"Controlled position" sub 4 min might be subjective


Friday, 30 April

Oriane Bertone got the silver in the Meiringen World Cup with two tops. In the picture, we can see how close she was to have been timed out, as it was taken when it was around 0.95 seconds left. Even so, she managed to, in less than a second, reach a "controlled position: with both hands matched on the Top Hold", according to the judge, before the 4 min were over.

I agree that this was a correct subjective decision, although she was just hanging with no foot on the wall when the 4 min was over. However, if she had topped it out just some split seconds later, it could have been questionable whether she had established a "controlled position" before the time was over.

One problem is that there is no clear definition of what a controlled position of a top means. If, for example, the top would have been less juggy or had involved a bigger swing, I do not think you could have said Oriane had reached a "controlled position" until she had put one foot on the wall or a hold. In such case, the judge and the jury president would have come into a subjective dilemma which most probably had ended in a protest either way. Imagine, this would have been the Olympics and the podium would have been decided by a subjective decision by referees with absolutely no knowledge of how it is to do such a dyno and reach a "controlled position". Furthermore, the judge has never felt or seen the top of the hold.

The solution for this potential anti-climax subjective situation in Tokyo is to change the rule to say that you just need to touch the last hold, with both hands, within the four minutes and then you have like five seconds to get a controlled position to be awarded the top. This would mean that the top decision could be made more objectively and fairer to everyone.

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