If you look at the LJ today and of 20 years ago i do not think you will find a major difference with speed at take off. There are many jumpers (most of the top 20) today who jump 7.80-8.20 run 10.5 m/s +. This is no different to 20 years ago.
I think the difference is that this was less of their maximal speed then what guys are having to run at now to achieve those same absolute speeds. As a result, today’s jumpers can’t control the takeoff speed because they’re approaching takeoff with nearly 100% of their maximum. Carl was at 95% I believe and Powell was at 96% from studies by Hay. I suspect today’s jumpers are having to go at 97-99% of top end speed coming in to the board to hit those same marks and as a result they get crushed at takeoff. This would explain why you’re able to see jumpers of lesser speeds still able to equal these guys since they’re taking off slower but not getting crushed at takeoff.
Powel and Lewis were outliers of course as they were extremely fast. But at the same time Rutherford of England runs the same speeds from 11-1m as Carl Lewis did and jumps 60cm less on average…How can this therefore be a speed issue?
See above. Carl was obviously running well within his control to hit his takeoff speeds. I suspect the same can not equally be said for Rutherford. And even still..he’s among the fastest and jumping furthest (when he’s hitting those speeds).
I feel many more athletes have the potential to increase power far more than speed. Therefore with the LJ once you have got to 10.3 ish m/s (achievable by most talented enough athletes), i feel more elasticity and power work will improve jump distance over more speed work.
From what I’ve seen this isn’t the case. Perhaps if we fill in the gaps on the athletes on my top 10 list that I didn’t highlight in red and get some insight on what they were doing / emphasizing in training then we’ll have a more clear picture of whether plyometric work matters as much as you’re suggesting.