2011 World Champs/Daegu: IAAF Statement on Bolt DQ, release, Editorial by Larry Eder

Usain Bolt's jersey, 2011 World Champs 100m final, photo by PhotoRun.net

We are involved in a sport that dates back to the dawn of man. We have always thrown, jumped and run. It is in that simplicity, and that history that much of the identity of our sport is founded. Yet, for a long time, we have put rules upon rules and minutae into our sport that thrills some, and turns off others.

While well meaning, the false start rule was a disaster from the beginning. It was done to placate TV and keep the producers from pulling their hair out even more, as they tried to cover track & field in a way that TV audiences would enjoy and flock to. Well, Eurosport seems to do it, BBC seems to do it, but American TV, which has strong productions and weak productions, does not seem to really get or appreciate the sport.

The disqualification of Usain Bolt was by the book last night, but, apparently, TV shows differently. The controversy, could, if Bolt runs the 200 meters, make that race one of the most watched events in TV. Right now, the 100 meters will be re-run around the world, time after time, and we will let you see who flinched first.

Track & Field has some superstars, two of them had rough nights last night: Kenenisa Bekele and Usain Bolt.

There were also tremendous competitions. The duel between Ibrahim Jeilan and Mo Farah over the last lap of the 10,000 meters showed what a great race can be: moving, emotional, superb drama.

The 100 meters last night was, in many ways, strangely good for the sport. It continues to highlight the vast difference between what the perception and reality of the sport are. In the end, Track & Field has the potential to be the global sport of global sports-it is the largest draw at the Summer Olympics-yet, it continues to shoot itself in the foot.

My suggestion: Instead of criticizing and pointing fingers, I am asking our readers to suggest ways to improve the sport. I will supply the compete responses to the IAAF and USA Track & Field.

The point we agree on is: we love the sport and do not want it to whither away. Then, we have some common ground. The next part is the hard part-what do we do about it?

Send your suggestions to [email protected]

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The disqualification of Usain Bolt

  Bolt_UsainDQ1a-World11.JPGUsain Bolt, 2011 WC 100 meters, photo by PhotoRun.net

Daegu, Korea - Tonight in Daegu stadium the world's fastest man and defending World champion Usain Bolt was disqualified from the 100m final for false starting (Rule 162.7), in a race which was won by his countryman and training partner Yohan Blake.

Bolt, who celebrated his 25th birthday on 21 August, immediately returned to the warm-up track, and offered the following short comment:

"I have nothing to say right now. I need some time."

About the defence of his 200m title which begins on Friday (2 Sep).

"How will I go? It's on Friday right? Then we'll have to see on Friday"

Following that brief statement Bolt left for the Athletes' Village by car.


Usain Bolt, 2011 WC 100 meter DQ, photo by PhotoRun.net

IAAF reaction to disqualification

While the IAAF is, of course, disappointed that Usain Bolt false-started in the final of the 100m, it is important to remember that a sport's credibility depends on its rules, and they must also be applied consistently and fairly for ALL athletes.

As you can see from the chronology below, the current false start rule been in effect since 1 January 2010, and all elite athletes have had the chance to adjust. In extraordinary cases, the IAAF Council has the right to make interim changes to Technical Rules, pending official approval by IAAF Congress.

History of the False Start Rule

12 August 2009: 47th IAAF Congress, Berlin, Germany

Delegates from IAAF Member Federations were asked to consider the following proposal:

Except in Combined Events, any athlete responsible for a False Start shall be disqualified. In Combined Events only one false start per race shall be allowed without disqualification of the athlete(s) responsible for the false start. Any athlete(s) making further false starts in the race shall be disqualified from the race.

APPROVED - Vote: Yes - 97; No - 55


1 August 2001: 43rd IAAF Congress, Edmonton, Canada

Delegates from IAAF Member Federations were asked to consider the following proposal:

To allow only one false start per race in events up to and including the 400m.  Any athlete subsequently false starting will be disqualified immediately.

It was also agreed that this rule would not be introduced until 1 January 2003, to allow for a significant period of adaptation by competitors.

APPROVED - Vote: Yes - 81; No 74


Jersey of one Usain Bolt, 2011 WC 100 meters, DQ, photo by PhotoRun.net

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