The 2011 Pre Classic "false starts"


Now this was something that annoyed me a bit, at the Pre classic there were two false starts one in the mens 100m and one in the womens 400m, i can’t remember who it was in the mens 100m ivory williams i think.

but this was the one that annoyed me, the womens 400m, allyson felix twitched in the blocks (very obviously), way before the gun, so when the gun went off she just jogged a little bit, waiting for the second gun and the inevitable disqualification, so when they shoot the gun a second time, she was waiting for a red card. it never came, instead a green card was shown to the field signifying a technical difficulty.

now, the fact of the matter is that it was definitly a false start, but imo because the womens 400m being billed as “felix vs. richards-ross” was a bit of a marquee event, she wasn’t disqualified, that’s certainly what it felt like anyway.

this was always going to be a problem with the new false start rule, (people used the “what if bolt false starts in the olympics in the semi’s, what then” example and this is, whilst not as exaggerated, similair) and the officials did not follow through with it. i’m dissapointed to be honest…


I called Williams in lane two for a shoulder flinch that drew Frater and Rodgers out. I did a fair amount of HS/club starting in the 1970s, faced with the same thing would have called them up-moved to the line an restated "when I call set- you will quickly come to your final starting position and remain motionless- anyone moving will be called for a false start— I WILL hold you

gh(T&FN editor) for those who don’t know is one of the the stadium announcesr for the Olympics, <>League and many other IAAF bigdeal meets around the globe.

The Omega technicians (all Swiss), said the block readouts clearly said there was no indication of illegal movement by Williams. I did not get a chance to ask them what the figures were on Felix, but as I noted on another thread, the consensus in the announce booth was that she ahd certainly at least “flinched.” And as I said, not sure that relying too much on technology doesn’t lead to starters no longer voting with their eyes.

While I never used the auto system when starting I have noticed that many “flinches” that draw others out go unpunished if the flincher maintained pressure on the blocks and the other runner by reacting to the movement did alter their pressure. I agree with Garry that some(many) starter do not call what they see just what the beep-in-the ears says.
If I the starter Ms Felix would have been called for a falsie-that said I also never worked under the one and out rule; Would I have a different or have modified my level of tolerance under it? I don’t knw. . The 400 with the staggers maked the flinch/movement before the gun less of an issue than when the runners are shoulder to shoulder on the line.
As an official my position was we were there to insure an even playing field not to look for ways to impose our ‘official’ presence on a meet.


I do not think flinching in the 400 should be a false start, the staggers in the 400 are too far apart for it to matter. Not so sure about the 200. I have never ran it before so I can’t tell if the staggers are short enough for it to mean anything. I think you had the right philosophy when it comes to being an official. I bet you were a really good one.


Thanks lot of good officials around we just notice the poor ones. I was lucky I had good mentors. My HS Coach Marty Lewis most of all. One of my HS goals was to run in MSG and maybe in the Millrose Games. Alas that never happened. When I was asked to be Chief Clerk of Course at the Millrose Games Marty said-- you always wanted to run at Millrose and now you’re one of the head officials that runs the whole meet- I was so proud that he was proud of me. I actually was more emotionally broken up about his death than I was about my Dad’s passing-truth- tears in my eyes now as I type. Marty was such a special person. I was so blessed to have him take me under his wing…
We have some really good officials posting on this board BTW.

I think that doing one and out in races 400 and up is dumb and makes officials go to the “Camera Click” excuse to often. Why make them lie? The job is hard enough with out bringing in a morals issue- I’d don’t want to DQ this guy in the 5000 but the rule is the rule.

I wish more runners would get involved in officiating when their running days are over and even before.