False Start Thoughts

Some Thoughts on the False Start Rule

Lots of good ideas being put out there under the comments on the Day Two post .. Which is the only good thing about the Bolt false start – that it has brought the lunacy of the rule to  the table .. Because it’s the first time under this rule that someone of this stature has fallen prey to it ..

Ironically, the last time we had a major name fall to a false start rule was under the “one to the field and then everyone out” rule when Asafa Powell and Jon Drummond were both tossed out (simultaneously) in Paris (’03) .. That rule was just as bad if not worse, in my opinion, because a) it was completely unfair because the first person that false started got an extra one, while everyone else didn’t have that luxury; and b) it encouraged false starts because you had the ability to “freeze” the field by executing a false start – with NO penalty or repercussions!! 

The “original” false start rule – everyone got a false start and then was tossed after the second – was fair to everyone in my opinion .. The last time someone of note was lost to that rule was when Linford Christie was tossed in Atlanta (’96) .. And to answer the question would I have still complained if Bolt had been tossed under that rule the answer is, no .. Because you had the opportunity to pull yourself together and just “sit” if need be … I would have felt the same as I did for Linford – he should have just sat .. Yes it put you at a disadvantage, but then that was part of the “punishment” for false starting – and a good one if your original goal WAS to try and catch a flyer … And frankly I don’t remember any more false starts under that rule than the current one … And I remember a lot MORE under the one to the field rule …

The reason we have a false start rule is to try and make the start fair and even for everyone – not to eliminate athletes .. When you are simply eliminating athletes then you are doing the sport a disservice!! I would think that you would WANT to have all your athletes on the track – they’re the product and they’re the reason why everyone goes to the stadium and watches on television ..
And to be honest, what time is saved by this rule ?? If you watched the New York Diamond League do you think the rule saved any time for TV, because THREE men were thrown out in that race – Travis Padgett, Richard Thompson, and Rae Edwards .. Only six men ran that race .. Can anyone tell me what was served by those men NOT competing ?? Wouldn’t it have been better if all nine men were running on that fourth start ?? 

What was gained by Bolt not being in this race ?? Certainly someone got a medal that wouldn’t have otherwise .. And perhaps gold and silver went to men who should’ve gotten lower medals .. Is that good for the sport ?? Because I can guarantee you that among true track fans that race will always be remembered as the race Bolt DIDN’T run in !!! As will these championships … Because as the commentators said as they were building up the race, this race was THE central event of the meet … If Bolt had run and Blake had beaten him head up can you imagine the talk about the up and coming youngster, the growing stable in Jamaica, and all the marketing you could do with Bolt, a returning Gay, and the new kid on the block Blake … No Bolt and all you have is Blake won because Bolt got DQ’d … 

This is a horrible rule, that serves NO purpose … One false start per person, second false start you’re eliminated … Everyone is entitled to one mistake .. Everyone else in the sport is .. Besides, who really wants to false start and force themselves to have to sit and wait while everyone else is free to run ?? Far too many “non cheating” reasons why athletes false start to just punish them because sometimes stuff happens ..

Here's a post I made last year on this rule ..

And here is potentially a better way to do it .. 

1 comment:

  1. As usual, your take on this stupid rule is right on the money. Unfortunately, those in a position to make changes beneficial to our sport are not really concerned with the athletes or the fans. Until athletes come first, until athletes take a controlling interest, rules will be made for the benefit of TV coverage, sponsors, and meet management.