2nd August 2021
At a spare moment yesterday, I happened to turn on the television and I was quickly engrossed by the high jump final.
It was transfixing.
Anybody who watched the events unfold – as opposed to forming an opinion on the news afterwards – will understand how, in that dramatic moment, the resolution of the final made perfect sense.
The resolution, of course, was the shared gold medal.
Watch this video from beginning to end:
The result was absolutely appropriate for that exceptional sporting moment.
Was it the right thing done against the rules?
No: it was done in accordance with the express rules of the sport.
Indeed, it would seem that the rules of the very event envisaged what could happen in the circumstances, see rule 26.8 generally and rule 26.8.4 in particular of the technical rules of world athletics.
If both jumpers were equal in that neither could clear 2.39 metres (and they could not be differentiated by rules 28.1, 28.2 or 28.3) then there could be a ‘jump-off’ or ‘if the relevant athletes at any stage decide not to jump further, the tie for first place shall remain’.
And this makes sense: if the jumpers have jumped the same height but cannot jump any higher then it is reasonable for the jumpers to jointly win.
So this was not an exercise in sportsmanship in breach of the rules – and still less a cynical exercise in gamesmanship.
This was an outcome that was envisaged by the rule-setters for that particular sport, and so it was a result in full compliance with the rules.
Some have complained on social media that sharing the gold medal ‘literally defeats the object of having a sporting event’.
But this is incorrect: the technical rules of that sport ‘literally’ provide that the gold medal can be shared in these circumstances – and so the critics should have respect for the rules of the sport.
And finally: this is a blog that often criticises those who make rules (in many contexts) for not properly anticipating what can go wrong – and so it is nice and heartening to see a practical example of rule-making done well.
Thank you for reading.
Please support this liberal and constitutionalist blog – and please do not assume it can keep going without your support.
If you value this daily, free-to-read and independent legal and policy commentary for you and others please do support through the Paypal box above, or become a Patreon subscriber.
You can subscribe for each post to be sent by email at the subscription box above (on an internet browser) or on a pulldown list (on mobile).
This blog enjoys a high standard of comments, many of which are better and more interesting than the posts.
Comments are welcome, but they are pre-moderated.
Comments will not be published if irksome.