Sunday, August 28, 2011

World Championship Athletics..... and the walking, dear god, the walking....

We're watching the World Athletics Championships at Bruton Mansions and enjoying it greatly. granted, it feels like something from decades ago, thanks to Channel 4's nostalgic coverage. Nothing says 1980s quite like crappy athletics coverage, poor presenters and bad graphics - and bless them, Channel 4 have managed to get all those things in so far. We miss the BBC, we really do.

But tonight it's the Race Walking. Oh christ. Why? Here it is....

You may know the rules; always have a point of contact with the ground and the knee must be completely straight at some point in the action. Look at the picture above - bloke on the far right is breaking the contact rule. And I know it's a physical thing, I understand that these walkers are really working very hard (something like 3 hour marathon pace I think) and the mental energy involver must be huge.

The fun starts when the marshalls start handing out yellow and red cards and the disqualifications start. Although frankly the advent of super slo-mo cameras makes it completely ridiculous - it's pretty obvious from these that most of the walkers are regularly breaking the contact rules. The problem is that the marshalls are all meant to do the judging by eye, which is just impossible at the speeds these walkers are going.

however, for some reason it's bizarrely fascinating to watch. Mostly because it just seems so ridiculous.

Louise and I were trying to come up with reasons why it isn't really a proper sport. Because surely, the whole idea of athletics of this sort is to go faster. And the walking event is designed to stop people going faster - because then they'd be bloody jogging. And then chaos - they might start running.

We came up with two examples of sports that could be "walk-i-fied":

Sport 1: The Luge. WITH THE BRAKE ON.
Sport 2: 110m Hurdles. WITH WALKING RULES. Or the "walk and straddle" as we christened it.
Those I'd bloody love to see.

Because as silly as it is, as ridiculously watchable as it is, you'll never, ever convince me it's a sport that should be in these World Championships or at the Olympics.

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