I reached a conclusion this other day, when I saw Kim Collins compete in one of this year’s Diamond League events. Kim is already 39 years old, and the level he’s performing at these past few years is unparalleled in men’s T&F. To be such a consistent performer for such a long time? This is unbelievable.
What do I mean by consistency? Well, take a look at Kim’s best times in the 100m in each year of his loooong career:
Wow, consistent as hell! And remember, we’re talking about a guy who competed in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996!!! Do you know how long was that? Think about the fact that since that time Maurice Greene, who already seems like a runner from ancient times, started and ended his Olympic career, while Collins still runs. Now, how’s that for a mind fuck – In the Atlanta Olympics Collins ran in the second round next to Dennis Mitchell – who could tell him memories of the 1988 final with Ben Johnson! Are you kidding me?!
He was never the record-setting type, and perhaps this is what allowed him to stick to the top for so long, because he didn’t burn himself early on. When he won the 100m at the 2003 World Championships, the headline in Israel’s leading newspaper’s sports section was “Kim who?” (I still has that sports section. One of my many peculiarities is collecting newspapers, especially the sports sections. Having an OCD-type personality rocks!). Now, it’s true that back then Kim wasn’t as famous as Maurice Greene or Tim Montgomery (jesus, another blast from the past! You see how long he has been competing?!), but those who followed the Golden League circuit knew him as the guy who runs around 10 seconds flat. And guess what – it hasn’t changed since then!
Anyway, look at his consistency! Since 1996, and excluding 1997, when obviously something really weird happened, his two most extreme results are 9.96 seconds and 10.33 seconds. A 37 hundredths of a seconds range in 20 years! And if you take the results from the last 5 years (2011-2015) and go a full decade back (2001-2005) there’s absolutely zero difference between the two. I really can’t believe my eyes. AND he set his PB last year, at the age of 38! Get me out of here, I can’t take this anymore. This is too fucking incredible. You realize that he can take part in next year’s Olympic Games in Rio, when he’ll be 40 years old and 20 years after his first Olympic Games?!
There is no male track & fielder, let alone a sprinter, who can boast such consistency over so many years. And the only female track & fielder I can think of, who has a similar consistency over an even longer period of time is the legendary Merlene Ottey. Ottey won her first Olympic medal back in the Moscow games, in 1980, and she last participated in a major T&F championships in 2012 – the European Championships in Helsinki. A span of 32 years!!! Damn… some athletes retire before they turn 32!
Unlike Collins, Ottey was a major force in both the 100m and the 200m, but let’s look at the 100m. I spared you the print-screen version of her SB’s from the iaaf website, because the list was too damn long, but you can easily find it here. In the 100m her results over the course of 20 years between 1981 and 2000 varied between 10.74 seconds and 11.07 seconds, a mere 33 hundredths of a seconds! And one can also make the claim that this is even more impressive than Kim’s streak, because 10.74 seconds for women is even more impressive than 9.96 seconds for men. Also, if one looks at a larger time-span, one can see that in the 27 years between 1980 and 2006 (when she was fucking 46!) her results varied between 10.74 seconds and 11.36 seconds, which is still faster than the Israeli record. A difference of 62 hundredths of a second. That’s how much she slipped in 27 years. WOW. But hey, Merlene is truly one of a kind. I mean – me and my dad both got to see her when we were 20 (Dad was born in 1960, the same as Ottey)!
Anyway, why is Collins the Tim Duncan of track & field? Well, have you seen Timmy’s per 36 minutes stats over the years?
This is amazing, he’s like an alien! Really, his consistency is otherworldly. H’s per-36-minutes stats are virtually the same at age 21 and at age 38!!! Over the course of his 18 years career, his points-per-game-per-36-minutes-average range was 17.1-22.6. His rebounding range? 10.5-12.2. Assists? 2.2-3.8. Blocks? 1.7-3.2. Such consistency is truly unheard of! This means that were Timmy to play the same amount of minutes now as he did in the beginning of his career, his averages would’ve been almost the same. All players suffer a decline during some point in their careers, not just in the regular averages but per-36-minutes as well. Well, all except Timmy. He’s the most consistent NBA player ever. One might even say that he’s the Kim Collins of basketball…
And so we return to the point of this whole post, which was to make sure that in the upcoming World Championships in Beijing you won’t miss out on the phenomenon that is Kim Collins. The guy from Saint Kitts and Nevis, a country with a population of 55,000, who defies all known age limits.
You go Kim!