the race for records turns the world of athletics upside down

Thunderclap a year ago at the Vienna Marathon. Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge breaks the legendary two-hour mark by covering the 42.195 km of the event in 1 h 59 m 40 s 2. Same astonishment, Wednesday, October 7, on the athletics track in Valence. In quick succession, two world records fell. In 14.6s62, the Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey blew up by more than four seconds that of the 5000m held since 2008 by her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba. In 26 m 11 s 00, the Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei pulverized by more than six seconds that of the 10 000 m owned since 2005 by the legend of the race Kenenisa Bekele.

Common points between these performances, one year apart: their exceptional conditions and the debates they arouse. In Vienna, Kipchoge was surrounded by an army of “hares”, a peloton preceded by a car projecting lasers on the ground representing the ideal pace, and wearing Nike Vaporfly with carbon blades, a controversial “super-shoe” (1 ). In Valencia, the challenge set up especially to panic the stopwatch also included handpicked hares, “wavelight” technology displaying flashing lights on the perimeter of the infield showing the pace to stick to the record, and the two heroes of the evening benefited from Nike ZoomX Dragonfly, a spiked “super-shoe” which also questions.

The shoes of discord

Between the two events, the International Federation, World Athletics, tried to adapt to limit the controversies. She first set footwear rules in January 2020 “With the aim of preserving the integrity of sport”: champions must wear models accessible to all, sole thickness is limited and only one integrated carbon plate allowed. In July 2020, the regulations were amended to further review the thickness of spiked shoes dedicated to the track, from 30 mm to 20 mm for sprint shoes, to 25 mm for cross-country shoes (over 800 m) .

Except that. The debate on shoes is revived by the performances of the Valencia evening. Who are called to repeat themselves. The proof three days later with the Dutch Sifan Hassan who atomizes on October 10, in 29 m 36 s 67, the European record of 10,000 m established in 2002 by the British Paula Radcliffe. 25 seconds saved, and in the rain! With, again, Nike shoes. Magic?

“The gain is real but very difficult to measure, underlines the trainer Pierre-Jean Vazel. Manufacturers say 4% better on running economy, that is, the energy expended to have a stride at maximum efficiency. But it depends on the level of the athlete, his way of running, his specialty. “ World Athletics experts have been following the case for over a year, with no clear conclusion so far. After Nike, other manufacturers have gotten up to speed, at least for non-stadium races. But the problem is moving on the track. Should we review the rules again? Will sprint disciplines be the next to be turned upside down?

Tradition versus technology

Some, like the American biomechanist Geoff Burns of the University of Michigan, said they were recently convinced that preparation for the Tokyo Games would be altered. Pierre-Jean Vazel is more skeptical: “It strikes me as really complicated to develop a shoe that is ideal for everyone, as the Nike model seems to be for cross-country races. “

However, voices are raised against the conditions of the records, others to demand a reset of the counters to zero, comparing the new shoes to swimming suits banned in 2010 after months of storm in the pools. “Faced with the bleeding of fans and the changes imposed by the Covid, it is simply a question of adapting and making our sport more interesting”, defended after Valence Jos Hermens, former long-distance runner and agent of Letesenbet Gidey and Joshua Chiptegei.

“Athletics finds itself at the forefront of current questions because it retains a certain romanticism of performance, a reflection of man alone in the face of his limits., points out for his part Pierre-Jean Vazel. The question of technological evolution has arisen regularly since the 1960s with incessant improvements. But records have long been viewed positively, synonymous with progress. They are no longer so today in an era that questions precisely this notion of progress. The pure image of athletics would be in danger, threatened by the technological dictatorship. Perhaps we should question this perception, think about and debate innovation in sport more broadly. “

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Effervescence among equipment manufacturers

With its profitable choice of thick sole, Nike has taken a good step ahead of its competitors. They are all pushing to catch up. On the road, the investments made urgently are starting to pay off. On September 5, the Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir erased in 1 h 5 m 34 s the world record for the half marathon exclusively female of the Ethiopian Netsanet Gudeta of more than 30 seconds. Secret weapon: the Adizero Adios Pro model from Adidas, replica to Nike super-shoes. The fight is inevitably severe in this market, the most lucrative. It is estimated at 500 million euros in France alone. On the track, Nike is still in the lead. But his rivals have not said their last word. Puma released its new model of pointe shoes for the sprint before the summer with a slogan in the form of a promise: “Faster than the wind”.

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Hamburg and Hecking miss Bundesliga relegation

AWhen the groundbreaking decisions for the upcoming second division season were made a good year ago, Hamburg SV received applause in turn. Dieter Hecking, 55, came as a well-known coach, Jonas Boldt had made a name for himself as sports director at Bayer 04 Leverkusen. The team seemed well mixed from professionals with missions in the Bundesliga and those who knew the second division.

Hunt, Jatta, Leibold and Harnik, plus Kittel, Fein, Kinsombi and Dudziak: Only VfB Stuttgart had a nobler squad. Lewis Holtby and Pierre-Michel Lasogga had also left, names and faces that stood for failed and unsuccessful high-price policies. Bernd Hoffmann, the shrewd chairman of the board, who understood the coach heavyweight, sat even more: Hecking respected. Whatever helps if Hoffmann actually adheres to leaving the sporting area publicly uncommented.

The fact that there were a lot of new management personnel again because coach Hannes Wolf and sports director Ralf Becker had been fired after fourth place in the 2018/19 season, went down, so hopeful were the Hamburgers that they finally found the right person in a responsible position. When HSV was first after eleven games and 24 points, some of which were well played out, the whole thing seemed as coherent as rarely in the past ten years. The expectations here are not that big anymore. Quiet pole Hecking would fix it, definitely this season! Hamburg loved this coach in late summer 2019. And the trainer felt comfortable. 30 of 69 possible points from the following 23 games have been added. The stable ascent construction became a block tower like the one built by three-year-olds.

13 trainers since 2010

Now there is no stone on the other. Or? In fact, the traditional club is in a tight spot again. Expressly, no more guilty parties are to be sought and found, no individuals who are then chased by the court. That’s what Boldt stands for. He wants to get away from hiring and firing the coaches within a year – the HSV has worn 13 coaches since 2010. The usual reflex should be absent this time, and therefore Hecking has the chance to continue his work despite the embarrassment on Sunday. Whatever he wants. “I’m not a fickle person,” he said when he confidently found words for the 1: 5 against SV Sandhausen and his role in this so disappointing 2019/20 series: “We started as a whole and are now as a whole failed.”

Boldt had said that Hecking was his first point of contact. He stays with it. But does Boldt decide at all? Or Marcell Jansen? The president of HSV eV and chief controller of HSV Fußball AG has so far only said nothing – which does not have to be a good thing for Hecking and Boldt.

The question is: does consistency help, does turning away from the one-year trainer principle help when there is no conviction that the right person is on the bench? Continuity just for the sake of consistency cannot be a solution. Boldt, team planner Michael Mutzel and chief scout Claus Costa certainly made mistakes. The thin and weak central defense urgently needed reinforcements during the winter break. Unlike in the storm, where loan player Joel Pohjanpalo was the only ray of hope in the second half, Jordan Beyer did not help in the defense.

Overall, however, the Hecking leadership fulfilled many wishes. The coach was unable to stabilize the defense despite many changes – the five goals conceded on the last matchday and four last-minute goals showed where HSV wasted their promotion. One point from the last three games, ten points from the nine games since the restart: As a year ago, HSV slumped in the most important phase of the season. The team practically challenged goals against the Kielers and the Heidenheimers. It receded meter by meter. The burden of climbing had to be heavy.


As the Stuttgart sports director Sven Mislintat said at “Sport-Bild”: “If you work for VfB in the second division, and exactly the same applies to HSV, you can’t win, you can only lose. It feels like the relegation battle from the Bundesliga continues. ”Well formulated! This is exactly why the HSV chose pressure-resistant types. Hecking and his assistant Dirk Bremser in front. In the end, however, only Aaron Hunt and Pohjanpalo were up to the stress on the lawn. Where everyone pulled their heads in, they demanded the ball. That ended tragically against SV Sandhausen: Hunt faithfully delivered to Pohjanpalo, which the opponent saw through quickly. Concepts against deep teams? Tactical variations? Changes that sit, changes that are fruitful? Since the 2: 3 against VfB Stuttgart on May 28, Hecking has offered his team nothing more useful. The HSV played poorly and threw away the ascent in a way that all scoffers will have loved. Hard-boiled Hamburg fans clapped for Sandhausen on Sunday because they feared embarrassment against Werder in the event of relegation.

Despite the massive indebtedness, the Hamburg way should consist twice of advancing with comparatively expensive teams. Reduced earnings due to the corona pandemic and the signing departure of financier Klaus-Michael Kühne are forcing a new strategy. Favorites will be others. The HSV becomes the normal second division representative. Maybe that helps – or the next HSV trainer.

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Lyubov Uspenskaya quarantined

Lyubov Uspenskaya, like many celebrities, observes the regime of self-isolation in his country house. Unfortunately, after the scandal with her daughter Tatyana Plaksina, who accused her mother of all mortal sins and moved to her father in America, the already not very crowded mansion of the artist was empty. Now in a huge four-story house with 16 rooms with a total area of ​​1000 “squares” live only the star herself and the head of her fan club Rolan Melandovich, whom she affectionately calls her nephew. And also – tiny dogs, for which the star organized separate apartments.

On her Instagram, Lyubov Uspenskaya assures that “you won’t be lost with her” – they say that she is a jack of all trades: she keeps the household in perfect order, she cooks well, and she also cuts her nephew and dogs in a personal hairdresser located in basement of the house. At the same time, the star does not look obscure: even in quarantine, she continues to dress up and experiment with images.

So, the other day, the singer appeared before the fans as a “dressing lady”.

– My Ukrainian roots in quarantine woke up, today I cooked borsch with donuts and dressed up like a hohlushka, – Ouspensky explained. – In quarantine, hair grows very quickly, after another week scythe will be to the waist. True, she recovered by 4 kilograms. My grandmother would be happy, she loved chubby. During the hunger strike, the chubby ones were grabbed. Either for love, or for food …

Lyubov Uspenskaya recovered in quarantine

Most subscribers were delighted with the new image, although there were those who noticed that the queen of the chanson is not the same – a tummy appeared, the wasp waist blurred …

Meanwhile, even with this increase (and 4 kg is already clothes a size larger), Ouspenskaya’s overweight does not threaten. With a height of 168 cm, she weighed 65 kilograms almost her whole life, and a year and a half ago, against the background of hassle due to her daughter’s accident, she immediately dropped 10 kilos. According to the singer, the secret of her constant harmony is yoga and refusal to eat dinner after 18.00.

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