Will someone explain to me why the IAAF has to have three heat semi-finals in events such as the Women's 400, 800, and 100 Hurdles? In each of these events, there were five heats and they could have easily gone to a two heat semi by advancing top three per heat and one additional time qualifier. Instead, they chose to advance top 3 per heat plus nine qualifiers. Not only does it make the first round almost worthless from a competitive standpoint (reducing 35+ to 24) but it also detracts from head to head competition of the best athletes in the semi final. And a third placer in the semi (e.g. Devers) can get knocked out of the final).
In some cases, the three-heat semi can be justified as a means to avoid an extra round. But otherwise, it should be avoided. The two-heat semi is more fair to the athletes, and more interesting to spectators, and more likely to get the best athletes to the final.
And if eliminating rounds is the goal, why to we need three rounds to reduce 32 women entries in the 1500 to 12 for a final? I have very little sympathy for an athlete who does not advance because he or she does not finish top three in a trial heat.