How many false starts are athletes allowed at Tokyo 2020? Disqualification for sprinters at the Olympics explained
Disqualification by virtue of a false start is among the most frustrating ways for an athlete to see their hopes of a medal coming crashing down. Rules for the Olympics are stricter than ever now and here's all the information you need to know when it comes to sprinters at Tokyo 2020 jumping the gun. You want it? We have it. Stream every Olympic event live on discovery+
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How many false starts are athletes allowed at Tokyo 2020?
There are no second chances at Tokyo 2020. If an athlete is deemed to have false started they will be instantly disqualified.
On the 'Track & Field 101: Rules' on the Olympics website, it states: "If a sprinter commences his or her starting motion from the set position before the Starter's gun is fired, it is deemed a false start.
"The first false start of a race results in an automatic disqualification to the offending runner."
Have the false start disqualification rules changed?
Before 2010, if an athlete false started, the entire field was given a warning and anyone in the same race who jumped the gun a second time would be disqualified, even if it wasn’t the first offender.
But in 2010, the International Association of Athletics Federations changed the rule to make it an instant disqualification for any offender.
Jumping the gun will result in disqualification at Tokyo 2020
Image credit: Getty Images
Under the old rule, slower runners could gain an advantage by purposely jumping the gun to distract the faster starters.
The number of false starts would also slow down meets and impact schedules causing television broadcasts to run over their time slots.
One of the most famous false starts under the new rule came in 2011 at the World Championships when Bolt false started in the 100m final, resulting in an instant disqualification.
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