Starting Height Rules

Starting height rules is another case where the various rule sets can easily be standardized as the difference is whether the input from the throwers is explicitly (NASGA based rules) or implicitly (Borges based rules) sought out by the judge.  However, RMSA rules are different due to decathlon scoring

NASGA based rules on starting height:

The competitors and the judge will agree upon the starting height; with the judge having the final decision

Borges’ Based rules on starting height:

Borges I.3.c.The judge has full discretion to establish the starting height and all subsequent heights. However, it is important that all decisions concerning the height of the bar should be made in consultation with the competitors

Borges I.3.d.  The starting height shall be divisible by 12”. The bar should be raised in increments of 1’ (2’ for sheaf ) until five or fewer competitors remain, after that the competitors may request any increment divisible by 3” (6” for sheaf ). For record attempts only, the bar may be set at any height divisible by 1”.

RMSA Rules

General Rule for Height Event #7: The starting height will be agreed upon by the competitors and the judge with the judge having the final decision.

General Rule for Height Event #13: If the number of competitors requires a starting height that any competitor can’t achieve, the judge may estimate at what height the bar would have been for a successful attempt based on when the weight crossed directly under the bar. This is only done at the opening height. (This is so the competitor doesn’t score zero points for an almost successful attempt at the opening height in a decathlon scoring method.)


  • In reality, a good judges should ask for starting height suggestions from the throwers.  However, asking does not mean that the judge has to accept the suggested height.
  • The judge needs to have some thick skin when picking starting heights.  The contest is not about everybody getting a starting height in the database.  WOB starting at 8′ for the C class; sheaf at 14′ is nuts!
  • Borges I.3.d.  is a nice attempt at standardization, but is it really needed or necessary?
    • This rule removes some of the silliness that database whores like when setting the starting height such as starting at 6″ increments in WOB.
    • Is it consistent across height Events?  NO — Sheaf generally jumps by 2′ increments and by restricting the starting height to be divisible by 12″ should imply that the starting height for WOB is restricted to be divisible by 6″ as that event usually has jumps of 1′,
    • This underlines the problem with rule writing, the more you specify things the more complexity the rule set gets.

As for RMSA rules, I am not sure how often the estimated starting height is done.