The media has got very exercised about the number of disqualifications for by false starts at the World Athletics Championships and whether the one strike and you’re out rule is fair or not.
And it is a worry. If I’d paid £500 to watch Usain Bolt win the men’s 100m final at the Olympics next year, I wouldn’t be very happy if he was thrown out for being a bit previous on the blocks, so I’ve come up with some ideas.
The first is quite simple. Why don’t they give the starter a real pistol and instead of pointing it in the air, he could aim it across the track so anyone getting off too early would risk getting a bullet in the bonce.
Mrs P has pointed out that permanent disqualification might be a bit drastic, but I think that this idea of turning athletics into an extreme sport would do wonders for the tv viewing figures and really focus the athletes’ minds on getting it right first time.
For example, replacing the baton in the relay with a stick of nitroglycerin would be a real incentive not to drop it, or maybe putting razor wire on the pole vault bar as a tribute to the Berlin Wall.
But back to the sprints. If my Russian roulette solution is a step too far, the obvious answer is to have them start from stalls like the greyhounds they think they are.
The athletes wouldn’t like it because it’s hard to pose for the tv cameras and show off your bling when they’re shut up inside a box, but it would mean that every race gets off on time and without delays, the whole Olympics could be done and dusted inside a week.