The IAAF, world athletics’ governing body, has today announced that it will be changing the rules in some sprint events to make it easier for Usain Bolt to win.
The news follows the Jamaican athlete’s recent disqualification from the world 100m championships final, where Bolt was judged to have false-started. The proposed rule changes involve the abolition of the false start rule for any athlete ranked in the world top 10, giving byes to the final for anyone whose first name begins with the letter ‘U,’ as well as the option of a head start for anyone who has broken 9.6 seconds before.
Lord Sebastian Coe, vice president of the IAAF, said in today’s press conference: “It is morally wrong that someone with such an enormous, er, reputation, should have to suffer the indignity of disqualification for an offence as minor as starting five seconds before everyone else.” The former Olympic champion also told the world’s press that “It would be a real tragedy if Bolt were not to win the 100m, 200m, 400m, relay and long jump at my, sorry, London’s Olympics next year.” Coe also added, bizarrely “When can I be Prime Minister? This microphone is off, right?”
The new rules are not without critics, however. Several leading newspapers such as the Views of the World and the Daily Male have questioned the fairness of the rule changes. Meanwhile, a group of athletes is planning legal action against the IAAF. The group will be led by Bolt’s compatriot Asafa Powell, who told reporters “I really want to win this case. Oh, and a major championships too.”
Bolt himself was unavailable for comment on the matter, and was last seen eating chicken nuggets in a South Korean branch of McDonalds.
High levels of intense training, coupled with good diet and plenty of rest may have performance enhancing effects, a new study has shown.
The study, conducted by researchers at the Academy of Research in Sports and Exercise (ARSE) has shown there to be an overwhelmingly strong correlation between the volume of training undertaken and the performance level of a sample of both elite and non-elite athletes. In this groundbreaking piece of research, athletes were given a 6 month training schedule devised by the world renowned coach, Dr Gillian McKeith, before undertaking a 5km time trial. The results were staggering. Around 98% of participants showed an improvement over the half year period, whilst the other 2% made some excuses about the conditions not being right on the day.
This news comes after the recent Prefontaine Classic, where Mo Farah beat a world class field to win the 10,000m in a new European record and Moses Mosop broke the world record for 30km. Asked afterwards what the main factors in his success were, the Kenyan Mosop replied “I just run 200 miles a week no slower than 5 minute mile pace and when I do this for a while I feel quicker,” whilst Farah said “Usually I train 4 times a day, except during Ramadan when I cut it down to 2 sessions a day. Oh, and when Wimbledon’s on the telly.”
When questioned about the project, McKeith said “I am extremely proud of the whole team at ARSE. This is a huge discovery and will forever change the way sports scientists view elite level athletics.” Her claims have been supported by a number of high profile former athletes. The former world record holder at 10,000 metres Haile Tergat, now president of Eritrea, said “In our day it was all blood doping this and EPO that. No one ever said anything about training hard. Yeah, we used to run a bit but it was mainly about who could inject the most oxygen-rich blood into their bloodstream before a race without getting caught.”
However, as with any new discovery, some sports scientists remain cynical about the new research. It was previously thought that talent was the key factor in determining the potential of an athlete and that training had a negligible effect of performance. Most leading academics used to believe that it was God who would determine who would win a race, but this theory was called into question earlier this year after Richard Dawkins’ scientifically rigourous proof that God doesn’t exist.
Meanwhile, amateur runners all over the world are taking to the roads and tracks in order to try out this new ‘training’ phenomenon. Roger Hammond, caretaker at the athletics track at the University of Hemel Hempstead, said “the place is packed now. The university has doubled my hours because of the demand. We used to just get the odd skinny middle-distance type down here knocking out a set of 400s, but now it’s the world and his dog. Literally.” Hospitals are now at capacity due to the number of runners who have been struck by cars, thought to be linked to the increase in the number of people training on the road.
It remains to be seen what the long term impact of these new findings will be, but it is widely believed that the athletics record books will have to be rewritten to reflect the huge leaps in performance that are now inevitable.