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Usain Bolt’s disqualification in South Korea is television’s fault

One-chance rule for false starts is there to meet the needs of TV schedulers, not athletics administrators

Ready, steady … and disqualified for a twitch ahead of time. False starts in athletics – one strike and you’re out, since the beginning of 2010 – are suddenly the talking point as Usain Bolt (and rather too many of Britain’s own finest) depart for a step too fast off the mark.

Will the International Association of Athletics Federations relent before London 2012? Can we have the status quo ante back? It’s been the dominant discussion point about South Korea’s world championships on TV as well as in print. But have we been told clearly enough where ultimate power lies? Not with athletics administrators, but with the giant television interests who wanted transmissions to start and finish on schedule and insisted on tightening up the track and field act.

If NBC, the BBC and the EBU’s heavy hitters got together to push to restore two chances rather than one, it could happen in a trice. One strike from the big money boys or you’re out of cash.

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