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Qualification system for the 2020 Olympic Games

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Sovietvest View Post
    1. The goal of the IAAF in launching its ranking system is to make competitions through the year more relevant and meaningful (they use the example of a commentator announcing athletes at the start of the race and telling the audience what impact a win, for example, would have on their ranking - as so often you hear in tennis and golf competitions).
    ...
    Well, that's not going to happen!

    Given that the score for any one performance is mostly made up of the score for the time/distance/height and also that the ranking score is an average of the requisite number of performances, I just don't see these things tripping easily/accurately off the tongues of commentators.

    Picture it now ... "With a win here in a time faster than 1:45.9, athlete X will move into the top 50 of the world rankings."
    To lessen the chances of later looking like a clown, such commentator might also want to add, "... subject to the athletes currently just below him not performing even better before the rankings are updated next Wednesday".

    I just think there's too many moving parts in this world rankings system (including the points for older performances being gradually degraded!) for the commentators to be comfortable and clued up enough to be consistently making those sorts of statements.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Laps

      I don't think that needs to happen for the rankings to gain traction. TV commentators are simple beasts. Mainly innumerate it would seem, but they can repeat facts such as the athletes rankings which will be a more helpful guide to the public than PBs (often years old and a distant memory) or SBs (i.e. when athletes haven't reached reached peak form yet). There's all the usual straightforward ranking uses, such as tracking an athlete's progression.
      Oh yes, I've no doubt they'll trot out athletes' rankings but Coe is living in cloud-cuckoo land if he thinks commentators are going to be on top of what a particular performance specifically means for an athlete's ranking. Mind you, come to think of it, there's a job there for Colin & Denise to be crunching all the numbers and scenarios whilst they'd usually be twiddling their thumbs waiting for the sprints or Hep.

      I hope that on-screen graphics showing PBs and SBs aren't replaced with "Highest ever ranking" & "Current ranking". As a hardcore fan, the athlete's ranking is less meaningful to me than their PB and SB.

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      • #18
        I'm a big supporter of the rankings system.

        But I think we need to reset expectations. If we use the parallel of the tennis world rankings, or even the football ones, I don't think I've ever read or heard a commentator discussing the intricacies of the rankings systems, but they do comprehend the broad position. So when the Wimbledon final is on, it's trivial for some statto to do the work to say "If XWY wins today, not only do they take the champiobnship but they'll also take the world #1 spot in the rankings which get published on Monday." Or when someone ranked 275th in the world reaches the QFs they comment "...and despite the loss today, they'll be looking at a big improvement in their world ranking".

        I think "the great unwashed" will be more interested in "So tonight in the Monaco Diamond League, we have 6 out of the top 10 ranked 200m runners in the world right now, as well as ABC ranked 11th having recently clocked the season's best in Budapest and climbing the rankings rapidly" as a broad commentary which tells them enough about the quality they are watching. Whether at the end of the race the top 10 gets shuffled isn't massively important, though if there is a draft expectation of a change in the #1 position then I don't think it's beyond the wit of the IAAF to help viewers understand it with some quick maths when the times and placings are confirmed at the end of the race. As complex as the rankings system is, in the end it is just performance value + event value dropped into an average over 5, 3 or 2 events. A computer would have the answer out in milliseconds.

        Looking at the Olympic quali rules, rankings are only really important to lower ranked athletes. Perhaps not dissimilar to tennis, where if you are ranked 105th in the world you would need to qualify for a grand slam, whereas 104th and you get an automatic spot in the main draw. Higher rankings may have more impact for participation in higher profile (and higher point scoring) events, especially where the max field size may be just 8 places, and that for me is the only real weakness in the system. But equally I think that is unavoidable and not that different from the current position where only the best get DL invites anyway.

        Athletes themselves should give themselves an understanding of the points scores for their events - it's not that hard to comprehend that 0.2s = 10 points or whatever.

        On the point about diminshing the importance of the Trials, I'm with Laps - national trials are relatively unexciting in most events and certainly don't capture mass TV audiences in the way that DL fixtures could be hoped to. If, as I hope, UKA's selection policy allows for trials based selection subject to meeting either of the IAAF qualification routes (rankings or time), I can't see much changing at the Trials either.

        The big unknown is how the NGBs will respond in drafting their selection policies. Once they are published we can have the usual debate about where they've got it wrong!

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        • #19
          My main concerns about it are at the bottom rather than the top, and particularly with new improving athletes who haven't already got an international profile, especially those who don't live in a country which hosts DL events.

          It also makes it tougher for athletes to double up.

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          • Ladyloz
            Ladyloz commented
            Editing a comment
            I agree that it won't really impact on the top athletes but more those who are on the cusp of qualifying for major champs.

            It also tends to be the better athletes who are more likely to double so I don't see an issue there as they will be able to hit the auto standards without worrying about the rankings.

          • larkim
            larkim commented
            Editing a comment
            I agree that it's far more about the bottom cut off for the rankings than it is for the top ones. But equally, when you've got fields which are max 15-20 sized in Diamond League races, it once again won't be those at the cut off points being particularly affected - though I accept that if you have a "home" DL sometimes you'll end up in a race that otherwise you might have missed.

            But with most fields at the Olympics requiring 40+ athletes (and recalling the max 3 per nation), there's still plenty of scope for earning good points simply based on timed / measured performances, irrespective of the quality of the overall event.

            e.g. take women's 5000m. Currently Amy Eloise Neale is ranked 63rd, and would (by virtue of the 3 per nation and field size of 42) be included in the cut for the rankings for the Olympics. She has a rankings score of 1106, of which only 16 points are attributable to position / quality of the event - the rest is down to absolute performance score. Admittedly, if she lost those points she'd be down to about 78th, alongside Jess Judd, but she picked those points up at the UK indoor champs and an NCAA D1 race, so they weren't particularly high profile events. But (currently) they are enough to get her over the hurdle, and most athletes of her calibre would have a similar opportunity to get into similarly point-scoring races.

            Reviewing where things are at the end of this summer season will be interesting, as that's when some of the manoeuverings around trying to get places in high profile events will have taken place. But my sense is that broadly as the performance scores drop off from top to bottom, so do the event scores, and that it will even out over the year. Maybe we'll be able to point to a few anomalies come the end of the season, where athlete A sneaks into the qualifying range with 3x mediocre performances, of which all in high profile events, knocking out athlete B with 3x mildy OK performances in low profile events. But I'm not sure it will be something really to get worked up about, unless you are personally involved in their coaching etc.
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