No correlation between semi and final results for Top-4 in Boulder WCs

EDITORIAL

Wednesday, 18 May

During the Bouldering World Championship in 2007, Daniel Dulac won the semifinal by flashing all four problems but in the final he did not do a single Boulder even if each of the other five finalists did three problems on average. Daniel said that it was extremely frustrating to hear the spectators praise his opponents for topping 13 out of the first 15 Boulders and then try to equal their performance after his bad start on problem 1. The comparison of average semi ranking with final results from the last 142 Boulder World Cups and World Championships, suggests that there is no correlation for the Top-4. (Separate average results for World Championships in brackets). 1=3.1 (4.0): The 10 World Champs have on average qualified as #4 from semi 2=3.2 (3.9) 3=3.3 (2.5) 4=3.3 (3.2) 5=3.9 (3.6) 6=4.2 (3.8) It is somehow strange that the Top-4 in the final had more or less the same average results in the semifinal. This might be best explained that starting last is a disadvantage in the form of pressure. The more experienced the climber is, the higher probability of winning they have, which confirms the statement above. The first time you start last, you almost never win but if you go on competing, the probability will increase. However, many have won for the first time having started at the beginning. Furthermore, in the world championshps, the correlation between semi and final results is negative, which means that the #1 & #2 in the final usually have the worst result in the semifinal. Other possible explanation of the phenomenon could be the friction, which gets worse after five climbers have tried it for some 20 minutes. Moreover, as spectators normally scream more the first time somebody makes it to the bonus or gets close to the top, the last person out will probably get less cheering when achieving the same as their predecessors. Finally, the last person out will not probably have as efficient resting time as the early starters. (This is kind of hard to explain but if all first 6 competitors struggle with a 4+ minutes problem followed by a problem that goes quicker, the resting is shorter for the last one out. On the other hand, a less time-consuming problem followed by a 4+ problem will mean longer rest for the last one out but a long rest is less important if you do the last problem rather quickly).

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