In an earlier thread I noted my feeling that the world's big-time vaulters--in reaction to the IAAF's blowing off of their plea to go back to the larger pegs used on crossbars before this year--need to engage in some "civil disobedience" down the line. I've just run a few numbers and feel even more strongly than ever about it.
Looking at the now-completed indoor season, for the first time since 1985 (18 years!) there was no
vaulter over 5.90 (19-4.25). Indeed, there wasn't even one over 5.85 (19-2.25)!
Let's make 5.80 a benchmark, since it's essentially also 19-feet. This year 5 vaulters had 8 meets at 5.80 or better (world leader at 5.82).
Last year, when there was no Olympics or WC to peak for, so you could expect a dip, 10 guys did it 14 times.
In '01 it was 10 guys, 23 times, and in '00 it was 9 guys 17 times. Bit of a difference, eh?
How to take one of the sport's biggest-selling events and turn it into crap in one easy lesson.
and as I said a week or so ago, if the purpose was to discourage " Volzing", their efforts are misdirected. Just have tougher officiating. I think, have always thought, that Volzing is against the spirit of the event and should be against the rules, as it now is. So just ENFORCE IT... If your hand touches the bar and the judge says that in his/her judgement the touch affected/helped the bar staying on, the it's a miss, that's it.
My feeling against Volzing isn't as emphatic as that expressed by 1.97hjsteve, but on the whole, it's an acceptable rule and reasonably enforceable.
But gh's point about the shortening of the pegs is the real issue here and I couldn't agree more. The stupidest rule change I can recall in nearly 50 years of being a fan. In addition to significantly diminishing one of the sport's most exciting events, it also changes the event in a way that makes it impossible to accurately compare long-peg vaults with short-peg vaults. I would ask "what were they thinking?", but that would unfairly assume that they WERE thinking.
I suggest major civil disobedience by vaulters to get this ridiculous rule rescinded before it becomes too much a matter of history to change. That means ACT NOW, vaulters, or be relegated to greater obscurity by fans who don't want to watch endless misses and poor results. The (men's) event has been in a funk anyway since Bubka's late-career achilles injury and retirement. We need a new star to come along to revive the event, not rules to make the crossbar fall off. In the meantime, though, we have the women to enjoy. They're keeping the event alive while the men struggle. But they too will suffer from the short peg, so they should also join the the civil disobedience. Vaulters of the world unite!
If they insist on staying with this stupid rule they need to start a seperate all-time list because of how much it changes the event. (Haven't heard one person from elite athletes to coaches say they like it) I think the two-attempt rule was even stupider and they got rid of that. As for volzing, its actually a lot harder then it looks and more often then not it doesn't work for the vaulter.
Through the years I've heard countless people say that any sport that requires judging has no place in the Olympics. This falls into that category; the pole vault judge has to assign "intent" (no matter what the rule says). This is an unfair burden. They shoulda left well enough alone and not worried about phantom hand jobs.
The peg rule is not going to discourage Volzing. Hell, if anything, people will try anything, including Volzing, in order to keep the bar on, with those tiny new pegs.
Come on, the pole vault has always been one of the more popular events with spectators, particularly those new to the sport. They want to see men continuing to vault higher and higher. While they may not understand the implications of a season with rarely a 19' vault, they know enough to realize that seeing a bunch of guys vaulting close to 20' is more exciting than seeing 18'8" win every single meet during the year.
I agree with Garry completely. When you change something like the shorter pegs, you change the event. It's almost like making the men's shot 16.9 pounds instead of 16 pounds. Don't change the event. It's not fair to the history of the story.