Three Heat Semi-Finals

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Three Heat Semi-Finals

Postby Guest » Wed Aug 27, 2003 1:17 pm

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.

Re: Three Heat Semi-Finals

Postby Guest » Wed Aug 27, 2003 1:26 pm

I couldn't agree more, the 3 heat semis are pretty dumb and seem perfectly avoidable. Hard to fathom the reason for them.

Re: Three Heat Semi-Finals

Postby gh » Thu Aug 28, 2003 12:27 am

When they started this a few W Champs back, i hated it too, but we were discussing it in the stands last night, and came to the conclusion (just a few of us, not all 62,000 of us) that it actually makes for far better racing in terms of providing crowd excitement.

Far less letting up at the line going on.
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Re: Three Heat Semi-Finals

Postby dl » Thu Aug 28, 2003 1:36 am

I haven't heard any good comments about the three-semis format. Everyone I've talked to feels that there should be just two semis, since it's easier to follow and more dramatic to cut the field from 16 to 8.

I don't think the negative thoughts are simply a result of I'm-not-used-to-this-sort-of-thing thinking either. This format was used often in Edmonton as well, and I've heard (and uttered) the same disapproval here as there.

My mistake for not reading the start lists more closely, but on several occasions I started trying to figure out who would make the finals after 2 semis were completed, only to realize there was yet another semi to go. 3 semis tends to dilute the drama, IMHO.
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Re: Three Heat Semi-Finals

Postby Guest » Thu Aug 28, 2003 6:13 am

It may be my personal bias but I find a two-heat semi in the 800 to be the most exciting non-final in a major championship. And it gives a much better opportunity to size the final.

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