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2012-366 Day 180 – Dead Heat

No, that’s not the title of my latest suspense novel (or Richard Castle’s for that matter, although I imagine it soon will be), but the technical term for a tie in the world of track and field. Why bring that up? Well, if you’ve been following the U.S. Olympic trials recently (c’mon, surely you have?), you may have noticed that the third member of the Women’s 100 meter sprint team has yet to be decided, because the third place finisher could not be determined. Jess and I were actually watching live (well, time-shifted live) when it happened to cheer on Allyson Felix (did I mention we went to school with her? Oh yeah, I did, here).

At the time, it was actually determined that Allyson had finished in fourth place by .001 seconds (which always reminds me of Jerry Seinfeld’s bit on the Olympics (particularly starting at 1:05 in the clip, although the whole thing is spot on):

It actually wasn’t until two days later (because it actually hadn’t been decided until a day later) that I found out the third place spot was in a dead heat and they had to figure out something to do about it. And they had to figure out something to do about it because they didn’t have any rules in place to handle the situation (a male sprinter in another article I read said that he had been told ties were impossible). Then I came across this article and video on the Sports Illustrated website (actually it was in my RSS feed, but same difference) and it was incredibly enlightening. So enlightening, in fact, that I’m going to stop here today so you can go read it.

Weight: 229 Loss: 11 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 187.5 miles (+4 miles)
Volleyball Match Record: 3-0 (7-2 Game Record, +17 Point Differential)
Fitocracy Level: 22 ID: disciplev1

Posted in Matt 2012-366, Matt General. Tagged with , , , .

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  1. Andy said

    A coworker and I were discussing this. The camera shoots 3000 frames per second. At the average speed of the runners, that amounts to 3 millimeters of movement per video frame. So it looks like there’s very little room for improvement in the technology, except maybe finding better and more camera angles to make a determination.

    We hear about races won by hundreths of a second all the time. It’s ironic that thousanths of a second can’t even be distinguished with our best technology.

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