Unfair position of the man with the gun


pretty interesting article…just saw it…

So they’re still not using the silent gun at the olympics?

Stimulus intensity increases wiht volume but tuned sprinters can usually perceive the speaker sound which arrives first (slightly) and equally. In Goteborg in 1995, they used a speaker system in the blocks only- is this what you’re referring to?

Yes the gun sound through block speakers only. I thought that’s what they used at the WCs. So then we can avoid hearing about how athleteX failed to run 9.6 due to being too far away from the starting pistol.

Ben was in lane six in Seoul. didn’t seem to kill his start relative to the others.

How about the Sydney/Mo Greene argument that his reaction was like .19 and he should have had the Olympic record in that race? All due to being farther away from the gun. You know the papers on that. http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/results/newsletter/200105/reaction_times.html

Don’t know what to make of that but no way the difference should take him up to .19 as the only factor

I don’t think this effect depends on differences in volume as much as it does on the speed of sound travelling through air. Since sound travels through air at 340m/s, the athlete in lane one will hear the gun 0.0035s earlier than the athlete in lane 2 and 0.025s earlier than the one in lane 8. If the starter is standing 25m from lane one (which apparently is the rule at least in the UK), the athlete in lane 8 will be waiting for 0.1s until the sound from the gun reaches their ear if no speakers are used or if they are listening out for the “bang” of the gun rather than the “click” in the speakers.


Could it be that sprinters subconciously wait for the second sound because of the new and stricter starting rule?
The research quoted was based on runs at the 2004 Olympics a year or so after the rule was introduced.