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no American Record for Suzy Powell

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  • #16
    Re: no American Record for Suzy Powell

    How do you say mea culpa in Greek? In any event, you're absolutely right. I was using the wrong triangle because I was not taking into consideration the path of the discus. In fact, if the angle of the discus at that point was 45 degrees and the ground was level or continuing to slope down, the difference in her distance would be more than two meters. If the trajectory was closer to the perpendicular at that point in its flight, the difference would be less. But the very fact that knowing exactly how much the distance is affected by the downhill element depends upon ascertaining something that is impossible for an official to ascertain on the spot--the exact angle of the discus's path in its last meter of flight--justifies the small tolerance for downhill slope that the IAAF rules permit.

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    • #17
      Re: no American Record for Suzy Powell

      I haven't seen enough women's throwing in high quartering winds (which UCSD apparently has in spades) to know what the flight path is like, but I do remember from many a Modesto men's competition that when a guy really gets one riding the wind it seems (but obviously doens't) to come down almost straight.

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      • #18
        Re: no American Record for Suzy Powell

        The key thing here is not the number of centimetres (or metres) that might have been gained on this particular throw - it is that the competition site was not legitimate. Period.
        The nature of the (IAAF) rules when it comes to facilities, implements and other equipment is to DEFINE the properties. These definitions are POSITIVE, i.e. they outline how everything SHALL be to be used for a legitimate competition.
        The current IAAF rules concerning slope of the field are far from new, they probably were there in the very first edition of the Handbook (1913). So the people building the facility in La Jolla knew what they had to do. And if that knowledge for some strange reason was not there the people ordering the facility ought to have checked what they got before paying for the job.
        (Please note that athletics meets are held in purpose-built arenas - not on any street or open field found. So it is always the responsibility of the meet organiser to provide a legitimate facility.)
        When it comes to definitions the philosophy used in the IAAF rules is to set absolute minimums (or maximums as the case might be).
        Everybody agrees that there must be some limitation on the allowable slope of a throwing field (otherwise Grand Canyon would be the favourite competition site) and it has been set at not more than 0.10%.
        Of course an illegal slope of 0.11% is not much of an advantage but then you could use that kind of argument iteratively - and then you will finally end up in Grand Canyon!
        This rule could be compared to the minimum weight rule of the throwing implements. Of course a hammer just 10 grams underweight does not affect the distance thrown more than marginally. But if you allow that - then the rule should be re-phrased with the absolute minimum is 7.250 rather than 7.260. But then you can use the 10 grams argument again and again and again ...
        Thus, you must put down your foot somewhere - and this is exactly what the rules have done by defining the absolute minimums of implement weights or downhill slopes.
        Something usually causing those making implements or building athletic facilities to add some built-in "safety margins". Because if you aim to be right-on-the-spot there is a considerable risk that it might turn out ever so slightly illegal.
        So the rules concerning the allowable downhill slope are not based on any calculation of the effects - they are simply definitions that are absolutely necessary for a sport like ours aiming for absolute results comparable over both space and time.

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        • #19
          Re: no American Record for Suzy Powell

          But of
          >course the consideration of the possible
          >"effects" is the very reason the rules are
          >established in the first place. Downhill fields,
          >underweight implements, etc., result in inflated
          >performances -- that's an undesireable
          >"effect". Thus the rules. They're not so
          >arbitrary as your statement "the competition
          >site was not legitimate. Period." seems to
          >suggest. The criteria for legitimacy of the
          >competition site is based, originally and now, on
          >a rational assessment of potential effects. This
          >is why overweight implements, etc., aren't
          >illegal! It's ALL based on a consideration of
          >potential effects!

          Well, not really. The only important thing is standardisation as such - not where the standards are put.
          The slope e.g. could vary between "plus infinity" and "minus infinity" and the choice could have been +1.2% just as well as -0.1%. The definition just draws the demarkation between "acceptable" and "not acceptable".
          There are no effects to consider as long as all facilities are built according to the same specifications. Because the facilities are built before there is any competition.
          Just like the implement weights chosen are not based on how it will affect the results. Because you will only compare marks made with implements of similar weight!
          Lighter implements will create "inflated results" just in the same way as "greater downhill slopes". Or just as using a pole would create inflated HJ results.
          I.e. to make comparisons and make judgements on "inflation" you must have some kind of "zero conditions" to compare with. But those "zero conditions" are exactly what we have put into the rules - nothing more and nothing less.

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          • #20
            Re: no American Record for Suzy Powell

            >Actually, it's NOT a case of
            >"nothing more and nothing less", precisely
            >because effects are the issue. Therefore an
            >underweight implement is illegal, but an
            >overweight one is not (more is OK, less is not).
            >A wind more than 2.00mps is illegal (in some
            >events), less is not. If a racecourse measures
            >out a little long, it's OK (for record setting
            >purposes), if it measures out a little short,
            >it's not. The very different criteria applied
            >to MORE as opposed to LESS has everything to do
            >with what is universally considered a desirable
            >or undesirable effect.
            I am sorry for using an expression that obviously could be minsinterpretred. By "nothing more and nothing less" I was just referring to the fact that it is ONLY what is written in the rules (and not any "political" arguments) that defines the "zero conditions", i.e. the "demarkation" between allowable and unallowable.
            As could be understood from my previous reasoning about the "demarkation" I did try (but obviously not with complete success) to highlight the "safe side philosophy" that governs our sport, i.e. that you must err on ONE SIDE ONLY (sometimes it is "not more", sometimes it is "not less") of that "demarkation" - just like you point out in your examples.
            Most things in the rules could have been specified differently creating a different kind of track & field with other events. The HJ could have been a very different event if we would have allowed a two-footed take-off ... and there could have been a pole vault for distance rather than height ... and there are a lot of other things we could have thrown but the four implements we now have ... and the heights of and distances between the hurdles could have been chosen differently ... etc.
            The choices made in the early days of our sport were not based on careful international deliberations weighing the pros and cons - rather most of it happened by chance, i.e. someone started doing something, somebody else thought it looked fun and tried it and after some snowballing an event (or a sport) was born.
            Then to make it possible to spread it further it was necessary to specify the rules to be followed.
            Actually the important thing is THAT we do agree - NOT the actual details of the agreement.
            Like the eternal question about why running is done counter clockwise. The very simple answer to that question is that there is no "logical" answer to the choice made! But it was absolutely necessary to make a choice, as we couldn't have running competitions if the participants don't agree upon in which direction to run.

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            • #21
              Re: no American Record for Suzy Powell

              Article in today's Modesto Bee about it, Suzy speaks:

              http://www.modbee.com/sports/story/6958 ... 3354c.html

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