Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bolt a Dolt

Sprinting's mega-super star Usain Bolt shit the bed Sunday at the World Track and Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea.  The world record holder false started in the finals of the 100 meter.  A lot of so-called fans are bellyaching about it because of a new rule instituted this year by the sport's governning body, the IAAF.

For years the first false start of any race counted against the field.  It took a second false start to get you kicked out of the race.  But this led to a lot of game playing and false starts on purpose which wrecked meet schedules and more importantly made the sport almost unwatchable on television.  This year the IAAF woke up and finally instituted a no-false start rule, one that's been around in the United States at the high school and collegiate level for decades.

The outrage over Bolt's dismissal is palpable.  I could care a less.  I've gone to dozens of high school and college track meets in this country and watched with dismay when athletes got the boot for jumping the gun.  I hate it that the sport's biggest star blew it.  But I think the rule is a good rule.  For the last dozen years I hated watching the false start games being played at the world class level, especially by the hurdlers.

Television is the fuel that runs the engine that powers professional track and field.  The sport has been in its death throws for years because it had become almost unwatchable.  The false start rule will help alleviate the decline.

Now if the IAAF could only get a producer and director that understands how to cover the world championships.  So far the production of the 2011 Championships sucks compared to what we watched online from Berlin in 2009.  But that's another matter.  We've got seven days of world class track and field to go!

Editor's note:  Bolt had a big assist in his false start.  New video of the start shows that his fellow countryman Yohan Blake flinched before the gun and likely caused Bolt to jump.  The officials dropped the ball on that.  They have more than a dozen set of officials watching those athletes.  The IAAF is too blame for this calamity every bit as much as the great Usain Bolt.

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