.006 SECONDS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD RECORD

By
Updated: May 17, 2006

.006 SECONDS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD RECORD

WRONG NUMBER FOR JUSTIN GATLIN

6 thousands of 1 second

a time so brief in human terms

it is impossible to notice but

not when it comes to

Track Records

American sprinter Justin Gatlin just found out the Hard Way. Euphoric since last week when he appeared to set a new world record in the 100 meter racing in Qatar, and earning him the unofficial but coveted title of ” World’s Fastest Man.” Now it turns out he isn’t. Or more specifically Gatlin is one of the 2 fastest men on Earth.

Because of an IAAF rule

( Int’l Assoc. of Athletic Federations )

referred to as

“rounding up”

Not that we have a “solution” but what is interesting about this Story all over the sports pages round the world is its Absurdity on any meaningful level. Gatlin was hailed for a week for “shaving” 1/ 100th of a second off the previous record by Jamaica’s Asafa Powell. Lowering his record of 9.77 seconds to 9.76 seconds.

It turns out, without explanation for the delay, Gatlin’s time in the 100 meter was 9.766 seconds as recorded by Tissot Timing, not 9.76 seconds. Keep in mind all the time how infinitesimal in human term .006 seconds or 6 thousands of a second is.

The time is recorded electronically from the moment the start signal is given until something anything on a runner’s “being” touches the invisible electronic beam across the finish line. Meaning the sway of his hand even more the length of his finger nail, certainly the length of his fingers could be the deciding factor between record or no record. Whether your index finger is 6 inches or 9 inches long. Or maybe whether you are wearing tight fitting running shorts or baggier ones.

Anything could account for .006 second. Whatever touches the Line first.

Here is the Point

For better or worse. Or how about without any significance. The world of sports, especially track & field, bestows world records, and in the Olympics awards Gold Medals for superior performances that are really often no better than the previous record holder, or the second place finisher in any race, no more better than the non-existent talent or ability inherent in holding a winning lottery ticket.

Now here is the Counterpoint

Records and breaking records are a natural logical element in the very nature of track events and foot races. That being the case any validly documented better performance deserves to win or gain the Record. Fair enough.

Except

Any logical concept can be take to illogical extremes. The IAAF just as it has a rule about “rounding up” times could very legitimately decide that a time in the 100 meter must be 1/10 of a second better to claim a new record. A “reasonable” difference between one performance and another.

And how about this unfairness.

Even if Justin Gatlin’s time had been 9.761 seconds 1/1000th of a second away from 9.76 and a new world record, the time he would have been “awarded” would still have been only 9.77. Want more. There is no reason times cannot be tabulated to the 10,000th place. Why stop at 1000th of a second no less Absurd.

Then there is Weather.

There is no dispute whatsoever that winds, temperature and humidity, and altitude of course all impact times at the 1/1000th of a second level. Is it fair that a runner with as wind at his back that the previous record holder did not have can claim a new record. Or one runner racing in weather 20 degrees warmer or humidity twice as high. Or a track of smaller granules. When the coin of the Realm is measured in Thousandths of a second it all Counts.

Where to draw the Line ??

Here is our Conclusion

Since the IAAF tabulates

100 meter race times to

Thousandth of a Second

Justin Gatlin’s time of

9.766 is Better than

Asafa Powell’s

9.77 Seconds

Therefore

Justin Gatlin

is the new world record holder

in the 100 meter

End of Story.

6 thousands of 1 second

a time so brief in human terms

it is impossible to notice but

not when it comes to

Track Records

American sprinter Justin Gatlin just found out the Hard Way. Euphoric since last week when he appeared to set a new world record in the 100 meter racing in Qatar, and earning him the unofficial but coveted title of ” World’s Fastest Man.” Now it turns out he isn’t. Or more specifically Gatlin is one of the 2 fastest men on Earth.

Because of an IAAF rule

( Int’l Assoc. of Athletic Federations )

referred to as

“rounding up”

Not that we have a “solution” but what is interesting about this Story all over the sports pages round the world is its Absurdity on any meaningful level. Gatlin was hailed for a week for “shaving” 1/ 100th of a second off the previous record by Jamaica’s Asafa Powell. Lowering his record of 9.77 seconds to 9.76 seconds.

It turns out, without explanation for the delay, Gatlin’s time in the 100 meter was 9.766 seconds as recorded by Tissot Timing, not 9.76 seconds. Keep in mind all the time how infinitesimal in human term .006 seconds or 6 thousands of a second is.

The time is recorded electronically from the moment the start signal is given until something anything on a runner’s “being” touches the invisible electronic beam across the finish line. Meaning the sway of his hand even more the length of his finger nail, certainly the length of his fingers could be the deciding factor between record or no record. Whether your index finger is 6 inches or 9 inches long. Or maybe whether you are wearing tight fitting running shorts or baggier ones.

Anything could account for .006 second. Whatever touches the Line first.

Here is the Point

For better or worse. Or how about without any significance. The world of sports, especially track & field, bestows world records, and in the Olympics awards Gold Medals for superior performances that are really often no better than the previous record holder, or the second place finisher in any race, no more better than the non-existent talent or ability inherent in holding a winning lottery ticket.

Now here is the Counterpoint

Records and breaking records are a natural logical element in the very nature of track events and foot races. That being the case any validly documented better performance deserves to win or gain the Record. Fair enough.

Except

Any logical concept can be take to illogical extremes. The IAAF just as it has a rule about “rounding up” times could very legitimately decide that a time in the 100 meter must be 1/10 of a second better to claim a new record. A “reasonable” difference between one performance and another.

And how about this unfairness.

Even if Justin Gatlin’s time had been 9.761 seconds 1/1000th of a second away from 9.76 and a new world record, the time he would have been “awarded” would still have been only 9.77. Want more. There is no reason times cannot be tabulated to the 10,000th place. Why stop at 1000th of a second no less Absurd.

Then there is Weather.

There is no dispute whatsoever that winds, temperature and humidity, and altitude of course all impact times at the 1/1000th of a second level. Is it fair that a runner with as wind at his back that the previous record holder did not have can claim a new record. Or one runner racing in weather 20 degrees warmer or humidity twice as high. Or a track of smaller granules. When the coin of the Realm is measured in Thousandths of a second it all Counts.

Where to draw the Line ??

Here is our Conclusion

Since the IAAF tabulates

100 meter race times to

Thousandth of a Second

Justin Gatlin’s time of

9.766 is Better than

Asafa Powell’s

9.77 Seconds

Therefore

Justin Gatlin

is the new world record holder

in the 100 meter

End of Story.

Whenever you want to reach us with comments or better yet an idea for a topic for the Box ……. blackbox@blackathlete.net

THE “SLOWER” ASAFA POWELL ( BY 4 THOUSANDTHS OF A SECOND )