What does "age record" mean?
a season's world list for one event you can find the best athletes for
each age class. These are the season's age records. You can match this
season with past seasons' records to find the all-time records by age,
as IAAF does with world records.
Also a world record is an age record ?
Yes, sure, a world record is the record for all ages. Logically it is
also holder's age class record.
IAAF's record lists start on 1912. And these?
necessary for me to find a starting year. Usually starting years have a
symbolic meaning. As in the '70s an important change occured from hand
timing to electronic timing (which initiates the beginning of a new
era), I decided to set my research starting year in 1977. I entered the
best performances before 1977 as first record of
In which books did you find all seasons' lists?
(Associations of Track and Field Statisticians) Annuals. But please
note that there are no women's lists from 1973 to 1977 and no
birthdates before 1972. I found the missing data in some magazines.
Until which year did you consult seasons' lists?
are comprehensive from 1968, to have the greatest probability of
finding all the records before 1977.
Merlene Ottey was the first person to set a record by age at 36 in
Women's 100 metres. But if an unknonwn athlete had won an official race
at 36, what then?
the Olympic qualifying standard, which is simultaneously simple,
reliable and official. Everyone can set a record by age if his
performance allows him/her to qualify for the
Olympics. I had to discover if someone set the Olympic standard at 36
from 1976 to 1996. I first tested this rule with Ottey and the result
If two athletes with same age break an age record, for example, the
first in June and the second in August, do they both appear in your
only the best performance does. There's no analogy, in this sense, with
world records lists, but there is an analogy with another Track
& Field rule. If two ore more athletes break a world record
during the same race, only the race winner's mark is registrated as new
world record. Age records chronology follows the same rule. My research
is a comparison of each individual athlete's progression.
But in this way an excellent athlete could not
compare at all in your list because he/she was overshadowed by
another athlete born in the same year. The list of age records is not
the same thing with world records, isn't it? However, this case
happened just once, with GDR's long jumper Sabine John. On an empiric
level one case to the contrary is the exception that proves the rule.
The Olympic qualifying standard
years, the Olympic year itself and the year before. What about others
research the Olympic standards match four race years. So, for example,
Athens's qualifying standards match 2003 to 2006.
And what if someone set a record 10-20 years ago and his performance no
longer matches today's standard ?
record falls off, as if beaten. For example, Heike Drechsler of GDR
jumped 6.64 at 16 and broke world record by age. Sydney's standard was
set at 6.65, one centimetre more, so that her performance is no longer
a record. Thus it lasted from 1980 to 1998. In the meantime nobody
broke it. Today there is not a record by age at 16
in female's Long jump.
Why is the Women's 1500 world record not a record by age?
Because I decided not to consider all
records made by
Chinese athletes whenever they ran in the Chinese Games (and this
particular record come from 1993 Chinese Games); I exclude as well all
performances made by athletes successively banned for life for doping.
I'm happy to know that, in Fall 2005 IAAF decided to
introduce the same rule (see No. 144 and 145)!
I already started to apply these rule some years ago, when I started my
research. This happened, for example, with hurdler Danny Harris. Now
for IAAF too, all marks made by athletes successively banned for life
for doping are cancelled.
There's something I still don't understand. Age records lists start
from the best results before 1977. How did you find
all of them if you only read the annuals back to 1968?
going backwards to that year was enough to find all first records by
Sorry, I'll try to better explain by saying that I'd like to know how
you could be sure to find all results by looking back just to that
cases, I started with a world record (= all ages' record) and found all
performances better than it. But 1968 was an Olympic year, and I
thought Mexico City results were much better than previous years in my
And was this way actually so?
Obviously, there have been some exceptions. My problem was to reduce
the probability of overlooking some records by age set in the Fifties
or in the early Sixties. I read annuals starting from 1968 and had only
a look at some events in previous years. I thought: "Track and field is
an ever-progressing sport, so it's improbable to find many marks in
1960 which were better than in 1964 or in 1968". To be sure that my
lists start from all performances which have been records by age
without exploring the years before 1968, I found two ways: a) starting
from world records (every world record is also an age record, as I said
before); b) settling a starting mark and collecting all results from
the starting mark in history and on.
But isn't this timing the Olympic standard?
no, because Munich 1972's standard was 11.5 in Women's 100 metres
(11.64 electronic) and it happened that ATFS' lists stopped at 11.3, so
11.5 is really a very large number and I couldn't find them all. In
fact, I started from 11.3.
You also did some research about hand-timed races, but you said before
your statistics start from 1977, when hand timing was no longer
official. What are the hand-timed races for?
are exclusively for my research's final
broke more records by age".