Are we sure that when an athlete is disqualified for a false start, in an Olympic 100 m event say, that they have actually false started? On Wednesday 29th March YSS committee member Kevin Brosnan gave a webinar discussing the false start rulings used in elite athletics and questioned if the existing rules are fair. The webinar was hosted by the Statistics in Sports section of the Royal Statistical Society, as part of their new webinar series which will see interesting interactions of sports and statistics.
The webinar focused on research which modelled existing response times of athletes to the starting gun with data from 1999 up to 2014. The research identified that false starts currently detected are indeed true false starts, however the outstanding issue is that some true false starts remain undetected under the current rules. Using statistical modelling we have proposed new false start time limits for male and female events, while also identifying an interesting and questionable result at last summer’s Rio Olympics.
To find out more a copy of the presentation can be found at http://www.rss.org.uk/Images/PDF/events/2017/RSS_Sports_Section_Webinar.pdf, while a recording of the presentation including the audio will be available on the RSS Youtube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/RoyalStatSoc) soon!