When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish line?


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When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish line?

Postby johnclark » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:09 am

I read elsewhere on these boards that at the 1932 Olympics you had to cross the line in order to win - your whole body (not counting arms and legs) had to be past the line to be judged to have finished the race. Now you just have to reach the line. But I don't know when the rule changed - does anyone out there know?
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Re: When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish li

Postby dj » Fri Aug 17, 2012 4:52 am

After '32 but before '36.

I don't have IAAF or AAU rule books for the period, but the IC4A was in virtual lockstep with the AAU, and I'm presuming their rule change at the same time or within one year of the IAAF rule change.

As late as 1932,the IC4A rule read ". . . competitors shall be placed in the order in which any part of their bodies (i.e., torso, as distinguished from the head, arms, legs, feet or hands) crosses such line."

In 1934, the language of the rule had changed to "reaches such finish line."

I don't have the 1933 rule book, so I can't pinpoint the change any more than this.
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Re: When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish li

Postby Pierre-Jean » Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:56 am

Interesting picture

http://www.omegawatches.com/uploads/tx_ ... 2_e_01.jpg

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9 ... R_MB7AVBh9

Metcalfe is in the inside lane and Tolan in the outside lane. Both timed in 10.38 but Metcalfe offocially wins per the former rule...
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Re: When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish li

Postby KDFINE » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:06 am

Interesting question. I think that I once read that if the "new" rule had been in effect Metcalfe and not Tolan would have won the 100 in 1932. Anyone else out there know about this?
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Re: When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish li

Postby KDFINE » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:09 am

I apologize. I read Pierre-Jean's comments as far as "links" were concerned but hadn't scrolled down to the last line "Metcalfe is in..."
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Re: When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish li

Postby lonewolf » Fri Aug 17, 2012 7:28 am

I was only one year old when this rule changed and not keeping up with T&F rule changes. In the intervening eighty-one years, in about seventy of which I was involved in T&F, I had never heard of the rule that the entire body had to cross the line. The rules as quoted above differ only in the word "reach" and "crosses."
I wonder if we are dealing in semantics? There is not enought information there to indicate to me that the entire body must cross a 2" wide line.
If "any part of the torso "crosses the finish line", would that not mean, at a maximum, that only the depth of torso equal to the width of the finish line must cross the line?.
Is the finish line not the near edge of the marking? By this reading, if a single mm of the torso "crosses" the finish line, the race is over.
As difficult as it is sometimes to determine which torso reaches the finish line first, I cannot think how you could visually judge which torso completely crossed first. :?

What am I missing here?.
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Re: When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish li

Postby dj » Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:43 am

lonewolf wrote:I was only one year old when this rule changed and not keeping up with T&F rule changes. In the intervening eighty-one years, in about seventy of which I was involved in T&F, I had never heard of the rule that the entire body had to cross the line. The rules as quoted above differ only in the word "reach" and "crosses."
I wonder if we are dealing in semantics? There is not enought information there to indicate to me that the entire body must cross a 2" wide line.
If "any part of the torso "crosses the finish line", would that not mean, at a maximum, that only the depth of torso equal to the width of the finish line must cross the line?.
Is the finish line not the near edge of the marking? By this reading, if a single mm of the torso "crosses" the finish line, the race is over.
As difficult as it is sometimes to determine which torso reaches the finish line first, I cannot think how you could visually judge which torso completely crossed first. :?

What am I missing here?.


You've identified the problem precisely! The wording was poor in the old rule. Some parts of the country (world, as well, in all likelihood) were defining "any part of the torso" "crossing" as in the modern "reaching" and other parts (as in the LA Olympics) defining it as all of the torso "crossing."

In 1935, Phil Diamond was the head timer for the Big-10 Championships. Diamond had been one of the Olympic timers in '32 and it was his instruction to timers in his working groups that the time not the reaching of the line but when the middle of the body as crossing the line, another means of defining the end of the race.
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Re: When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish li

Postby dj » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:17 pm

Pierre-Jean wrote:Interesting picture

http://www.omegawatches.com/uploads/tx_ ... 2_e_01.jpg

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9 ... R_MB7AVBh9

Metcalfe is in the inside lane and Tolan in the outside lane. Both timed in 10.38 but Metcalfe offocially wins per the former rule...


I disagree with your assessment of your view of the Kirby Camera film. (I'd also eliminate the use of the second set of photos you refer to, as one is about one yard before the finish and the other is about one yard after the finish. What these do show is that Metcalfe was running faster at the end.)

I think it's clear that the upper Kirby image is still slightly before Tolan and Metcalfe have reached the line. The line is visible, as is the opposite side finish post.

The lower Kirby image shows both while crossing the line. This is closer to the image that was used to determine Tolan as the winner. I suspect that what was being judged was the small of the back, as that part of Tolan is clearly ahead of the corresponding part of Metcalfe.

I've never seen the consecutive prints of the finish. The two shown are not consecutive as they are about three-hundredths of a second apart and the Kirby camera filmed 128 frames per second.
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Re: When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish li

Postby Pierre-Jean » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:27 pm

Sorry, i meant Tolan wins not Metcalfe, i got confused :mrgreen:
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Re: When did rules change for reaching vs crossing finish li

Postby lonewolf » Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:28 pm

dj wrote:[In 1935, Phil Diamond was the head timer for the Big-10 Championships. Diamond had been one of the Olympic timers in '32 and it was his instruction to timers in his working groups that the time not the reaching of the line but when the middle of the body as crossing the line, another means of defining the end of the race.


Geezzzz!!! :shock: ..and I thought picking the back of the torse would be tough..
I submit that Mr. Diamond has prescribed an exercise in futility, approximating something with great precision..humans cannot accurately time the difference between the front, middle and back of the torso.. the lapsed time is less than the reflex time of the timers, no matter how good they are... and the best are individually erratic.
....put ten timers on one runner and it will sound like a bush full of crickets. :)
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