For the first time in athletics history, time-staggered start gates will be used in an international athletics competition when the newly-conformed Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) takes its place at the European Games in Minsk.
Based on the Gundersen method first used in Nordic combined in the 1980s, the time-staggered start – which was a part of the test event in the Belarus capital earlier this month – is an integral component of the winner-takes-all distance medley relay race called The Hunt.
The Hunt is the final of nine events that make up DNA.
During the first eight events – men’s 100m, women’s long jump, women’s 100m, women’s javelin throw, mixed 4x400m, men’s 110m hurdles, men’s high jump and women’s 100m hurdles – mixed-gender national teams accumulate points based on their head-to-head performances.
To ensure that the overall winner is not decided until the end, each team enters The Hunt behind the time-staggered start gates.
The first-place team is given a proportionate head start over the second-place team, and so on.
Each point advantage in the preceding eight events translates into 0.3-second head start for the team with more points.
The first team to cross the finish line is crowned the winner.
“We are very pleased with the results of the test event and especially of the new start gates,” said European Athletics vice-president Libor Varhaník.
“DNA is an exciting new addition to the athletics calendar, one that is highly competitive, extremely tactical and above all fun to watch.”