And the Men’s Air Rifle Finals are up on youtube:
Even allowing for the point that the London Games had more build-up and that Changwon’s RO was useless as an announcer by comparison to London (and even allowing for ISSF’s logistics issues), I still think this new format isn’t an improvement. There’s no real sense of tension during the match until the final shot and even there – well, I’ve seen more tension in chess games (and I mean in a lot of chess games).
Worse yet, there’s no excitement watching someone from the back of the pack fight up to the front because:
(a) there’s noone at the front or the back of the pack, this ridiculous start-from-zero rule means there’s no pack at all anymore, and the eliminations kick in too early and too fast to allow a proper pack to form; and
(b) instead of watching and rooting for an underdog charging up through the pack, you’re just watching the more well-known guys fall, so it sneaks up on you, and you’re left going “Oh, so-and-so is out, who’s left – who’s that?”.
And to add to that, it devalues the medals. I watched Campriani, acknowledged as one of the best rifle shooters of the last few years and who just won the 2012 shooter of the year award, go out in the first elimination on the basis of eight shots and I’m thinking “well, that medal’s not worth much now, you survived against one of the best in the world for less than a ten-shot strong, instead of the 70+ you’d have had to have beaten him in for the Olympic Gold medal. Big woop.” I once bested Vaclav Haman (then ranked fourth in the world) for a few shots; at the time I couldn’t hit the MQS and couldn’t maintain the lead for a string, but for those few, I was all of 0.2 points ahead of one of the world’s best shooters. That’s worthy of being thought of as a nice, somewhat self-deprecatingly funny training story for a new shooter, worth a laugh at the time; under these stupid new finals rules, it would have been enough for him to be eliminated despite him being a far better shooter then and now than I have ever been.
This is not a good thing. It means we’re not giving the gold medal to the best shooter on the day anymore 🙁