Carl Lewis, long jumpers slam proposed change to Olympic event: ‘Wait until April 1st for April Fools jokes’

Olympic legend Carl Lewis is totally in opposition to a brand new thought from World Athletics. (Picture by Fernando de Dios/Getty Pictures)

No observe and area meet is full with out the joy the lengthy leap can present. However a proposed format change might take away one of many occasion’s most foundational facets, and Olympic legend Carl Lewis is not having it.

The controversial thought, which was launched by World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon throughout an episode of the “Something However Footy” podcast, would remove foul jumps by changing the normal take-off board with a take-off “zone.” Athletes are at present measured from the board to the place they land within the pit. In the event that they cross the board, the leap is not counted.

“We’ll spend this 12 months testing it in actual life circumstances with excellent athletes. If it doesn’t cross testing, we’ll by no means introduce it,” Ridgeon stated. “However on the identical time, we try to work out methods of getting instantaneous outcomes in order that you do not have to attend 20 or 30 seconds earlier than the end result pops up, and the way we velocity up the entire thing.”

To keep away from impacting competitors forward of the Paris Olympics, it appears seemingly the idea can solely be examined throughout minor meets. The group did not reply to a request for remark.

The aim is so as to add so as to add drama whereas doubtlessly drawing new followers, Ridgeon added. It comes after a 3rd of all of the jumps on the 2023 World Championships in Budapest have been fouls.

“Athletes stepping over the entrance of the take-off board — that doesn’t work, that’s a waste of time,” he stated. “[The proposed format] means each single leap counts.”

For those who ask Lewis, a nine-time Olympic gold medalist with loads of expertise within the occasion, the thought is nearly laughable:

“You are supposed to attend till April 1st for April Fools [sic] jokes,” Lewis wrote on X, previously Twitter.

He elaborated on his points with the proposed change in a separate submit:

“I assume It helps what I have been saying, that the lengthy leap is probably the most troublesome occasion in observe and area. That may simply remove probably the most troublesome ability from the occasion. Simply make the basket bigger totally free throws as a result of so many individuals miss them.”

His public dismay began on Monday and has continued via the week.

“The brand new board thought won’t work and won’t enhance distances,” he wrote on Wednesday. “Each one who has ever jumped over 29 ft continues to be alive. Perhaps you need to begin asking them how they did it and cease making an attempt to do all the things else.”

Lewis’ 1991 leap of 8.87 meters stays third on the world all-time record, and he gained gold within the occasion at 4 consecutive Olympic Video games. He was joined by a gaggle of different achieved athletes in talking out in opposition to the change.

British lengthy jumper Jazmin Sawyers is the reigning European indoor lengthy leap champion. She is not in assist of the thought, which she mentioned in a collection of movies she shared by way of Instagram Tales on Tuesday.

“A part of the ability is that you must hit the board. For those who take away that, it adjustments the occasion utterly,” she stated. “I don’t assume you’d be capable of examine the previous data to the brand new data.”

American star Tara Davis-Woodhall, who simply notched a mark of seven.18-meters (23 ft, 6.75 inches) for the nationwide title and a world lead on Feb. 16, shared a message in opposition to the proposed change from 2023 World Champion Ivana Španović.

Whereas Španović’s assertion requested World Athletics to contemplate athletes when contemplating such vital adjustments, Olympian-turned-premier coach Leroy Burrell took that sentiment a step additional by calling for prize cash to be prioritized as a substitute.

In gentle of the general public backlash, it is going to be fascinating to see how World Athletics will get athletes to take part in testing of the thought.

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