Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wind: innocent until proven guilty no longer applies

Not surprisingly, I’m getting a bit of email flak on my calling some sprint marks from last weekend wind-aided, even though there was no gauge at some of the meets. That’s understandable. No one wants to take anything away from a great performance.

The response that that I find most maddening is usually worded like this: “There was no gauge there, so you can’t say it was wind-aided.”

Garbage. Innocent until proven guilty applies in court, but not in the world of track records. A more applicable rule is, “When in doubt, throw it out.”

The wind rule has been in place since your great grandfathers were pole-vaulting with dinosaur leg bones into mounds of sand. National federation rules are the same as USATF, IAAF, and every other ruling body’s. No sprint record counts without a legal wind reading. Period. I know the MHSAA has done it in the past, but “we’ve always done it that way” is a lousy reason to keep breaking the rules.

The other response that I hear is, “There wasn’t any wind, I’ll swear.” The maximum wind allowable for records is 4.47mph. That’s really slow. Think about it. If the wind is blowing at an “illegal” 5mph, the vast majority of track fans at a meet aren’t likely to notice a thing. They assume that “wind-aided” must mean gale force winds, with flying houses landing on witches.

So I repeat my plea from a few days ago. Wind gauges are cheap now. Here’s one that costs $38. If we can’t get meet officials to take on this task, can we get volunteers to be at various key meets next year?

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