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Video Assistance in Judging Olympic Weightlifting Competition

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Over two consecutive weekends in May I used to be in a position to officiate at each the American and Canadian nationwide weightlifting championships. Now that I’ve returned house and the mud has settled it’s time to go over the impressions gained.


First got here the US Nationals. These had been held in Memphis, Tennessee on the grounds of Graceland, identified to all pop music followers because the Elvis Presley property. There had been simply shy of 400 athletes attending. This necessitated using two simultaneous platforms in order to finish the occasion in three days. Two platforms imply two full digital set-ups, with full-time technicians to supervise their operation. This could be decried by the traditionalists nevertheless it does end result in a really polished presentation. Announcements from the speaker on one platform didn’t intervene a lot with these of its neighbor. A bonus for the viewers was that they obtained to see double the motion. This generally is a drawback at single platform occasions, particularly when there are quite a lot of gaps in the motion, as usually occurs.



After Memphis, being a rustic music fan of lengthy standing, I naturally hit I-40 to make the 200-mile jag over to Nashville, the place I spent a lot of the week. Come Friday it was off to Montreal for the Canadian model. There, the athlete numbers had been solely about 120. This was decrease than in earlier years as a consequence of increased qualifying totals. As in the US, the CrossFit crossover phenomenon had significantly elevated the variety of qualifiers. It was determined to boost the requirements versus the US two-platform answer. The elevated numbers have already led to the cancellation of closing banquets in favor of extra athletes. The elevating of qualification requirements, although, doesn’t please the extra marginal athletes. At the identical time, occasions of this scope are all the time rising in value, so a big entry checklist is required to pay the payments. We all the time appear to have the ability to go together with one-platform, two-day Nationals, however it’s seemingly that shall be harder in the longer term. Time will inform.


Participation was affected in one other approach as a result of proximity of the Junior and Senior Pan American Championships in addition to the Junior Worlds, with the Pan-American Games additionally on the Horizon. Many of the elite lifters of each international locations then had determined to skip their Nationals. On the plus aspect, the medals winners now are extra evenly unfold all through their international locations. No longer does one space dominate like days of previous. Previous areas of weightlifting shortage now have their very own winners to have fun. This is a improvement that shall be good for the sport.


The Use of Video Replay

In each international locations might be seen the greying of the game’s technical officers. While CrossFit has swelled the ranks of the athletes, and to some extent that of teaching, it has had far much less impact on officiating numbers. That is one thing that the newcomers simply don’t appear to be interested in. This is essential since using a couple of platform necessitates using extra officers. Not solely that, however the air schedules on Sundays (when most occasions finish) usually require that many go away early. This can go away the ultimate periods in need of officers. So, it turns into very important that new individuals might be discovered, particularly when skilled individuals at the moment are in their seventies. Their information is nice nevertheless it must be diffuse to youthful replacements as quickly as potential.


This brings me to a different side of officiating that was tried at Memphis however is underneath dialogue all through many sports activities circles. That is the subject of utilizing video replays to help officers in decisionmaking. Video replay is now broadly used in many sports activities, notably soccer, baseball, hockey, and basketball, amongst others. They range in how a lot their officers can make the most of video repays to help in selections. Soccer and weightlifting had been extra conservative, ready till 2018 to permit such. Weightlifting had traditionally eschewed such help, their level being that lifting happened on a a lot smaller discipline of play in comparison with crew sports activities and that infractions needed to be seen by referees. There appeared to be no use for digital adjudication. The turning level got here on the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland the place a nasty referee choice affected the medal placings. With the dangerous feeling generated from that incident, it was lastly realized that video may forestall such happenings so the IWF started discussions on easy methods to implement such. Finally, a coverage was laid down, ensuing in a pilot testing on the Youth Worlds in Las Vegas in 2019. This has now been adopted up by its modified utilization in Memphis.


In the IWF guidelines, 4 cameras are used, one close to every referee and one other behind the platform. These movies can then be used to overview the referee’s or jury’s choice if challenged or in case of disagreement throughout the jury. Memphis had just one digital camera located close to the middle referee.


A problem might be started by the lifter/coach earlier than the timing clock is started for the following lifter. Therefore they have to act shortly. The jury itself may additionally problem the referee’s choice. The unanimity of the jury members is required earlier than they’ll reverse the referee’s choice.


In addition, the lifter or coach can solely problem the choices of its personal lifts. They can not problem these made by their opponents. If that had been potential, it will usually end result in frivolous challenges.


There is just one problem permitted by an athlete throughout competitors. This is in line with different sports activities in order to discourage frivolous challenges. Therefore if one needs to problem, there higher be a official cause. If so, and the jury agrees to reverse the choice, the lifter will nonetheless be allowed one problem on subsequent lifts. This additionally emulates different sports activities. The lifter shouldn’t be penalized for a nasty choice by the officers.


The video replay is linked to the video board to permit in-venue spectators and residential TV viewers to look at the replay. This is a good suggestion and can maintain the jury trustworthy as they’d not wish to be seen as biased or incompetent. Memphis didn’t have a video board connection, sadly.



Some predicted that such challenges would sluggish the competitors, all the time a priority in our sport. This proved to not be the case. The solely lifts that may be challenged are one’s personal lifts, after which solely those who had been accomplished after which red-lighted. Such lifts are few in quantity in any competitors, particularly elite ones the place the lifters both succeed or fail. Even with these lifts a lifter or coach needs to be cautious, as they solely have one problem card. If they apply it to an apparent dangerous elevate, they can not then problem a later legitimately marginal one. In that state of affairs, the perfect course is to solely problem the harder to guage clear and jerk, ideally on the second or third makes an attempt. The lifter has little to lose difficult the third try since she or he shall be completed afterward.


It was additionally instructed that lifters could use a problem strategically in order to purchase time. This is certainly potential however they’ll expend their problem card in doing so. This wouldn’t occur on the third clear and jerk until the problem is official, as no extra time is required.


The rule doesn’t enable slow-motion replays—it is because the referees are nonetheless required to make their selections in actual time. They can not see in sluggish movement so can’t be anticipated to see one thing that approach after which be penalized for such a failure. The jury could look at the slow-motion replay, if accessible, to fulfill their very own curiosity in regards to the elevate however they can not reverse a choice on that foundation. That is allowed on most of the crew sports activities. The giant enjoying fields, pace of play, and the variety of gamers make it unimaginable to catch all violations and off-sides, so these sports activities have determined that reliance on video shall be tolerated.


The Future of Video Replay for Weightlifting

While this video know-how was appreciated by many it’s unlikely it will likely be accessible to occasions under the elite ranges as a consequence of monetary and technological experience causes. The USAW needs to be recommended for his or her try at instituting it and thus permitting its officers to turn into aware of it earlier than they ever work at a global competitors the place it will likely be used.


This was not but accessible in Montreal however there are sufficient techno-geeks in the Great White North that we’ll hopefully see it earlier than too lengthy. Speaking of these, I used to be additionally impressed with the competitors administration programs developed by Jean-Francois Lamy of Montreal and Les Simonton of Baltimore. Both are regularly enhancements whereas seeking out “bugs.” Their efforts are a lot appreciated.


Now that the seniors are completed, the common season is over for many lifters in North America. The elite will get no relaxation as there are a number of big events to come. Some of the remainder could enter a summer time occasion or two to maintain sharp. None can afford to take it too simple as the extent of competitors is now a lot increased than even a number of years in the past. It can also be deeper. Some of the women’s periods had all lifters beginning inside a kilo or two of each other—very tight and tough to plan beginning occasions for every lifter. This tight scheduling was unheard of some years in the past. The USA particularly is now knocking on the door on the numerous world championships however Canada isn’t too far behind. No longer are their medals excused as “flukes.” They at the moment are being referred to as “favorites to win.” A brand new technology of coaches, officers, and directors have made this occur.


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