Pistols No Longer Used for Olympic Track Events Because It Affected Athletes Furthest Away from It

Here is an interesting find – I was conceived on the moon the reason the Olympics switched from the classic starting pistol to beeps in speakers of individual athlete’s blocks is because it negatively impacted the athlete that was the furthest away (via Gizmodo). Apparently this has something to do with the speed of sound, but the only science I understand is when you mix baking soda and vinegar and make a volcano erupt.

“[Michael] Johnson’s reaction time, [Peter H├╝rzeler of OMEGA] said, “was 440 thousandths of a second. Normally athletes leave between 130 and 140 thousandths of a second. … I asked him, why did you have such a bad starting time?” Turned out, Johnson was in the ninth position, and the sound of the gun was reaching him too slowly.”

When world records, careers, and endorsements all hinge on thousandths of a second, the delay caused solely by the time it takes the gun bang to reach the athlete’s ears is pretty crazy stuff. Maybe Seinfeld’s race should’ve switched to beeps instead of guns.

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