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Bolt crashes out

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Tom Fordyce | 15:36 UK time, Sunday, 28 August 2011

Daegu, Korea

Who can beat Usain Bolt? we used to wonder.

Usually the response was "no-one". Only occasionally did someone say Usain Bolt himself. Never was the answer Jorge Salcedo.

Salcedo was the head of the IAAF technical commission that recommended, in August 2009, that the sport's current false-start rule be amended so that the first athlete to jump the gun would instantly be disqualified, rather than receiving a mere initial warning.

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"Everyone will have ample time to change by the time of Daegu," said Lamine Diack, the governing body's president, with the sort of confidence that will now want to make him beat himself over the head with his own 255-page rulebook.

On Sunday morning Usain Bolt was 1/20 with bookmakers to win World 100m gold. It's not just that no-one saw his disqualification a few hours later coming. It's that no-one could even conceive of it.

This was a Buster Douglas moment, with some England 0-1 USA from 1950 thrown in and Don Bradman's final innings duck sprinkled on top.

False starts have seen off defending sprint champions in big finals before. Linford Christie did it twice in the Olympic final of 1996, but he was a champ with his brightest days behind him, not the greatest sprinter the world has ever seen.

Christie used to talk about going on the 'B' of the bang. On Sunday night, Bolt went on the 'O' of OMG.

As the world record holder and Olympic champion went to his blocks at just before 10pm local time he looked into the television cameras, pointed at the lanes to his right and left and shook his head dismissively.

It was classic Bolt, another act in the comedy-drama that has seen him dominate the sporting schedules since that extraordinary night in Beijing's Bird's Nest three summers ago. He crouched as the stadium fell silent, and we all shifted forward in our seats, ready for the performance that we now know so well - an explosion from the blocks, a streak of yellow and black, a glance at the clock and a roar of disbelief and adoration.

 

There was disbelief alright.

The champion didn't just twitch, or rise a fraction too early. He was gone by a stride, no replay nor electronic reading necessary, a Bolt shot so early that the millions watching around the world instantly knew a red card must surely follow.

Bolt is used to producing moments that make spectators grab the person next to them and throw their hands to their mouths in shock. Once again he delivered.

This time there was no clowning, no posing for the photographers waiting by the giant digital timer nest to the finish line. Bolt tore off his vest, staggered into the stadium tunnel and buried his head in the blue netting wall, those same photographers suddenly themselves sprinting the 100m straight in perfect reverse.

There were only two questions falling from everyone's wide-open jaws: how, and why?
The answer to the first can be found on page 127 of the IAAF's 2010-2011 regulations, under rule 162, section six:

"An athlete, after assuming a full and final set position, shall not commence his start until after receiving the report of the gun. If, in the judgement of the Starter or Recallers, he does so any earlier, it shall be deemed a false start."

Underneath sits Salcedo's all-important addition.

"162.7: From 1 January 2010, except in Combined Events, any athlete responsible for a false start shall be disqualified."

The answer to the second was rather harder to uncover.

Bolt didn't need to gamble on a flyer, any more than Bradman needed to try to hit his first ball from Eric Hollies for six. His key rivals, Tyson Gay and Asafa Powell, were both absent through injury. He is so much faster than the men remaining that he could have sat in his blocks and still won by a street. So what happened?

"It was the conscious part of his brain, not the subconscious part, that affected him," says Darren Campbell, World 100m bronze medallist in 2003 and here in Korea as an expert summariser for BBC Radio 5 live.

"The subconscious part of a sprinter's brain simply reacts to the starter's gun. It's the conscious part that would be shouting REACT! REACT! REACT! to him.

"In his semi-final he didn't get out that badly - the rhythm of the start was still there - but he didn't react well to the gun itself. That may have played on his mind.

"Maybe he was worried about the presence of his training partner Yohan Blake outside him, although on times and form he didn't need to.

"Maybe he had seen the false start Dwain Chambers had in the semi, or the one Christine Ohuruogu had on Saturday, and thought, oh, these are the false-start championships. But the starter did not hold them for too long, and it wasn't that noisy in the stadium.

"He only needed 9.91 seconds for the gold. But despite that, he was still thinking, 'I've got to react...'"

As with all shocking crimes, the next thought was to nail a perpetrator. Was it the IAAF's fault for instigating a rule which could allow their golden calf to be despoiled, putting the false gods of television schedules ahead of the integrity of the sport?

Was it Jon Drummond's fault for that infamous sulk at the 2003 Worlds, when he lay down in his lane and refused to leave the track after being disqualified himself? Should we blame the athletes who used to use the preceding rule - one false start allowed, next man to jump the gun is out regardless of his previous blame - as a tactic to unsettle opponents?

Drummond, Salcedo and the rest should be spared. You could blame the rule if you like, but mainly you have to blame Bolt.

"The other guys out there didn't beat Usain," says Campbell. "Usain beat himself."

Former world and Olympic 100m champion Maurice Greene has been warning anyone who would listen in Daegu this week that Bolt's cartoonish antics on the blocks would one day catch up with him.

You can get away with the high jinks if your confidence is rock-solid. When it starts to crumble, when self-doubt starts to nudge the elbow and nibble away at the corners, you cannot.

You want to feel sorry for someone? Maybe feel sorry for Blake, who became the event's youngest ever world champion but will still awake to race reports entirely about someone else.

Maybe feel sorry for Kim Collins, whose achievement in winning bronze at 35 years and 144 days old, eight years after he had produced another shock to win the World title in Paris, is the sort of fairy-story that deserves a more receptive audience.

Monday's headlines won't read 'Blake's Heaven', or 'Collins: Against All Odds'. They'll be 'Bolt Out of the Blue' and 'IN-SAIN', 'Usain Bolts Early' and maybe even 'BLUNDERBOLT'.

Bolt had talked about wanting to win this race so he could truly consider himself a legend of his sport. That he didn't was entirely down to him.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I actually did have a teeny tiny little wonder if perhaps Dwain Chambers false-started to take some of the heat off Christine Ohuruogu. If so, thank you Usain Bolt for taking the heat off both of them!

    But in all seriousness, you're absolutely right; I don't like the one-and-done false start rule, but it IS the current rule and only Bolt can be blamed. Crushing shame, like you say just as much for poor Blake, but only down to him.

  • Comment number 2.

    You can blame Bolt all you want but the loser of this stupid rule is the sport and the spectators. If the old rule had been in place Bolt would have taken extra care to leave his blocks and still won- the waiting crowds and the TV viewers world over would have got to see him run and (in all probability) win.
    So there is no point getting all judgemental and saying it's all Bolt's fault.

    Same with the case of Tiger Woods- at the end of the day the biggest loser is the golf fan- he doesn't get to see golfing greatness and tournaments world over are losing millions of dollars.

    In both sports the casual fan has been turned away and no sport can really afford to do that, you know...(much as the aficionados might look down on them, the casual fans make the difference between a successful sport and a struggling one)

  • Comment number 3.

    Such a shame that officials and bureaucrats can deny the fans in the stadium and millions of people watching around the world the opportunity to watch a truly great athlete doing his business!

    Good blog once again Tom, just one small correction - USA beat England 1-0 in 1950 not 1958.

  • Comment number 4.

    The rules are the rules and you can't argue with them but it seems a little unnecessary to me, as did Dwayne's (who's false start was just a twitch of his leg and didn't even result in him leaving his block) it changed the spectacle of the race and left me feeling very disappointed that I didn't get to see what I and many others were expecting to be a very fast time!

    The old rule seemed unfair with the whole field being essentially warned due to an other competitors mistake but I can't help but think that the current rulings will result in more situations like this because when the stakes are high mistakes get made!

  • Comment number 5.

    Usain Bolt has nobody to blame but himself, but the rules mean that we didn't find out who was the fastest man in the world over 100m which is the real shame. It's hard to believe they're going to let the rule stay until London.

    It could make the 200m a cracker though. Michael Johnson reckons Bolt's more vulnerable over 200m at the moment. Nothing like a bit of pressure to raise the stakes...

  • Comment number 6.

    Usain beat himself in this instance but does anyone not feel that the starting process plays a big part.

    The length of time the athletes are held on their marks differs drastically and the fans get as edgy as the competitors. Who blames them when the slightest noise triggers a reaction.

  • Comment number 7.

    I always knew that if this happened to a big name in the sport then there would be so much heat directed at the ruling and the governing body who made it. I'm probably one of a small group of athletics followers who dont think that there is much wrong with the no false start rule and think this is how it should have been since 2003 - I see a lot of news stories on the internet regarding the ruling as just an immediate reaction to the fact that the biggest name fell foul of it.

    Regarding the spectators and fans watching - yes they may feel cheated but the only "victim" I see is Yohan Blake - he'll be labelled the 2011 World 100m champion but too many people will say he won it for the simple reason that Usain Bolt was disqualified.

  • Comment number 8.

    Rules are rules, however the simple fact is the the 'one false start' rule is damaging the sport.
    The 100 meters (rightly or wrongly) is the most anticipated event of all, the punters feel robed when they do not get to see the final they paid for (admission price or license fee).
    The 100 meters final is probably the single most tense moment in any championships, it's simply not fair to let it all boil down to one start - a start without twitching at that!
    Jumpers/throwers have three attempts.
    They say that this rule helps to keep meetings 'on time' however this is a falacy, more time lost when the presiding officials can't work the starters gun or there is a problem with the timing!
    Bolt was robbed by a rule that robs the sport of interest!!
    The rule itself creates nervous athletes & anxious spectators, these factors then CREATE false starts and the cycle continues.

  • Comment number 9.

    Nobody worries about the false start rule in swimming anymore (especially after the Ian Thorpe 2004 Olympic Trials effort). It needs to be kept. It is the fairest rule.

  • Comment number 10.

    7.
    At 22:31 28th Aug 2011, alan895 wrote:
    Regarding the spectators and fans watching - yes they may feel cheated but the only "victim" I see is Yohan Blake - he'll be labelled the 2011 World 100m champion but too many people will say he won it for the simple reason that Usain Bolt was disqualified.
    -
    Thats the truth though, he simply won the initial race for second place

  • Comment number 11.

    I dont really care what anyone thinks or says. The fact is a new rule prevented me from seeing Dwain Chambers and Usain Bolt run in a World Championship final. Im so angry at the idiots that run athletics.

    There was no need to amend the previous rule, at least give the athletes one false start, so they can get used to the sound of the gun in the stadium. If that encourages people to cheat a bit, then just go back to the 2 false start rule, then at least we can see all the best racers run.

    Short sprints are a whole different ball game to longer distances. A tenth of a second can make a huge difference. So you can understand why athletes get twitchy, especially when you are under the pressure Bolt is under. There is nothing wrong with the 2 false start rule for short sprints.

    When you see a race start, you should be looking for who gets a great start, not worried about who will false start. This new rule has ruined the essence of track sprinting. The 2 false start rule was perfect, it gave athletes a chance and gave fans respect.

    Steve Cram and Seb Coe are just defending the IAAF. Neither has any clue what it is like to be a track sprinter, 800m over 1 min 45 is completely different to 100m over 10 seconds.

    But what makes most angry is that this rule was done to please TV companies who set schedules, no other reason. So I dont appreciate any athletes lecturing me about not respecting rules etc. This new rule was just done for TV scheduling no other reason.

    So I just have one thing to say, if this new rule was done for TV companies, how will TV companies feel, if the best athletes are all disqualified, because of this stupid new rule? No fans will bother to watch.

    Im so angry about this, I have never been angrier at a rule change in any sport in my life, especially when the rule change is only to benefit TV scheduling and nothing to do with the benefit of the sport.

    Well guess what? The TV companies have what they want, and the sport misses out big time! And then the fans miss out too, so there will be no audiences left.

    If this rule is not changed by 2012, I will stop watching track and field events. It is such a stupid rule, and has prevented me from seeing Chambers and Bolt run in the ultimate event. I dont care about any other event. This rule does not work for the mens 100m. If the IAAF cannot see this, say goodbye to millions of fans.

  • Comment number 12.

    The problem with this rule is simply that everyone makes mistakes - even Olympic champions. And how likely are the fans to turn up again who paid good money to see the superstars of the sport compete after this debacle. Yes, it's Bolt's mistake - but isn't the guy entitled to a false start, or Dwain Chambers to a twitch in the blocks? I notice that all the women in the marathon who jumped the gun at the start weren't disqualified.

    The IAAF aren't proposing to eliminate pole-vaulters and high-jumpers for one failure in their competitions - so why heap additional pressure on the sprinters by saying that one mistake leads to disqualification from the competition that you've spent a year training for?

  • Comment number 13.

    'too many people will say he won it for the simple reason that Usain Bolt was disqualified.' - alan @ 7

    But he did.

  • Comment number 14.

    @Redeye,
    "Usain Bolt has nobody to blame but himself, but the rules mean that we didn't find out who was the fastest man in the world over 100m which is the real shame."

    It is not because of the rule we didn't find out, it's because Bolt false-started that we didn't find out.

    I agree that the rule is unduly harsh, but it the nobody in lane 8 had done it no one would care about the injustice of it all. I also don't understand people claiming Bolt was under pressure: he could have had a cup of tea after the gun and still won by a neck. His biggest challengers weren't there and his PB is nearly 0.4s quicker than the winning time. It is not the rule that has robbed people of the spectacle it is Bolt. Blame him not the IAAF.

  • Comment number 15.

    I feel that it was a shame that the rules were changed for the beginning of the 2010 season the previous rule of one false start and then whoever makes the next false start gets disqualified is far better.

    I row internationally and have been in races where people have false started and an athlete and a competitor should be able to cope with the fact that someone has false started and should not put any additional pressure on anyone. I think the old rule should be brought back in because it is a shame that a lot of people tuned in to watch the worlds fastest man in the final myself included and then for it not to happen is a disaster

  • Comment number 16.

    I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand the rule does seem harsh. On the other hand, if an athlete reacts slowly to the start that can easily cost them the race (although probably not if you are Bolt) - in that case they don't get a second chance, so why should an athlete who jums the gun get another go.

  • Comment number 17.

    What noone has yet pointed out is that Bolt may actually have been trying to go for a World Record timing and thats why he wanted a perfect start. What fools the Officials are - robbing all fans of a spectacle. What a sad day. And the officials will try their best to defend this. Hopefully some sense will prevail. Silly officials and sillier TV bosses - they dont understand how lucky they are to have Bolt who is willing to play the joker for them as well.

  • Comment number 18.

    That was so so funny. On the start line Usain Bolt was writing off all to his left and all to his right, but the one person he forgot about was .............himself. Then when he false started all dignity went out the window and all the toys went out the pram, funny as hell.

  • Comment number 19.

    What I don't understand is how the winner of the women's long jump can do 5 foul jumps out of 6 and still get the gold medal and yet someone can false start once and they're out.

  • Comment number 20.

    Congratulations tv bosses. You have completely robbed yourself and the spectators of the whole point of watching athletics, namely to see the best compete against the best, and watching world class athletes produce performances that are admired by and inspires millions of people the world over.
    And for all those people that say 'thems the rules' lets hope you are as sanguine should this happen next year in the Olympic stadium. Such a shame.

  • Comment number 21.

    I personally don't see what all the fuss is about, Bolt knows the rules, he knows the consequences and by his own admission knows 'it's too easy' for him to win so why the need for a flyer?

    I love to watch Bolt as much as anyone, we shouldn't be surprised by his superiority anymore but it still baffles me how he can sit up at 50m and still win comfortably. However I don't feel cheated out of a spectacle and it certainly won't stop me watching athletics in the future, if anything it's made me more excited to see what Bolt does in the 200m.

    Finally a suggestion: If the point of the race is to find the fastest person over 100m then why not just have a countdown to the start and go when the clock hits 0.00s. You can still have a false start, if the pressure sensors in the blocks detect anything before the countdown finishes then it's a false start. It would take away the element of predicting the B of the Bang and you'd still find the fastest person over 100m. There needn't be a clock anywhere counting down necessarily as the athletes are looking down so wouldn't be able to see it anyway. All you would need is a series of bleeps and then the gun, to signify the start.

    http://thebigblogofsport.wordpress.com

  • Comment number 22.

    Is it not strange that none of the top 3 sprinters in world completed the 100m final! Someone might jump to the conclusion they were trying to avoid something!

  • Comment number 23.

    I was really annoyed but I've never been a fan of the rule. It was getting ridiculous when everyone was allowed to fault starts but the one for everyone worked quite well. Citing Jon Drummond is a bit unfair because he only twitched and at the time that wasn't accepted as a common fault start.

    The rules already differ between events so why not give the sprint events (up to 200m) an additional fault? There may be the odd bit of gamesmanship but if it means we get to see the best compete then it's worth it.

  • Comment number 24.

    Such a shame, especially after Farah's heroic efforts.

    But I am sure if you ask Bolt he would say they are the rules, he knew them and you have to pay the price. Doesn't make it any easier to understand why he jumped though.

    I agree with some of the points above I think athletics is struggling for traction around the world at the moment, and incidents like this will only put the arm-chair fan off even more. Bolt is bigger than the sport, it has to be said. This is a hammer blow for the championships.

    Another correction Tom, the events in the Bird's nest were 3 summers ago, not two!

  • Comment number 25.

    If the IAAF wants its product to compete with every other (mostly more popular) sports, I don't think depriving the public of its only recognised star is the way to go about it.

    Can the IOC overrule this rule for next year's Olympics? They won't want to risk a repeat of this.

  • Comment number 26.

    Three things Fordyce.

    USA beat England in the 1950 World Cup, not 1958.
    Beijing was three summers ago, not two.
    Kim Collins won gold eight years ago in 2003, not nine years ago.

    As for the Bolt, it was inexplicable. Nothing more nothing less.

    "It's a great rule, until the man you disqualify is the man carrying the sport on his large shoulders"

  • Comment number 27.

    The whole false start rule is a farce. As has been mentioned, competitors in other events that can take 2 hours to complete are allowed to foul up multiple times without penalty. Shouldn't we be seeing jumping events where the first foul means elimination? It's only fair. Or a javelin thrower who steps over the line when they have metres of available space eliminated immediately?

    The other farce of the false start rule is that you don't even have to beat the gun to be thrown out. If you twitch you are out. If you set off 0.1 seconds AFTER the gun you are thrown out as a cheat. It's a joke. If you are going to be eliminated immediately for jumping the gun then you should at least be allowed to set off at 0.00 seconds. You should be allowed to anticipate the gun at the massive and very likely risk of getting it wrong, but if you leave the blocks after the gun that is surely fair.

    There's no doubt that Bolt was foolish since he would have won this race from a standing start, but when other competitors are getting plenty of leeway it seems crazy that the most tense, most time-sensitive event has no leeway at all.

  • Comment number 28.

    @haymichael . Nobody complains about it in swimming as you so rightly say. That is for the simple reason that they have a metal bar to grab and are leaned BACK and so toppling forward or springing to action suddenly is not an accident waiting to happen. A start can only be prompted intentionally. With athletics the contenders are toppled forward balancing on their fingertips and it is entirely feasable to accidently spring yourself. Please consider the huge implications for such differences and not bring in irrelevant sports into the discussion. The current rules are ridiculous and need to be ammended to they way they were pre 2010. The introduction of the 1 false start yellow card for the entire field worked perfectly - it reduced the number of false starts from the previous farce of 1 or even earlier 2 per athlete and meant travesties like the best athletes missing the event were mostly removed (Christie and Drummond obvious outliers to this rule). In a massive pressure cooker environment of the most important race in 2 years and in a precarious body position anyone can spring too early. Do you really think Bolt was trying to predict a gun and cheat himself a good start? No one would be so stupid to take such a monumental risk - especially as he didn't need to. He could jog to win and increase his legacy. The point is, the moment can get to anybody and having 8 athletes with zero chances to get it wrong first time will increase tension, nerves and a likely crumbling of someone. If they have the buffer of the admittedly slightly unfair 1 yellow card for the entire field, it will relax people, not give much leeway for cheating and remove the travesty and humiliation of DQing people on possibly the biggest moment of their lives. Alright, so today it was Bolt - he will have more chances. But say it was the Olympics next year - some people never get that second chance. It is too big an occasion to screw up their lifelong training and careers for a false start.

  • Comment number 29.

    Just read some of the comments.

    On the one hand it's understandable people are upset at not seeing the great man run due to what is deemed a harsh rule.

    And it is a harsh rule the way it is. They should have modified the start with the new rule, given the severity of the punishment. A countdown of thee beeps: 3, 2, 1, BANG; would give the athletes a better sense of timing of when to go. It would even the starts out and reduce false starting. Waiting in the awkward starting position for the gun to go is bound to create false starts. The body is naturally tense in that position, the blood is full of adrenaline. It is inevitable there are going to be twitches and reactions.

    However, the comparisons with the long jump are ridiculous. People are trying to stretch a point they don't understand purely because they are unhappy.

  • Comment number 30.

    Apologies - of course it's not a bar, but it is the front of the starting block they can grab hold of so effectively it is the same thing.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ Gavelaa - I hadn't thought of such an idea as yours. I think it's brilliant.

  • Comment number 32.

    Gavelaa, how are the comparison ridiculous?

    A long jumper can have 5 no jumps and 1 good jump and can win gold, but a sprinter can have 1 false start over 4 rounds of sprinting and is disqualified. How is that fair?

    A no jump is the equivalent of a false start, a top performing athlete making a mistake.

    I have no problem with long jump, but I do have a big problem with one rule and your out in track sprinting. That is why I will use the long jump example to prove how stupid and harsh this rule is for sprinters.

  • Comment number 33.

    PS I think the previous rule even though it was not perfect, was much better than this new amendment.

    It seemed to be working fine. This new amendment has already had 3 high profile disqauls in Ohorougu, Chambers and Bolt. It was only implemented in 2010.

    The old rule was around for a while, and seemed to be going along fine. It did not create 3 high profile disqauls within 12 months of being implemented.

  • Comment number 34.

    32.At 01:43 29th Aug 2011, Paul Smith wrote:
    Gavelaa, how are the comparison ridiculous?

    A long jumper can have 5 no jumps and 1 good jump and can win gold, but a sprinter can have 1 false start over 4 rounds of sprinting and is disqualified. How is that fair?

    A no jump is the equivalent of a false start, a top performing athlete making a mistake.

    I have no problem with long jump, but I do have a big problem with one rule and your out in track sprinting. That is why I will use the long jump example to prove how stupid and harsh this rule is for sprinters.

    _________________

    A foul in a long jump is not the equivalent of a false start. The two events are not comparable. One, the race, is timed. Timing is scrutinised as it forms the result, hence why false starts are important. In long jump if there is a foul, there is no jump recorded, the athlete incurring no benefit from it. Why would they be disqualified? They are going to jump anyway and it is not an issue of timing. Each athlete is scheduled to have three or six jumps. Field eventers are challenging against measurements, not other competitors in direct competition. They are ranked according to their own score like golfers are in stroke play, rather than match play.

    They are totally different and fouls are totally unanalogous to false starts.

    You haven't thought this through.

  • Comment number 35.

    It is interesting to see that Tom says to feel sorry for Yohan Blake . I would , and he rightly deserves the media attention, apart from the fact that he has won a gold medal in the world championships . Realistically bronze would be fortunate at any event that included tyson gay, asafa powell and usain bolt but to have the three top guns in the sport all unable to race - that is more than fortunate .
    I would compare it to tennis - which is my main sport - where andy murray wins the us open after nadal , djokovic and federer pull out.
    On the ruling - i think it's fair ; the rules are known by the athletes and it is their decision which makes them. I agree with lifeisfunny ; bolt may well have been going for a world record time - hence the false start.

  • Comment number 36.

    Re the race:

    It's funny because it wasn't a particularly good race, given some of the ones we've seen in the Diamond League this year. Blake just under 10 seconds, Dix and Collins both just under 10.1 Bailey and Lemaitre both lads who can run well under 10 seconds and they finish well behind the pace. Why...? Maybe because they're nervous not to be DQ'ed themselves, I know they don't show it on the outside, you could see Collins a bit though he looked shocked, but they've got to be thinking "wow, if it can happen to the best ever then maybe it could happen to me". It really wasn't a good race, it wasn't a fast race and it wasn't the spectacle we all expected.

    People want to see the fastest and the best out of all the athletes, that's what it's all about.

    @alan895 He did win it for the simple reason that Bolt wasn't it in. There are no ifs or buts about it, if Bolt raced he would have won. The only things that could stop him is a false start or injuring himself.

    No one in that field would have been able to get close to him, look at his semi-final it was obsured just how far in front and how early he shut down. He knows he's the fastest, he knows he's the best, he knows Blake wouldn't have beat him, I doubt he'll feel he's lost but just disappointed that he's made such a silly mistake. He didn't even need a good start really, he could have had a terrible start and still won it.

    I honestly think he was going to go for something stupid, he didn't seem as lively as he normally does with his poses and stuff, it all seemed a bit less subdued, more focused, maybe too focused on his start. It's something that he's been working on all season and he has really improved over the year. I think he wanted to prove just how good he is and that he didn't need Gay or Powell there to try and push him.


    Usain Bolt will run sub-19s in the 200m.



    Re the rule:

    Yes it's stupid, yes it doesn't make sense, and it'll probably get changed for 2012 Olympics. Tyson Gay said last year that it was silly and that it's only a matter of time before a major competitor, himself, Powell or Bolt did it at a major event (WCs or Olympics) and now it's happened. We seen in the NY Diamond League and what a farce that was with Bledman twitching and setting off Padgett, and it didn't register on the sensors so Padgett had to go. Blake had a little twitch in the blocks and maybe that set Bolt off, but given his reaction I'm not sure, only he himself knows. If he felt it was a factor and didn't react how he did, he could have ran under protest, destroyed everyone, had it reviewed and they probably would have given it to him.

    Athletics especially sprinting has taken a battering the past couple of years, more so this year now. You've got Chambers not allowed to compete at the Olympics, Justin Gatlin coming back, Mike Rodgers and Steve Mullings failing drugs tests. Jeremy Dodson and this identity theft case, which if anyone hasn't seen he's going to be in Daegu, he may have already landed and he will be competing in the 200m. And now there is this rule which is screwing over athletes and the fans, because race organisers want the races to be done quicker, make sure the schedule is kept to... give me a break. The IAAF want to get rid of drugs controversy throughout the sport but they can't get it right when it comes to rules to enable athletes to compete at their best and allow them to show off what they can do.

    Could you imagine if the same as what happened in NY happened in Daegu or next year in London. 2, 3 sprinters all false start... won't matter who they are all hell will break loose.

  • Comment number 37.

    Gavelaa, Im not going to debate technical rules with you. You have obviously missed the essence of my point.

    I just ask you to read the above post by Azza.

  • Comment number 38.

    I can't understand the anger being generated towards the rule-makers and the IAAF in these comments. All of the athletes know the rules, they're the same for everyone, and if you break them then you have to pay the penalty.

    The only person who has 'robbed' the spectators of watching him race is Bolt himself. As has been said above, if another athlete in the final had false-started, then there would have been no debate over it.

  • Comment number 39.

    I always wonder just why there are so many false starts in athletics. I'm a swimmer and the one-start rule was introduced about 10 years ago for swimmers. Go to any major swimming meet (in fact, go to any meet at all) and there will be no or very few false starts- people just don't do it, especially not those as experienced as Usain Bolt. I think the two start styles can reasonably be compared (the way to get a fast start for swimming is also to have your centre of mass close to the front of the blocks so you have less distance to move before leaving the block; also there is no bar, only for backstrokers).

  • Comment number 40.

    I don't think the parallels with long jump, high jump etc are valid. In those events, each competitor has their own turn, and if they try too hard & mess up, it doesn't have a detrimental ripple effect on their opponents.

    I understand (and share) the disappointment of not seeing Usain Bolt run. But if it had happened to any of the other athletes (with all due respect to them), this fuss wouldn't be happening to this extent. All the competitors know the rule, and it's part of the drama (and discipline) of the event. On this occasion, the person that lost their control was the red hot favourite.

    In a head-to-head timed event, no starting system will be error-proof, but I'll offer another idea. An athlete can start at any time within 0.1 seconds of the gun (or 0.2 seconds, or whatever is deemed fair). Their finishing time is adjusted by however long it took them to get off the blocks (0.07 seconds or whatever). It wouldn't reduce the excitement, the medal still goes to the fastest man / woman on earth, and we still get to see everyone race without the spectacle being wrecked by a muscle twitch.

    Ok, this idea is probably fraught with problems of it's own, but I never claimed to be a smart man.

    While I'm coming up with ideas, this discussion made me think of an alternative format for long jump, high jump, pole vault etc. Have all competitors go at once. 8 pole vaulters all charging down the track side-by-side, now that would be a sight to see.

  • Comment number 41.

    "Christie used to talk about going on the 'B' of the bang. On Sunday night, Bolt went on the 'O' of OMG."

    Worst piece of writing I've seen for some time. And that's saying something !

  • Comment number 42.

    I just don't get this new rule.

    Don't get me wrong, Chambers and Christine O and Bolt have nobody to blame but themselves. They knew ehat the rules were well enough in advance, it is the same for everyone and I suppose it challenges mental toughness as well as physical speed, (all part of the battle), but......

    In what way does the sport benefit from this rule?

    It doesn't to my mind. The best/fastest athletes do not contest the finish.

    The only explanation that I can find anywhere is that it is to allow consistant scheduling times for TV coverage and it's just madness isn't it?

    Imagine it's London 2012 and it's the final of the 100m and Bolt is disqualified again? (I'm using him as an example to prove that this is not based on any UK bias).

    As an athletics fan don't we want to see the big finals contain the best/fastest runners? This cheapens the sport at the expense of the money-men of TV advertising. We will prioritise scheduling for Ad-breaks ahead of the Worlds best performers. It's just madness really.

    I don't really feel that sorry for those athletes involved, (because as I have said they knew the score), but I do feel sorry for the Sport itself. Seemingly run by those who's priorities are considerably removed from where they should be.

    I suppose it's just the way with much modern-day sport. :(

  • Comment number 43.

    "Bolted too soon". Clearly better than "Bolt from the blue". Can I have my pint now Tom?

  • Comment number 44.

    Ultimately, the athletes know the rules and the only person to blame for spoiling the spectacle is Bolt. Not the rules, not the starter, just the man himself. He made the mistake.

    I wonder how many people posting on here have actually done competitive athletics. It is actually quite hard to false start - unless you make a conscious decision to anticipate when the gun is going to go and take your chances.

    And where would you draw the line. Suppose the field is allowed one false start, and then Bolt had false started? Would people still be happy that he was disqualified? I suspect not. Then the argument would be for one for the field and one for the athlete? The problem is once you go down the line of the rule is unfair because I didn't see Bolt run you basically end up with an argument that says Bolt has to be allowed to run no matter what. In which case we are talking entertainment and not sport.

    A large part of athletics is about handling your nerves, the tension and the pressure and still delivering your best. Bolt lost focus and it is cost him.

    As to comparisons with long jump etc., well the nature of those events means you can have multiple attempts and, therefore, you can push to the very limit and risk a no jump/no throw. If, however, the long jump was reduced to a single jump all the athletes would simply adjust their run up accordingly and make sure they didn't get a no jump. You simply adapt your performance to the rules of the competition.

  • Comment number 45.

    Nice post. Honestly the rule is harsh but do not forget that all athletes irrespective of how big know and have to respect the rules. Bolt knew it as soon as it happened and left the track gracefully. May on this blog may have not seen how bad the old rules were, with a race held up because of several false starts. Do not forget, not everyone wants to watch athletics so TV scheduling has to be respected. Secondly, how would it be if the false start rules are abolished and replaced with reaction times at the start minus the final times? The race should be won by the first person past the post. No, the rules should not be changed

  • Comment number 46.

    I agree that the current rules (although unpopular among athletes) are a necessary evil. However, I think there is another angle to this story. Video evidence appearing on various athletics websites and YouTube is showing that Blake actually false-started first by flinching in his blocks and this is what set Bolt off ([Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]). Perhaps we need to discuss the importance of proper officiating rather than rule changes.

  • Comment number 47.

    It was clear to me at the time, and proven subsequently, that Blake twitched in his blocks next to Bolt. At the time I was interested to see if it was actually Bolt who was thrown out and almost surprised it was.

    This is where the rule is open to full abuse. If an athlete is never ever going to beat an opponent in the race, why not take a chance on getting them DQed?

    Blake is an unusual candidate for this as he was almost assured a medal, but what about the 5th/6th ranked competitor? The only chance of a medal is to reduce the field of better runners and this is far more easily acheived with this new rule than it ever was with the previous rule (which itself was open to gamesmanship and amended)

  • Comment number 48.

    The current rule is not a good rule. People have said that Bolt knew the rule and broke it, so has himself to blame. That's true, but the punishment doesn't fit the 'crime' - it's not like a footballer hitting another and being sent off in a world cup final, it's a rule that plays at the heart, the nature of the sport - a sport that is all about 100ths of second; it's almost inevitable that runners will be DQ-ed. I agree with the poster who suggested a fixed time length to the countdown, and I'd add to that that the reaction time to be DQ-ed must be sub 00:00, if runners get good at timing it, then fine; it's a level playing field after all.
    Finally I think that Bolt handled it well, for all of the criticism of him, he handled it like a champion; apart from an in-the-moment expression of frustration, taking his shirt off etc., he didn't hang around, he didn't hold things up and he hasn't been shouting injustice since.

  • Comment number 49.

    All i can say is i am glad i didnt pay several hundred pounds to be at the finishing line to watch the worlds fastest man.
    The guy next to him did flinch which is a false start, so the winner is now tainted, a complete mess.
    Yes thats the rule, but i have seen enough races where athletes false start and we are left with a nothing race, change the rule and make sure that 99% of the time the person crossing the line deserves to be World Champion not just lucked into it on the day.

  • Comment number 50.

    Cui bono? Look for irregularities in the betting...

  • Comment number 51.

    '... change the rule and make sure that 99% of the time the person crossing the line deserves to be World Champion...'

    Under the current rule I would argue that this is the case. As mentioned, this rule has been in place for swimming for years... and the 50m freestyle event relies on a good start akin to the track sprint event.

    Rules will never please everybody, so live with it. Usuain himself supported the rule and, barring the initial shock from his DQ, has made very little fuss about it.

  • Comment number 52.

    Those claiming that the rule is wrong because a high profile athlete didn't run remind me of the famous quote from WG Grace after being bowled:

    "Play on,'they've come here to see me bat, not you umpire"

    Bolt may be the greatest sprinter of all time, but he still has to obey the same rules as everybody else. If it is wrong to disqualify him after the first false start because teh crowd want to see him run, then it is equally wrong to disqualify him after the 2nd, 3rd or even 4th false start - it could get silly.

  • Comment number 53.

    Tom,

    The times for the sprints have been pretty ordinary as they have all been run into quite strong head-winds.

    Has an athletics stadium ever provided facilities which provide the opportunity to run the sprints in either direction, so that the organisers can run it with a tail wind for better times?

    It seems amazing that they spend millions developing perfect track surfaces for fast running, but then leave something so crucial up to the elements.

  • Comment number 54.

    The current rule values timely TV coverage above athletic excellence. It's idiotic (and hypocritical) of the IAAF to use Bolt's achievements to promote their championships, then create a situation in which great achievements are jeopardised by their own arbitrary rule. The 100 metres is run on a knife edge and the old rule of 2 false starts and you're out was perfectly fair for that event. Publicity-wise this issue is all about Bolt but on a purely sporting level I felt just as sorry for Chambers, losing his last shot at a global final over a single twitch when his feet never left the blocks. It's an avoidable mess, and if there's no perfect solution you surely go for the option that gives the best athletes the best chance of producing their best performances.

  • Comment number 55.

    He was showing off at the start of the race. Remember what they say 'Pride goes before a fall'.

    I still feel sorry for him though.

  • Comment number 56.

    Why not move your starting position back a few metres if you false start. It's the best compromise.

  • Comment number 57.

    There is only one person at fault for this and that is Bolt himself, these rules were introduced at the start of the year and have been used in all events this year, not just the World Champs, so the athletes should have been able to practice this and get used to it, swimmers have had ot get use to it and, with the exception of the Thorpe incident, there have been no high profile DQ's, so why can't athletes get used to it.

  • Comment number 58.

    1 false start ahead of the gun for each athelete - good rule
    1 false start within 1/10th of a second after the gun for each athelete - OK rule
    1 false start per field - dubious rule
    0 false starts - dumb rule - its a joke, the sport is about sprinting not being stationary

  • Comment number 59.

    This rule is a nonsense - and I don't even like athletics.

    What idiot would dream up a rule that means one short mistake ruins years of preparation?

    Yet again ivory tower idiots in offices ruin sport for everyone.

  • Comment number 60.

    Why not use the technology to eradicate false starts altogether - time each individual from the moment they leave the blocks to the moment they break the line - the fastest time wins - might not be the first over the line everytime but it will be the fastest runner on the day.
    And Tom - I for one liked the double meaning of the OMG line.

  • Comment number 61.

    I was just listening to BBC commentary on Radio 5 live and turned it off.
    Steve Backley ex javelin thrower is agreeing with zero tolerance for sprinters.
    Well ok Steve lets apply it across the board then! One throw of the javelin,hammer, shot etc. One jump for the long jump, triple jump, high jump pole vault etc!
    And if you mess it up you are out!
    I looked forward to the 100m final and when Bolt was dq, I turned the tv off!
    Then another commentator explained why when a heptathlete false started they got another go. Commentator explained it was because it was a multi discipline event and this was the 4th they had to compete in the day.
    Well excuse me but Bolt is multi discipline -100, 200 and relay! And was there not a semi final earlier in the day that he had to get up for?

  • Comment number 62.

    Allow one false start then, if there is a second false start disqualify BOTH false starters. That gets rid of the problem of out-psyching competitors by deliberately false starting.

  • Comment number 63.

    I expect the bookmakers still feel like winners. There was probably quite a bit of money riding on most outcomes except the one that actually occurred.

  • Comment number 64.

    come on give the guy a break, he is arguably the fastest runner of our generation.. and I believe in life all of us are allowed atleast one false start. I'm sure he will come out stronger.. on your marks, get set ... BOLT.

  • Comment number 65.

    59.
    At 12:57 29th Aug 2011, pdlepage wrote:
    This rule is a nonsense - and I don't even like athletics.
    What idiot would dream up a rule that means one short mistake ruins years of preparation?
    Yet again ivory tower idiots in offices ruin sport for everyone.

    There must be a lot of idiots, across a lot of different sports.
    How about a rule in football where if a player misses in a penalty shoot out, they get a 2nd chance. Hardly fair that when Chrissie Waddle made a single mistake, it cost him the chance of playing in a world cup final.
    Not many people whould have begrudged Tendulkar his 100th 100 at Lords, so perhaps he should have been given a second chance.
    Maybe even let Steve Davis have another crack at the black in that world championship final.
    Should relay races be re-run if an athlete drops the baton?
    Even in the 100m, a runner getting a slow start can ruin their race.

    Top level sport is about tiny margins, where sportsmen can pay a huge penalty for the smallest of mistakes. It is part of what makes sport so dramatic.

  • Comment number 66.

    I can’t believe people are comparing false starting in a track race with a no jump/throw.

    In the running events you get one chance to set your time. In a jumping/throwing event you get multiple attempts.

    Comparing a no jump to a false start would only make sense if athlete’s were only allowed one jump. In such a circumstance, if they messed up their run up they would be out.

    Nobody is suggesting that should happen (I hope) as field events are about achieving technical precision. Running events, however, are about tactical precision (perhaps not as much in 100m as the 10,000m, but the element is still there).

    The old rule for false starts was awful and needed removing. I want to watch a race at an expected time, not spend the first 2 seconds of the event wondering if it’s the real event or a false start. Spending 10 minutes messing about to get a 10 second race run was a farce.

    The current crop of sprinters are used to the safety net of being allowed a false start. Youngster won’t. In 10 years time a false start in sprinting will be relatively unheard of if the rule is kept, with no loss of skill or talent. The current athletes have known about the rule long enough to have practiced starts without the safety net behind them and should not be still false starting.

    Changing the rules to accommodate Bolt would be sending out the completely wrong message. We need to debate whether this rule is a good one regardless of who is thrown out. Had Bolt won yesterday, with the slowest athlete thrown out, we wouldn’t be having this debate today. Creating one rule for a favourite and another for everyone else is wrong – especially in a sport like sprinting which has seen it’s so-called greats tainted so many times in recent years and needs to show its zero tolerance attitude.

    The only person to blame for Bolt’s disqualification is himself. At the end of the day it didn’t mean we missed out on seeing the greatest sprinter in the world, but rather missed out on seeing a poorly prepared or overconfident athlete from winning the event. It’s sent out the message to kids over the world to respect the nature of the sport or suffer its cruel consequences.

  • Comment number 67.

    its a terrible rule. What next ? One serve in tennis ?

  • Comment number 68.

    Oh come on guys! It was a brilliant piece of theatre - perfect for the TV. Especially after all his warm up antics. And tbh it looked deliberate. Definitely keep the rule.

    And he was lucky not to be booked at the end for the shirt-ripping thing.

  • Comment number 69.

    I just wonder, if as has been reported in a few places, that the rule was amended for partly television/media needs, how many people weren't interested in what happened in the race as soon as Bolt was disqualified. It isn't the fault of the other 7 runners, but I for one felt disappointment at the fact that I wouldn't see Bolt doing what the whole World wanted to see.

  • Comment number 70.

    The biggest change that should be made is to the time between ready, set and go. It should be made automated, not left to the whim of the starter. This would let athletes practice the rhythm of their starts knowing that when it came to the race the timings would be the same as they had practiced. The randomness of the gap between 'set' and the gun would be eliminated, removing much of the twitchiness and uncertainty on the blocks. The gamesmanship of not going to your blocks for ages would also be removed.

    Also, this silliness about going less than 0.1s after the gun being a false start should be ditched. If you leave the blocks after the gun has sounded then it's a legal start. End of.

  • Comment number 71.

    Bolt and Bolt alone is to blame, he knows the rules, and he really has no need to try and jump the gun with his talent.
    Next point, some of the comments here say that this 'new' rule isn't fair on the spectators. In fact the opposite is true, as in the last 2 years there has been a vast decrease in the number of athletes jumping the gun that had previously plagued the sport. More time is spent watching the athletes do what they do best.
    This rule is not new, athletes have been under this rule now for 2 seasons and nobody batted an eyelid. As soon as Bolt breaks the rule there's uproar. Why? He's the same as any other athlete, he shouldn't be given any allowances.
    My final point is one I already alluded to - under the previous rule there were many athletes that blatantly false started every single race in order to unsettle their opponents. In my opinion this is cheating and the current rule removes any threat of this time wasting and frustrating practice.

  • Comment number 72.

    Every part of the race requires technique from the rise to the stride and yes... the start. The gentleman merely screwed up the start, an area of the race that has to be practiced and mastered. Perhaps the showmanship and clowning will now stop and Bolt will give the start the respect it deserves, because all the speed in the world is useless unless you master the start. To modify Christie's saying, go on the A of BANG, unless of course you like the lonely walk down the tunnel.

  • Comment number 73.

    Not particulary interested in athletics and I admit to not knowing a great deal about the technical aspects but there are only 3 events that would make me change over to watch, the 100m mens, 200m mens and 4x100m mens. If you start throwing out the only reason to watch the sport you will pretty soon have no worries about fitting in the adverts there will be no one watching.

  • Comment number 74.

    Simple solution, each time you false start you get penalised by moving their blocks back a set distance dependant on the event. This would make them think twice before going early as a penalty is applied not disqualification. The old system there was no penalty for attempting to jump the gun only a yellow card and putting off all your fellow competitors.

  • Comment number 75.

    In my opinion, this rule needs to be changed back to what it was pre-2010; I feared something like this would happen when they introduced it. It's not only Usain - we already know of Dwain Chambers and Christine Ohurugu, and that's just in this tournament. To train so hard for something, and then to make one tiny mistake and be told "you cannot race" must be the hardest thing for an athlete.

    Not only did the rule deprive us of the spectacle, but it will only continue to do so in future events. In my opinion, if we are going to see Bolt break his record in the 2012 Olympics, or any other event for that matter, the rule NEEDS to be changed. It is not feasible for any athlete to forget false-starting a World Championship final, when they had the medal in their hands before the competition even began. This will play on Bolt's in the future, and like I said, if we want to see Bolt go below 9.5s, the rule has to be changed back.

  • Comment number 76.

    Has anyone considered the possibility that this was a deliberate tactic - since his two biggest challengers weren't there - to build momentume for the Olympic showdown next year ?

    It's not like he didn't know the rules - or needed an extra advantage.

    It was another in the long line of "marketing" events in global sport - simple.

  • Comment number 77.

    Bolt proved he is human after all. Off course the spectators are the one missing out but the rules are put there for a reason and no exceptions should be made even if he is USain Bolt.

    The 1 start rule is used by Americans domestically so its not like its something new..it is just that the casualties or the offenders are top caliber athletes rather than an also ran

    Now they are panicking it could ruin the Olympics

  • Comment number 78.

    Its not a great rule. But it is a rule. So Bolt is out of here. In many sports, the big box office stars are given more respect and probably slight advantages. E.g. Ali got many dubious decisions, Rooney not getting sent off more etc etc. People argue that the rule shouldn't be different for short sprints. But if anything it is more logical to have the rule for the 100m rather than the marathon. If an athlete jumps the gun at the marathon then they can gain no advantage. However because 100m runners constantly jump the jun in the past, the rules have had to be altered twice in the last few years. Who remembers when we used to have numerous false starts? That was a joke situation. But Bolt should have just run under protest. My kids would have been happy and they wouldn't have understood that the wasn't going to get the gold. If he ran and timed 9.5, i wouldn't have cared that he was DQed

  • Comment number 79.

    The rules are the rules. I was very disappointed not to see Bolt race in the final but its not the IAAF's fault - it was his own. I think most people watching probably thought 'you idiot' rather than 'bad luck'. Focussing on technique and blocking out distraction under pressure is crucial in any sport. Its not as if there are lots of things for them to think about either. They need to react to the gun and run fast. That's it. The false start rule now puts 100% focus on the former from the moment they step onto the blocks -it will be a skill that needs to be mastered like any other. The no false start rule was introduced in swimming years ago and after 12 months or so of people complaining there are now no practically no false starts at all.

  • Comment number 80.

    What we don't need is a return to the bad old days when one runner would deliberately false start in order to put the whole field in danger of being disqualified, and thereby make them all more nervous to start quickly. I agree with those who say that if you 'twitch' but maintain contact with the blocks, that should be allowed. In the end, I agree with those who say that, if an athlete from (say) Vanuatu gets disqualified, nobody says it's a bad rule.

  • Comment number 81.

    I think a lot of people here are only upset because it was bolt who got disqualified. Had it been anyone else and lets face it when chambers and christine got disqualified there was no uproar what so ever. If you really want to find out who the fastest is then lets get rid of races altogether. You can have a time trial as soon as the pressure goes from the blocks the timer starts and it stops as you cross the line. No false starts and we can always find out who the fastest person is and guess what it'd be completely fair. If not and you want a race then you have to face up to the fact that the runners may try to jump the start and that can happen no matter what the rules are. At some point you have to disqualify people if we had the old rules who can say for certain bolt still wouldn't have false started? If you want a race this can happen get used to it or give up on having races or have time trials instead they could even do three runs and their fastest time only counts.

  • Comment number 82.

    @67 Marcus. One serve in tennis would be more exciting and require greater skill. I also think net cords on serve should be played too - just a thought.

    Back to Bolt - The one-false-start-and-you're-out rule is there to satisfy TV companies who want to televise races within a pre-arranged slot. TV advertising and marketing and corporate interests rule the show. The opinions of athletes who have spent years getting there are secondary (at least). Only have to look at Beijing when the swimming finals were in the morning, and the heats in the evening - all to satisfy US TV. Crazy world!

  • Comment number 83.

    Lot of people blaming bolt when it was clear as #47 said he reacted to a twitch from beside him. He was revved up ready to go and like a boxer dodged a punch thrown, reacted to a movement. If the officials were doing their job, blake would have been dqd. Fair play to bolt, no arguing, no tantrums- accepted it was his fault and left, unlike previous dq'd champions mentioned in this article who ruined the race. He showed he was a champion through respect for the rules of the sport and the officials, even though its harsh.

  • Comment number 84.

    OK GUYS, SILLY AS THIS MIGHT SOUND, YOHAN BLAKE ACTUALLY SET BOLT OFF. HE IS NOT A VICTIM BUT THE GREATEST BENEFICIARY IN ALL THIS. AFTER AN ANALYSIS OF THE RACE AGAIN MICHAEL JOHNSON ATE HIS WORDS WHEN BLAKE WAS SEEN TWITCHING FIRST!!

    DID ANYONE SEE THIS? BLAKE'S GAMEPLAN WAS TO UPSET BOLT, RENOWNED FOR HIS SLUGGISH STARTS AND IT WORKED. RIDDICULOUS.

  • Comment number 85.

    I do think the I.A.A.F are fools to themselves on this score.The reaction time allowed is 0.1, so while athletes are obviously trying not to go below that threshold at the same time they must be thinking that they need to run 0.101 or even 0.100 to give themselves the best chance of winning.Bolt's start has been improving for a couple of years.In the olympic final he got out in 0.163, in WC 2009 I think it was 0.143.This year, I think MJ was right, it's in order to compensate for other parts of his race that have been lacking.

    He looked IMMENSE in the heats.But post disqualification I reflected.This is probably partly just because he's literally doing more weight training.Also, we've seen him ease down before and still go well under 10seconds.In the WC semi's in 2009 he had a chat with Frater I think it was while jogging to a 9.89.I think he would have won, certainly.And I think his form has defineately improved in time for the world champs.But I think he's still aiming for WR's and wants to give himself the optimum chance, perhaps aware that all things considered he's not quite 100%.

    I think Bolt would have gone 9.65 in good conditions the other night,maybe slightly faster.But the conditions weren't good, and the track seems to be fairly slow.Almost all the sprint races have been run into headwinds, almost unheard of.This is why when one of the posters says he'll run under 19 I don't think it's possible.His three 200's this year have been 19.86, 20.03, 20.03.On that basis Walter Dix has a chance.But I think Bolt will win by 2-3 metres in a time of 19.4-19.5, prob into another headwind of about 1.5 m/s.

  • Comment number 86.

    Hands up all of you who wrote to the IAAF in August 2009 and complained about the rule-change.

    Why is it only NOW that you are SO upset? I'm sure there have been other athletes who have trained extremely hard and have ended up being disqualified from an event under this rule since January 2010.

    I guess the rule was fine just as long as it wasn't applied to anyone we'd heard of.

  • Comment number 87.

    I certainly didn't get up at 430 am to watch Yohan Blake run a modest 9.92. Sorry, just didn't. Come Olympics next year, I don't wanna lie, I will be crushed if the guy who can run the 100m in 9.58s is DQ'ed because of a silly rule. And yes I don't care if it seems like I am suggesting he gets special treatment. At the moment he is probably the main highlight of the world of track and field. The organizers know it, the fans know it and so do the guys with the cameras jogging to the starting line to get a shot of the DQ'ed Bolt.

  • Comment number 88.

    This could be easily solved if we had the 2 false start rule for semi finals and finals in major Championships. The TV schedules can easily deal with this for short sprints if it guarantees millions watching which it will.

    And for the other rounds go back to the 1 false start per field and 2 false starts both athletes are out. This will prevent gamesmanship and please TV companies, and most importantly please PAYING FANS!

  • Comment number 89.

    However I think arrogant athletic officials will get in the way of an easy solution.

    All I know is if big changes are not made I wont even bother watching 2012 athletics and I think I speak for millions of casual fans.

  • Comment number 90.

    People seem to forget how tedious the old rule was especially during the first round of championships .... and you can't have different rules for finals. Certainly there was a lot of gamesmanship under the old rules which also doesn't seem to be much remembered these days

    The same rule has long applied in swimming and I've never heard of any complaints there ( and a good start is pretty important in a 50 metre swim )

    Champions occasionally muck up .. adds to the theatre and makes them more human

    Incidentally what do Linford Christie and the two recent GB false starters also have in common ?

  • Comment number 91.

    Preposterous rule. It has completely devalued the blue-riband event of the games, the race that the whole world has been waiting to see, the fastest man in the world competing. For true fans, who have been looking forward to this event, it has tarnished the whole competition, frustrating the athletes and the fans, leaving a sour taste in the mouth and making the games a huge anti-climax.

    If people are paying a small fortune to see this event in the London Olympics, they will be extremely angry if Bolt, Gay or Powell are disqualified due to this draconian rule.

    I am disappointed to hear Sebastian Coe and others bleating on about rules. Rules can be changed for the good of the sport, so listen to the public and bring back the one allowed false start for the field rule, as the athletes and the paying public have been short-changed.

  • Comment number 92.

    Maybe there is a slight amendment that could help. What about letting the athletes complete the race but bring the disqualification in at the end. This would add even more to the dramatic effect for TV and let people see who was the fastest. It probably would be unfair for the 10,000m I guess! But there doesn't seem to be a good reason to bring them all back to the start each time there is a flyer now that it is instant dismissal.

  • Comment number 93.

    #67 there has been some debate about whether they should get rid of the second serve in tennis as a way of removing the dominance of the serve, particularly on grass.

    #88 having a second chance but disqualifying both athletes is interesting but still open to tactical false starts. Imagine the uproar if following Bolt's false start a 2nd athlete had false started, and then a teammate of that 2nd athlete had taken gold.

    #92 I think the rule disqualifies the person responsible for the start - if somebody goes very early do you penalise anybody else who gets drawn into a false start, or do you let them get an advantage.

 

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