would be very interested in you reviving that, Spike.
Aug 26, 2019 6:10 PM # 
All of Eric's WOC teammates' names and the years they competed can be found here:

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