- 06/28/2012, 08:25AM ET
Lightly Salted Nuts said 06/28, 08:25 AM
Allyson Felix and Jeneba Tarboh tied for the third spot on the women's 100M sprint team; however, the USATF didn't have a plan for a tiebreaker.
I'd like to propose two options each with the final argument used for clean-up.
The easiest option is a run-off. Without undue delay though. Once it was determined there was a tie, given time to look at photo finish etc.., a same-day run off between the competitors should have been initiated.
This would allow for no additional training. No media debate that always influences public opinion and, more often than not, the USATF's opinion as well.
It would also provide an impromptu measure (maybe not scientifically accurate) of the athletes' stamina and ability to recover.
Gruden said 06/28, 09:37 AM
Mine is far more simple. If you look at the picture, it is clear who actually crossed the finish line first. Jenebah Taboa did. While I realize that track and field rules are that the chest is the determiner, a simple tweak would say that when the chest is equal, you give the tie breaker to any other part of the body that crossed first. It's really just that simple, and doesn't require someone who just gave every ounce of their energy to run a race to go back and rerun it.
In your scenario, what if they tie again? Do you wait two hours and run again? Since you can't guarantee an outcome with your scenario, it doesn't solve the problem.
As for your final argument, measuring stamina and ability to recover has nothing to do with the goal of the race. If it did, they'd simply measure stamina and recovery and not race, and select from there.
And honestly, the reason they don't have a procedure in place is this is the first time in my 51 years that it has ever happened. In track and field events, they'd simple award 2 bronze medals. In this instance, any procedure to award 3rd place works. No need to race again.
Lightly Salted Nuts said 06/28, 11:09 AM
My second option would be a coin flip. Although I'm not inclined to leave such things to chance, it does maintain a level of impartiality that cannot be argued. It's that simple and that's why it's not my preferred method.
Regarding your option, I wouldn't disagree necessarily if they didn't have a policy in place already that called it a tie. That happens to be the chest.
As far as having a procedure in place, yes they need it. And, yes, this has happened. In fact, it happened at the 1984 Track & Field trials when three runners tied for second place in the hurdles. What happens to be deplorable about this situation is that the current USATF President, Stephanie Hightower, was the odd-man out in that three-way tie.
At the time, they did go to the photo for a final determination. And, she missed the cut.
So, since she lost out in a photo finish, maybe she is reluctant to go back to such a measuring stick.
Gruden said 06/28, 11:17 AM
Of course they have a policy in place that called it a tie. That's why we're discussing "tiebreakers". If the chest doesn't decide it, then you need something else, right? At least with my "first body part across the line", you decide it on the track. With your second argument you say "it makes no difference, toss a coin and take that person". There's no consideration given to to the actual athletic performance.
For my second tiebreaker, I'll submit an average of all times ran in the heats leading up to the finals. In most instances there are at least 3 heats before the finals. So in the case of a tie for 3rd, and only 3rd, for the Olympic team, you simply compile all three times from the previous heats and let the most consistent runner over the course of the Olympic qualifying event determine which of the 3rd place runners you want to add to the team. I'd rather have a consistent runner over someone who had one big burst in the finals.
And honestly, 1984? Every 28 years is a big cause for concern? And Hightower lost to a photo finish picture. They still use it today. They'd "go back" to nothing.
Lightly Salted Nuts said 06/28, 12:54 PM
Well, seeing that the Summer Games only come around once every four years, that's twice in seven cycles. That's 29% of the time, Mr. Gruden. So, if nearly 1/3 of the cycles have such an issue, it is of concern.
And, based on your argument of using the photo finish, it seems that only you have identified the winner because they still haven't decided how they will determine the winner. So, your photo finish that is "still in use today" apparently isn't.
The advantage of a same day run-off is clearly addressing the issue immediately for both the participants' and the team's benefit. What does the NBA or the NFL (in the playoffs) do in the event of a tie at the end of regulation? Keep playing until a winner is determined.
The likelihood of another tie is reduced, and if it happens again, yes, the two-hour breather and back into the blocks. That's what athletes do. They compete.
Gruden said 06/28, 02:36 PM
And the last time before it happened 28 years ago? Your math is skewed by thinking things only happen on earth in your lifetime. It's happened twice IN THE HISTORY OF USA OLYMPICS.
Now, you're confused as to what I said about photo finish. Which is a common mistake of many in a throwdown. I didn't say photo finish solved this one, I simply said that you were wrong about it in a previous statement. It's OK, common mistake.
But, the photo finish you said isn't working clearly shows one would win by my standards of first across the line in any fashion to decide a winner in a tiebreak. So, its working just fine.
My final solution, which you decided not to use..but to simply return to your first argument, is simply to turn to national rankings. Which runner has the better history. Which has the better times in other meets. Your solution sounds like you think Olympic qualifying is equal to an NBA game. We aren't deciding the game, we're deciding who plays in the game. In the event of a tie, send the one proven to be the best over time. Look at previous stats and pick the winner.
So simple. Why are we even discussion it?
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