IAAF has a chance to correct their false start
Let's face it, there's no perfect system for false starts.
And even if there was, you gotta doubt that the tall foreheads running the IAAF would recognize it.
But what they need to realize is they've definitely got the wrong one right now – and they'd better take advantage of the chance to change it at their meeting Sunday.
It took the sublime and splendid sprinter Usain Bolt jumping the gun in Sunday's 100-metre final at the world championships in Daegu, Korea, to put the spotlight on a cruelly unfair false start rule.
There is no room for error, human or otherwise, under the rule instituted at the start of last year. It's one false start and you're out.
There's a reason false starts were allowed for so long in track and field – and that was in recognition of the adrenaline pumping through these finely turned athletes at the start of a race. To expect them to never have one and penalize them so severely just doesn't make sense.
As Perdita Felicien also noted, there are also bad race starters out there, ones who make it difficult to follow their cadence. Think of a bad hockey referee and how they can ruin the flow of a hockey game. Try starting a race to be decided by hundredths of a second with someone like that at the helm.
The previous system of allowing one false start among the whole field and then having the next false start by an individual lead to a DQ is probably the best of a bad bunch of methods.
Canadian sprint great Bruny Surin is right when he says a false start can lend a lot to the drama of a race. Everyone is on tenterhooks as you wait for the runners to line up again.
Okay, the old old rule of letting each runner have two false starts before getting kicked out could get a little crazy and you could understand the TV execs being upset about that.
But to let television dictate to the point where the new unforgiving rule was added is a disservice to the athletes, who have trained so hard for that big moment and don't deserve to lose it because of a nervous twitch.
It was a disservice, too, to the ultimate winner of the 100-metre final, Bolt's countryman Yohan Blake.
“For the next two years no one's really going to be thinking that he's outright world champion,” said Felicien. “They're only going to talk in the context of 'Oh well, Usain Bolt wasn't there, Usain Bolt false started.' So that's going to overshadow him.”
And overshadow the sport.