Interesting email from the USATF this week. Relay selections has always been a center of controversy ever since the 1936 Olympics.
Prior to 1936, the 4x100m relay pool was a special group of athletes outside of the individual 100 meter athletes.
Then, usually the medal winners at the Trials plus the 4th place finisher were the four athlete selected. In case of emergencies, it was not uncommon to use 110m hurdlers, 200 meter sprinters, and Long Jumpers in the 4x100m.
Moreover, the 4x400m relay used 200 meter sprinters, 400m hurdlers and 800 meter runners!
Today, 6 athletes selected are the norm. Plus all the shenanigans that go with running the rounds so everyone can win a medal. Of course, the stick has to make it all around.
To make things simpler (or more complicated, depending on how you look at it), only 16 teams run at the Olympics with a 2 round, Semi-Final and Finals format. The competition is fierce, and you better go hard or go home.
From the USATF:
World Championships Relay Team Selection Policy
USA Track & Field may enter a maximum of six (6) athletes on each relay team, which includes the men’s and women’s 4x100m and 4x400m, for the 2009 World Championships. USATF must include their 3 entrants in the 100m and 400m, as well as their alternates in these events, as part of their relay team entry. The remaining two (2) relay team members who will be selected for each relay team will be chosen according to the procedure outlined below.
USATF will name 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay pools for both the men and women consisting of 6-10 athletes per relay pool in the week immediately following the U.S. Outdoor Championships. This pool will consist of the individuals selected to represent the USA in the 100m and the 400m, the alternates in the 100m and 400m, as well as other athletes who have qualified for the World Championships team roster. Athletes that participate in the USA Outdoor Championships, but who do not qualify for the team in an individual event, are eligible to be selected to the relay pool. Relay pool members will be nominated by the Men’s and Women’s Head Coaches for the World Championships, with final approval by USATF’s Chief of Sport Performance. Athletes will be notified of their selection to the relay pool by e-mail no later than July 6, 2009.
Please take careful note of the following:
• Being selected for the relay pool does not guarantee an athlete a position on the relay team. Athletes selected for the relay pool who are not entered in an individual event and are not selected as a member of the relay team on August 3, 2009 will not travel to Berlin for the World Championships.
• An athlete must compete in the USA Outdoor Championships in order to be eligible for the relay pool, except in emergency situations where a waiver based on medical or exceptional circumstances may be given by USATF, at its discretion.
• To be eligible for the 4x100m relay pool athletes must sign a relay agreement requiring them to participate in two international relay events prior to the World Championships. Those pre-World Championships international relay events are as follows:
- London Gran Prix – July 24/25
- TBD- during training camp period
The members of the men’s & women’s 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams will be announced on or just prior to August 3. The World Championships Head Coaches, in conjunction with USATF’s Chief of Sport Performance, will make the final selection. Athletes will be notified by email of their selection on August 3.
Final entries for the World Championships, which will contain the six (6) members, each, for the men’s and women’s 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams, are due to be received by the IAAF no later than August 3rd. The six (6) athletes entered as the relay team plus any athlete on the World Championships roster is eligible to compete on the relay. The athletes selected to run in each round and the order in which they will run will be determined by the World Championships Head Coaches with final approval by USATF’s Chief of Sport Performance the day after the relay training camp. Being entered as a relay team member does not guarantee that an athlete will participate in the relay. If an athlete(s) were to become injured, have personal issues, etc. that would keep them from being able to compete on the relay team, USATF may then name any athlete who is a member of the 2009 World Championship team to replace that athlete(s).
To be eligible for the relay team, athletes must sign an agreement requiring them to participate in the pre World Championships training camp to be held as follows in Berlin:
- 4x100m training camp – August 7-9
- 4x400m training camp – August 9-10