French hurdler Wilhem Belocian disqualified over harsh false start rule
Wilhem Belocian never had a real chance to compete for a medal in the 110m hurdles at the Rio Olympics Monday night, as the French hurdler violated a harsh rule that resulted in his disqualification.
In the first round of the 110m hurdles, Belocian left the starting blocks a tad too early. Six years ago, the entire field would have simply been given a warning. However, as Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports notes, a new rule that was put into place to speed things up (ironic, huh?) and prevent gamesmanship now states that a first false start leads to the hurdler being disqualified.
Wilhem Belocian false starts in his first Olympics.
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 16, 2016
Under the old rule, each runner would be allowed one false start without penalty. This was apparently a problem because sprinters and hurdlers would try to anticipate when the starting gun would sound to get a good jump, knowing their first false start would only lead to a warning and a do-over. That is no longer the case.
Belocian’s best time of the season in this particular event was the third-best among the nine hurdlers in his heat. The top four advanced to the semifinal Tuesday night. Belocian realized immediately that he had made a mistake and appeared as though he had been crying after the race.