False starts. Red cards. Race fixing, with a difference.

While watching the BBC coverage of the European Indoor Athletics Championships from Belgrade in Serbia, a few of the track events were littered with false starts.

Here’s the thing: In spite of the fact that everyone hates them, the governing organisation, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), appear to have no appetite for fixing things.

Yes, there’s a fix.

So, what’s the problem?

At the moment, should an athlete step out of the blocks ahead of their competitors, a false start is triggered. If it’s deemed to be an actual false start (there’s a review process), the athlete is shown a red card and that’s them out of the race. This process could continue, with several athletes getting removed from the race.


This process is disruptive: distracting the other athletes; unsettling the crowd; and — because the event drags on — messes with the schedule.

So here’s an idea: Let them run the damn race, and if there’s an infringement, let them sort it out after the race with the appropriate and judicious use of technological assistance that is already at their disposal.

One race. An adjudication with an appeals process. Everyone moves on.

So what did we gain?

Like business, athletics has stakeholders. But sometimes, the process gets underneath the feet of those stakeholders. If the goal is to entertain, don’t drag the audience into the process, and for goodness sake don’t reveal the officiousness of that process — it’s flat out boring!

It’s about optimising the workflow, to keep things moving.

If you’re running a business but it feels like you’re racing against Olympic legend Usain Bolt, get in touch and let’s see if there’s something Octane could do to reduce costs, explore new ideas, and expand your business.

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