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Thorpe and the rules (long)



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 31st 04, 03:08 AM
TRPLATT
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Posts: n/a
Default Thorpe and the rules (long)

The only reason that this debate is continuing is because Thorpe is a superstar
and the odds on favorite to win a gold medal in the 400 free. If the violator
was a second tier swimmer, he would be out and that would end it.

At a more fundamental level what is the function of rules in swimming? Lets
consider a couple of different scenarios.

The first two involve failing to touch the wall on a turn.

1) The start to the 400 free is clean and after 345 meters Thorpe has a half
pool length on the rest of the field. He misjudges the turn, gets no push off
the wall but continues to win by a few strokes over his nearest competitor. The
judge disqualifies him because he failed to touch the wall. High resolution
ceiling cameras (spy satellite variety - humor me) confirm the judges deckside
ruling. Thorpe gained no advantage and won anyway. Why should he be
disqualified?

2) Same race, same situation. One of Thorpe's desperate competitors flips at
the 325 mark (middle of the pool), and while losing momentum, out touches a
fast closing Thorpedo at the wall. The judge disqualifies the miscreant and
Thorpe wins. The miscreant did give up momentum but gained an unfair advantage
by failing to swim the entire race and we would all agree with the
disqualification.

Analysis: Neither swimmer completed the entire race. Both are guilty of rule
violations and both deserve to be disqualified. Where do the officials draw the
line between the two situations?

The third scenario involves the start.

1) The 100 freestyle the referee calls the swimmers to the blocks and the
starter commands, "swimmers" take your mark. In a fraction of a second the
swimmers are in the water and one swimmer gets a phenomenal jump and has 1/2 a
body length on the field at 15 meters. By the end of the race our leader is
fading but hangs on to win by .01 second.

a) If the winner moved at any point before the starting horn sounded, he had
an unfair advantage and should be disqualified.

b) If the winner correctly (and dangerously) anticipated the starting horn but
did not move before it sounded he is good (and lucky) and is the winner.

Analysis: The line between an unfair and fair start is very small but can have
significant consequences.

(Shades of Rowdy Gaines and Mark Stockwell - Los Angeles 1984. Most
Australians, including Stockwell as I recall) claim Gaines jumped and Americans
claim the start was fair and Rowdy lived dangerously.)

The no chance rule was (I suspect) instituted to attempt to reduce the chance
of a competitor "catching a flyer" and gaining an unfair advantage. This levels
the playing field unless a competitor is willing to take the chance of false
starting and being disqualified.

It is hard to tell from the videotape whether Thorpe was trying to get an
advantage that he didn't need, or just lost his balance. This same situation
occurred in the NCAA Track and Field championships (800 meters I think) and the
competitor was disqualified. Thorpe is an experienced swimmer and should not
make that kind of mistake.

Rules (and the officials strict adherence to them) protects "all" competitors
against gross cheating, as well as attempts to obtain small unfair advantages,
although every once in awhile someone will catch a flyer - legally. I don't
know what Thorpe was thinking, but he broke the rules and should be
disqualified.

It would be a shame if the Australian Olympic Committee violated its own
selection procedures and put Thorpe in the 400 free as much as I would like to
see him swim it.

You either play by rules or don't play. It is the only way to insure that
training, talent, and fair play will win - at least the majority of the time.

TRP
  #2  
Old March 31st 04, 04:40 AM
diablo
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Thorpe and the rules (long)

i don't think anyone is disputing the fact that Thorpe shouldn't be
installed to his 'rightful' position as Australia's qualifier for the 400
free - rather that that rule is especially harsh when you're selecting your
best team.

yes, the rules should shadow the event you're trialling for in order to
simulate the pressure and situation, however no one in their right mind can
reasonably say Thorpe isn't the obvious choice for that slot, and the rules
should account for that, even if it is in place only for the trial situation
to safeguard your own interests.

"TRPLATT" wrote in message
...
The only reason that this debate is continuing is because Thorpe is a

superstar
and the odds on favorite to win a gold medal in the 400 free. If the

violator
was a second tier swimmer, he would be out and that would end it.

At a more fundamental level what is the function of rules in swimming?

Lets
consider a couple of different scenarios.

The first two involve failing to touch the wall on a turn.

1) The start to the 400 free is clean and after 345 meters Thorpe has a

half
pool length on the rest of the field. He misjudges the turn, gets no push

off
the wall but continues to win by a few strokes over his nearest

competitor. The
judge disqualifies him because he failed to touch the wall. High

resolution
ceiling cameras (spy satellite variety - humor me) confirm the judges

deckside
ruling. Thorpe gained no advantage and won anyway. Why should he be
disqualified?

2) Same race, same situation. One of Thorpe's desperate competitors flips

at
the 325 mark (middle of the pool), and while losing momentum, out touches

a
fast closing Thorpedo at the wall. The judge disqualifies the miscreant

and
Thorpe wins. The miscreant did give up momentum but gained an unfair

advantage
by failing to swim the entire race and we would all agree with the
disqualification.

Analysis: Neither swimmer completed the entire race. Both are guilty of

rule
violations and both deserve to be disqualified. Where do the officials

draw the
line between the two situations?

The third scenario involves the start.

1) The 100 freestyle the referee calls the swimmers to the blocks and the
starter commands, "swimmers" take your mark. In a fraction of a second the
swimmers are in the water and one swimmer gets a phenomenal jump and has

1/2 a
body length on the field at 15 meters. By the end of the race our leader

is
fading but hangs on to win by .01 second.

a) If the winner moved at any point before the starting horn sounded, he

had
an unfair advantage and should be disqualified.

b) If the winner correctly (and dangerously) anticipated the starting

horn but
did not move before it sounded he is good (and lucky) and is the winner.

Analysis: The line between an unfair and fair start is very small but can

have
significant consequences.

(Shades of Rowdy Gaines and Mark Stockwell - Los Angeles 1984. Most
Australians, including Stockwell as I recall) claim Gaines jumped and

Americans
claim the start was fair and Rowdy lived dangerously.)

The no chance rule was (I suspect) instituted to attempt to reduce the

chance
of a competitor "catching a flyer" and gaining an unfair advantage. This

levels
the playing field unless a competitor is willing to take the chance of

false
starting and being disqualified.

It is hard to tell from the videotape whether Thorpe was trying to get an
advantage that he didn't need, or just lost his balance. This same

situation
occurred in the NCAA Track and Field championships (800 meters I think)

and the
competitor was disqualified. Thorpe is an experienced swimmer and should

not
make that kind of mistake.

Rules (and the officials strict adherence to them) protects "all"

competitors
against gross cheating, as well as attempts to obtain small unfair

advantages,
although every once in awhile someone will catch a flyer - legally. I

don't
know what Thorpe was thinking, but he broke the rules and should be
disqualified.

It would be a shame if the Australian Olympic Committee violated its own
selection procedures and put Thorpe in the 400 free as much as I would

like to
see him swim it.

You either play by rules or don't play. It is the only way to insure that
training, talent, and fair play will win - at least the majority of the

time.

TRP



  #3  
Old March 31st 04, 06:38 AM
Michael Sollner
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Thorpe and the rules (long)

I think this entire situation shows that the false start rule that was
initiated in 1998 needs to be revisited. I've been out of competitive
swimming for a long time and did not realize that it had gone to one and
done. I remember long ago, each individual swimmer was allowed 1 false
start, then was DQ'd on the second. That got ridiculous because you could
have 4 or 5 attempts before getting a race started. Then, as I recall, the
rule went to one false start on anybody counted as one for the entire field,
then the next person to false start would be DQ'd. I like that method better
that one and done. The one and done system seems to lend itself to sitaution
like this where a person could slip, get overbalanced, etc. I just don't
like it.

The rules are as they are. Thorpe was deked and IMO, shouldn't be allowed to
compete, as much as we all would like to see it. But I hope that FINA
changes the rule after the Olympics to something a little more equitable.


  #6  
Old March 31st 04, 02:16 PM
Ernest the Sheep
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Thorpe and the rules (long)

Michael Sollner wrote:
I think this entire situation shows that the false start rule that was
initiated in 1998 needs to be revisited. I've been out of competitive
swimming for a long time and did not realize that it had gone to one
and done. I remember long ago, each individual swimmer was allowed 1
false start, then was DQ'd on the second. That got ridiculous because
you could have 4 or 5 attempts before getting a race started. Then,
as I recall, the rule went to one false start on anybody counted as
one for the entire field, then the next person to false start would
be DQ'd. I like that method better that one and done. The one and
done system seems to lend itself to sitaution like this where a
person could slip, get overbalanced, etc. I just don't like it.

The rules are as they are. Thorpe was deked and IMO, shouldn't be
allowed to compete, as much as we all would like to see it. But I
hope that FINA changes the rule after the Olympics to something a
little more equitable.


I don't think anyone is suggesting that Thorpe shouldn't have been DQ'd.
What I do find objectionable is that he unable to defend his title because
of it. It's a sick joke as far as I'm concerned. He is the greatest 400m
swimmer in history. The Olympics are the supreme occassion in sport. He's
been training most of his life for this very occasion, and now it's been
snatched away from him.

I'm also sick of hearing all this phoney hogwash about rules and fairness.
As far as I'm concerned Thorpe shouldn't even have to qualify. As defending
champion he should be given automatic entrance. You know it makes sense.


  #7  
Old March 31st 04, 02:37 PM
Martin W. Smith
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Thorpe and the rules (long)

"Ernest the Sheep" wrote:

Michael Sollner wrote:
I think this entire situation shows that the false start rule that was
initiated in 1998 needs to be revisited. I've been out of competitive
swimming for a long time and did not realize that it had gone to one
and done. I remember long ago, each individual swimmer was allowed 1
false start, then was DQ'd on the second. That got ridiculous because
you could have 4 or 5 attempts before getting a race started. Then,
as I recall, the rule went to one false start on anybody counted as
one for the entire field, then the next person to false start would
be DQ'd. I like that method better that one and done. The one and
done system seems to lend itself to sitaution like this where a
person could slip, get overbalanced, etc. I just don't like it.

The rules are as they are. Thorpe was deked and IMO, shouldn't be
allowed to compete, as much as we all would like to see it. But I
hope that FINA changes the rule after the Olympics to something a
little more equitable.


I don't think anyone is suggesting that Thorpe shouldn't have been DQ'd.
What I do find objectionable is that he unable to defend his title because
of it. It's a sick joke as far as I'm concerned. He is the greatest 400m
swimmer in history. The Olympics are the supreme occassion in sport. He's
been training most of his life for this very occasion, and now it's been
snatched away from him.


What about the World Championships? The O;ympics are bigger only
because of the hype, certainly not because the race means anything
more in swimming than any other race where the best 400 men can be
there.

I'm also sick of hearing all this phoney hogwash about rules and fairness.
As far as I'm concerned Thorpe shouldn't even have to qualify. As defending
champion he should be given automatic entrance. You know it makes sense.


That isn't phoney hogwash. You don't change the rules in the middle of
the qualification process; you do it right after the Olympics so all
the swimmers know what is expected of them and don't have to worry
about shifting goalposts.

  #8  
Old March 31st 04, 02:44 PM
Ernest the Sheep
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Thorpe and the rules (long)

Martin W. Smith wrote:
"Ernest the Sheep" wrote:

Michael Sollner wrote:
I think this entire situation shows that the false start rule that
was initiated in 1998 needs to be revisited. I've been out of
competitive swimming for a long time and did not realize that it
had gone to one
and done. I remember long ago, each individual swimmer was allowed 1
false start, then was DQ'd on the second. That got ridiculous
because you could have 4 or 5 attempts before getting a race
started. Then,
as I recall, the rule went to one false start on anybody counted as
one for the entire field, then the next person to false start would
be DQ'd. I like that method better that one and done. The one and
done system seems to lend itself to sitaution like this where a
person could slip, get overbalanced, etc. I just don't like it.

The rules are as they are. Thorpe was deked and IMO, shouldn't be
allowed to compete, as much as we all would like to see it. But I
hope that FINA changes the rule after the Olympics to something a
little more equitable.


I don't think anyone is suggesting that Thorpe shouldn't have been
DQ'd. What I do find objectionable is that he unable to defend his
title because of it. It's a sick joke as far as I'm concerned. He is
the greatest 400m swimmer in history. The Olympics are the supreme
occassion in sport. He's been training most of his life for this
very occasion, and now it's been snatched away from him.


What about the World Championships? The O;ympics are bigger only
because of the hype, certainly not because the race means anything
more in swimming than any other race where the best 400 men can be
there.


Stop being such a clown! The Olympics are the biggest event in sport.


I'm also sick of hearing all this phoney hogwash about rules and
fairness. As far as I'm concerned Thorpe shouldn't even have to
qualify. As defending champion he should be given automatic
entrance. You know it makes sense.


That isn't phoney hogwash. You don't change the rules in the middle of
the qualification process; you do it right after the Olympics so all
the swimmers know what is expected of them and don't have to worry
about shifting goalposts.


Why not? Clearly the rules are flawed.


  #9  
Old March 31st 04, 02:49 PM
Martin W. Smith
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Thorpe and the rules (long)

"Ernest the Sheep" wrote:

Martin W. Smith wrote:
"Ernest the Sheep" wrote:

Michael Sollner wrote:
I think this entire situation shows that the false start rule that
was initiated in 1998 needs to be revisited. I've been out of
competitive swimming for a long time and did not realize that it
had gone to one
and done. I remember long ago, each individual swimmer was allowed 1
false start, then was DQ'd on the second. That got ridiculous
because you could have 4 or 5 attempts before getting a race
started. Then,
as I recall, the rule went to one false start on anybody counted as
one for the entire field, then the next person to false start would
be DQ'd. I like that method better that one and done. The one and
done system seems to lend itself to sitaution like this where a
person could slip, get overbalanced, etc. I just don't like it.

The rules are as they are. Thorpe was deked and IMO, shouldn't be
allowed to compete, as much as we all would like to see it. But I
hope that FINA changes the rule after the Olympics to something a
little more equitable.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that Thorpe shouldn't have been
DQ'd. What I do find objectionable is that he unable to defend his
title because of it. It's a sick joke as far as I'm concerned. He is
the greatest 400m swimmer in history. The Olympics are the supreme
occassion in sport. He's been training most of his life for this
very occasion, and now it's been snatched away from him.


What about the World Championships? The O;ympics are bigger only
because of the hype, certainly not because the race means anything
more in swimming than any other race where the best 400 men can be
there.


Stop being such a clown! The Olympics are the biggest event in sport.


Because of the hype, not because they actually represent races that
are the most important in swimming. One can easily argue that the
World Championships and the Pan Pacific Championships are more
important swimming events.

Certainly the US World Series is a bigger baseball competition than
Olympic baseball, and the World Series of Cricket is even bigger than
the World Series of baseball, and cricket isn't even an Olympic sport.

I'm also sick of hearing all this phoney hogwash about rules and
fairness. As far as I'm concerned Thorpe shouldn't even have to
qualify. As defending champion he should be given automatic
entrance. You know it makes sense.


That isn't phoney hogwash. You don't change the rules in the middle of
the qualification process; you do it right after the Olympics so all
the swimmers know what is expected of them and don't have to worry
about shifting goalposts.


Why not? Clearly the rules are flawed.


Clearly? Clearly to you, you mean. It is clear to me that the rules
are flawed with respect to performance enhancing drugs, since the
current rules require the world to spend hundreds of millions of
dollars on drug testing that could be spent on sports.

martin

  #10  
Old March 31st 04, 03:00 PM
Ernest the Sheep
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Thorpe and the rules (long)

Martin W. Smith wrote:
"Ernest the Sheep" wrote:

Martin W. Smith wrote:
"Ernest the Sheep" wrote:

Michael Sollner wrote:
I think this entire situation shows that the false start rule that
was initiated in 1998 needs to be revisited. I've been out of
competitive swimming for a long time and did not realize that it
had gone to one
and done. I remember long ago, each individual swimmer was
allowed 1 false start, then was DQ'd on the second. That got
ridiculous because you could have 4 or 5 attempts before getting
a race started. Then,
as I recall, the rule went to one false start on anybody counted
as one for the entire field, then the next person to false start
would be DQ'd. I like that method better that one and done. The
one and done system seems to lend itself to sitaution like this
where a person could slip, get overbalanced, etc. I just don't
like it.

The rules are as they are. Thorpe was deked and IMO, shouldn't be
allowed to compete, as much as we all would like to see it. But I
hope that FINA changes the rule after the Olympics to something a
little more equitable.

I don't think anyone is suggesting that Thorpe shouldn't have been
DQ'd. What I do find objectionable is that he unable to defend his
title because of it. It's a sick joke as far as I'm concerned. He
is the greatest 400m swimmer in history. The Olympics are the
supreme occassion in sport. He's been training most of his life
for this very occasion, and now it's been snatched away from him.

What about the World Championships? The O;ympics are bigger only
because of the hype, certainly not because the race means anything
more in swimming than any other race where the best 400 men can be
there.


Stop being such a clown! The Olympics are the biggest event in sport.


Because of the hype, not because they actually represent races that
are the most important in swimming. One can easily argue that the
World Championships and the Pan Pacific Championships are more
important swimming events.


Go on then. I'm all ears.


Certainly the US World Series is a bigger baseball competition than
Olympic baseball, and the World Series of Cricket is even bigger than
the World Series of baseball, and cricket isn't even an Olympic sport.


I have no idea what you're on about.


I'm also sick of hearing all this phoney hogwash about rules and
fairness. As far as I'm concerned Thorpe shouldn't even have to
qualify. As defending champion he should be given automatic
entrance. You know it makes sense.

That isn't phoney hogwash. You don't change the rules in the middle
of the qualification process; you do it right after the Olympics so
all the swimmers know what is expected of them and don't have to
worry about shifting goalposts.


Why not? Clearly the rules are flawed.


Clearly? Clearly to you, you mean. It is clear to me that the rules
are flawed with respect to performance enhancing drugs, since the
current rules require the world to spend hundreds of millions of
dollars on drug testing that could be spent on sports.


Oh, so now you're in favour of drugs. I'm beginning to suspect you may be
some sort of usenet kook!


 




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