Making Diving at the End of a Race Illegal


Now, this may sound ridiculous, but hear me out.

Obviously, this thought was spurred by Wheating’s clutch dive to grab the fourth spot in the 1500 at USAs by .01 seconds.
When I saw this, and remembering a similar dive at the '08 Olympic trials, I thought “Wow, that’s kind of ridiculous that two world teams have been decided by a dive in the last three years”. I know this is part of the sport or whatever and it’s just an all-out last ditch effort, but as I thought about it I had trouble understanding why it’s a legal move.
Let’s say yesterday Leer and Wheating decided to dive at the exact same moment, Leer would’ve won. But let’s say that Leer was maybe an inch in front of Wheating and they both dove, Wheating would win because of the simple fact that he is taller. So at that point, the race is decided a) not by the fitness of the athletes b) not by which athlete had the better kick at the end, but by their height. And I think that’s stupid. Not to mention that it becomes who can jump the furthest not who can run the fastest.

I know 90% of you will disagree with me and I assume this wouldn’t be the case if, say, Jake Riley dove to beat Solinsky out of a spot, but still 80% of you would disagree with me. But I think it’s a logical argument, what are you guys thinking?

BTW I’m not super strongly for this or whatever I’m just kind of kicking the idea around because of my uncertainty.


I just think “racing” for fourth place is the stupidest thing ever. I haven’t made any comments on this whole situation yet because I just find the whole incident ridiculous.

Diving is dumb, I agree.


I guess they should make leaning at the line illegal to then?


I’ll assume you’re kidding, but for the benefit of those who may not realize it:

Think for a second . . . this was the selection race for the WCs. Top three go. USATF allows chasing the standard this year.

Lagat was second. He’s not going to run 1500 at the WCs, so the guy in fourth (Wheating, in this case) gets to go (assuming he gets the standard). Had, say, Leer nipped Wheating, he’d be the one going (again, assuming achievement of the standard).

Turns out that racing for fourth was racing for a spot on the WC team.

But that’s the logic. Here’s the real reason: Racing is a competitive endeavor. If you’re a competitor, you’re not even thinking about what the place is, you just want to beat everybody you can. Simple as that. There is no restricter plate on your desire to win or make a national team.

You see a guy. You see the line. You want to get to the line before the guy. Simple as that. It’s not even a thought. It’s an instinct.

Many a cross country title has been won or lost because the fifth guy on a cross team lunged for the line to finish 97th instead of 98th.


I thought about addressing this but decided I wouldn’t until someone else did. But leaning is different because you’re not stretching out your whole body. There is a clear distinction between leaning forward to the point of falling and diving.


This is all true but you didn’t address any of my arguments.


I find your whole argument ridiculous, but I’m gonna address this part: height is part of the deal. Play the hand you’re dealt. You’re tall? Use it to your advantage. That’s like a 5’3" high jumper complaining the event is unfair.


i see exactly where your point is coming from, but there are couple of flaws to it

a lot of hurdlers dip very badly at the end of a race, as do a lot of other athletes, this results in them falling, it’s not that they were diving but because they were travelling at speed it makes it look like they are. Now i agree there have been people who have actually dived, with no intention of trying to stop themselves falling, but then the question arises who tells the difference between a dip-and-fall or a dive, this could lead to a lot of controversy.

then there’s the height element to it, a race is decided by an athletes physicalty (can’t think of a better word, but i use this to describe height, leg speed, endurance, width, phscy, fast twitch muscles, slow twitch muscles, kick. etc, etc.) is what determines the outcome of a race. wheating is good because he has a big stride length, one of the main reasons for this is height, now his height therefore played a large part in getting him to 1499m, why can’t it play a part in that final 1?

there have been many sprint races where the outcome is decided by the dip, an athlete can be behind but have the better dip, you can see this is as there chest is in front of another runners but their bum is behind them, like this one

merritt one but purely because he has the dip on wariner, now it would be fairer to time them on the lower abdomen or something, but that would result in all the times having to be either re-looked at or scrapped, way too much effort,

imo it won’t change the whole dip-and-fall thing would cause too much controversy, and i think that an occasional dive gives track a bit of fun, i mean if the person who was in first wanted to win so bad they would dive as well, witness tabarie henry on the 4x4 anchor at pac 10.


I guess that might be because I wasn’t responding to your post.


Well, I’m convinced.


How on earth can you come to this conclusion? That dive essentially salvaged his season. Without it, his primary goal is off the table.


They should measure it by the crotch area instead of by the torso, so that at the finish line we get a whole bunch of thrusts instead of a whole bunch of dives.



Black people would have even more of an advantage.



I think it is just part of the sport and makes things exciting. However I do think it should be monitored better, that if you hit another person you get DQ’d

As much as I would love for someone to take the advantage away that height gives you in track and field… I am a 5’5 male pole vaulter.

But genetics are a part of track and field, and you can’t make a rule that would try and take away height advantages. In that case you would have to lower the hurdles for shorter guys, let smaller pole vaulters use a deeper box, tell long jumpers they can not extend in their jump, make shot putters stand farther away from the line when they release the shot… ect…

Look at sports like swimming, when you are say 6’6 compared to 5’6, you get a foot head start on everyone and swim a foot shorter every lap.


If you think about it though, diving at the finish line could actually cost you a little bit. You can’t just be running full speed then dive, you kind of have to gather yourself and push off a little bit. The dive obviously helped Wheating, but in other instances where the runner they are competiting against is going all out, that runner, not the diver, can win out just because they don’t waste any time or energy gathering for a dive, instead they just drive right through the finish.


Hmm, touche.


Complaining that someone has a diving advantage because of their height is like complaining that Centro has an unfair advantage over my little brother because he’s more talented, or that kids from Utah have an advantage over Florida residents because they live at altitude. You do what you can to put out the best performance, and if that means diving at the end then go for it. We want to field a team of guys who are 1) the best at their event and 2) want to be on the team the most. Now I’m sure Will desperately wanted to be on the team, and it’s a shame that he missed the chance so narrowly, but Wheating was willing to do more on that day for a spot, and that’s why he gets it (at least in this case).


LaShawn Merritt heartily agrees!

I think they should outlaw anything that gives an advantage to people with certain inherent physical traits. Height, kickass bone density, naturally high Hb, etc. So, basically, we’re not playing any sports anymore. Nothing that uses our brains either, since, despite what your first grade teacher told you, some people are congenitally smarter than others. That leaves …

I fart in the general direction of this argument.


Although I’d imagine this would make ExtenZe illegal so he’d have to come up with a different excuse.


I think diving should be illegal because i’ve seen people fall as a result of tripping on someone diving, and they could’ve gotten hurt too. The race was already scary as it was seeing everyone jogging in a tight group and all that pushing going on (I feel soo bad for lomong). Also a race is done by running not diving, even if it is a last ditch effort. If a race should be decided by who wants to win the most than wheating should have just punched the damn guy in the face. He didnt want it though because he resorted to something other than running. If you inadvertently dive as a result of leaning forward at the end that is different because that person was still in the process of running, when the person initiates a dive he or she has to launch himself off his feet ending his process of running.