Thoughts on the post 2009 World Championships in Berlin
I love Track and Field (Athletics to the rest of the world) primarily for one reason. With the Track running events, the first person to cross the line is the winner.
In the Winter Olympics, all but one event is either a time-trial or a judging event. Short Track Speed Skating with the heats and qualifying rounds is the only event most similar to Track, with all its thrills and spills and underdog heroes.
What are the options?
- It would be awfully boring if they ran the 10,000 meter heats 2 people at a time, right?
- Or if they had 2 sections of a 400m Final, and the winner was based on time (like they do indoors?)
- Or if Usain Bolt ran all by himself in a time trial. Well, he sort of did this in his own way, especially the 200m, but that’s besides the point.
I like head to head competitions, and I like to see the first person cross the line be declared the actual winner. But I don’t like seeing the final outcome CHANGE as a result of a judge, protest or failed test.
But that wasn’t the reality of the 2009 World Championships in Berlin.
So here are some thoughts from these games, which tainted my perfect world of Walter Mitty:
- The first person to cross the finish line in a women’s event may not be a “woman”? Shouldn’t they determine this before they are sent as representatives of their home country? (w800)
- The 4x100m relay team that crosses the line WITHOUT any red flags by the relay zone judges still got DQ’ed (m4x100)?
- Sprinters got DQ’ed for lane violations (m200 – sorry Jared, but the same raw deal happened to Churandy and Wallace in Beijing 2008. We would have loved to see you in the Semi-Finals.)
- The first person to cross the line got DQ’ed for
shovingpushing or making contact to another runner (w1500m)
- Several athletes were denied advancing to the finals when a fallen runner had impeded on their performance. Immediately they did not qualify for the next round, but due to re-instatement, they did appear in the finals start-list. (m800)
In my opinion, this can be a catastrophe with 10 or even possibly 12 runners in an 800m final. Remember the 2008 USATF Olympic Trials women’s 800 meters? 4 runners were added to the Finals making the total 12.
- Drug tests immediately following the event, or sometimes retroactive up to 8 years after the event, can DQ the athlete. (Raschid Ramzi in Beijing 2008 for example – will we see any in 2009?)