What sport has the shortest full competition?
June 23, 2004 5:41 AM   Subscribe

Which sporting event is the shortest on a per competitor basis?

This question grows out of a conversation I was having last night, where we were talking about 100M dashes and how hard it must be to train for hours a day for years, in order to do what you do for 9 seconds or so.

Then we got to thinking about what sport offered the shortest full competition. Bull riding is a max of 8 seconds. I think there are high level 50 metre runs, they must come in even shorter. We weren't sure if a single dive counts as a full competition cycle since diving always seems to involve a series of dives, but dives can't be much more than a few seconds.

The longest is probably something like the Tour de France, a multi-day, multi-stage, single event competition, but how short can a sporting competition be?
posted by jacquilynne to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (26 answers total)
Javelin, discus, hammer throw. Don't you just get one shot at these?
posted by pieoverdone at 6:06 AM on June 23, 2004

Every film I've seen of a sumo wrestling match was decided in about 3 seconds. I suppose it could be much longer in theory.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:08 AM on June 23, 2004

high jump
posted by matteo at 6:09 AM on June 23, 2004

Oh, also vault.
posted by pieoverdone at 6:09 AM on June 23, 2004

Another vote for sumo. Don't blink.

You know, Japanese sports on late-night TV is one of the things I miss about living in Lotus-land.
posted by bonehead at 6:12 AM on June 23, 2004

Power lifting is only seconds, but I don't know the exact time. I think it depends on how long you can keep it up, as it were.
posted by iconomy at 6:13 AM on June 23, 2004

But you keep high jumping until you knock the bar down. Same with pole vault.
posted by pieoverdone at 6:13 AM on June 23, 2004

A sumo tournament is modified round robin and goes one-a-day for about half a month, though, so by the definition given it's rather long. Also, there are several minutes of lead-in rituals and mock starts and psyching that are officially part of the bout. If you say they don't count, then by the same assessment a baseball game is only about 6 minutes of action.
posted by planetkyoto at 6:23 AM on June 23, 2004

Sprints are usually run in multiple rounds (or at least the ones I've seen have been). You run in a qualifying round or two, some number of the top finishers move on to the next round, and eventually you get to the finals. Field events like javelin, discus etc. that I have seen always involve something like 3 attempts per competitor.
posted by Zonker at 6:30 AM on June 23, 2004

Round the world boat racing must be the longest.
posted by i_cola at 7:15 AM on June 23, 2004

all track/athletics (at the highest levels) involves multiple heats/rounds.

This is true for sprints (enough competitors and preliminaries must be run); field events (best of three jumps, throws, etc.)

How do you measure time of a jump (<1 0 seconds) or a throw (4-5 of athlete participation?)br>
I could argue BASE Jumping (there are gatherings but no real competitions for this. And a bad athlete is automatically eliminated)

All of about 8 seconds.
posted by filmgeek at 7:57 AM on June 23, 2004

Response by poster: I wasn't thinking so much about things that are decided in multiple heats or rounds - which are there because you can't have all the competitors up against each other head to head for logistics reasons. Conceivably, if you had a really wide track, you could run a single hundred metre dash and find a winner and have it done in 10 seconds. Where as, in my diving example, a diving competition may have brackets or levels or whatever, but an individual diver is going to make a group of dives, whether they win or lose. I think high jump is the same way - you have multiple cracks at a height before you're eliminated. This also covers anything that's a best of 3 or whatever. Of course, for really short sports, best of threes might still total less competition time than an 8 second bull ride.

That distinction is hair splitting, but since this is entirely an intellectual exercise, let's see how small we can cut them...
posted by jacquilynne at 8:39 AM on June 23, 2004

how about the annual cheese rolling race held in england? 100s compete simultaneously and it's over in a few seconds.
posted by triv at 8:58 AM on June 23, 2004

ah. sport. i should read the question...
posted by triv at 8:59 AM on June 23, 2004

Say a tie game in baseball, bottom of the 9th, bases loaded, 2 outs. One baseball pitch. 100mph. All the "stagging" is done to lead to the split second decision. I guess you could foul them off, bring in a new pitcher or batter, or suicide squeeze, but the time sequence is probably the fastest in a sport. Hockey slapshots and lacrosse shots are also included, but at 60 ft 6 in you know the distance and speed, rather than point blank variations, screens and equipment.
posted by brent at 8:59 AM on June 23, 2004

In high jumping you sprint up to the bar before jumping so the time it takes there should be considered.
Since the high jumping record is the shortest distance in Track & Field would say it is the shortest event to complete.
posted by thomcatspike at 9:09 AM on June 23, 2004

Arm wrestling can be over in under 2 seconds.
posted by grum@work at 9:09 AM on June 23, 2004

There's also the 60m indoor, which in my case takes (took) about 7 seconds. Unlike technical competitions (long jump, shot put, etc.) there might actually be cases where you run one race and then you're done. In technical disciplines, you typically get between 3 and 6 attempts, depending on the type of competition (international, national), and even though you could just do one attempt and then stop, you'd still wait have to wait for competitors to finish to know in what position you finished. In 60m and 100m sprint, the entire competition lasts only just as long as the last competitor takes to finish, which is usually within a few tenths of a second.

Still I guess this is up to interpretation, and there's many possible answers to the original question... Bear in mind that I'm doing 60m, 100m and 200m, so obviously my answer is biased towards these.
posted by ckemp at 10:35 AM on June 23, 2004

Response by poster: What I meant by 'per competitor' is, as opposed to having the whole event completed, the time for one person to complete their portion of it. If one competitor rides a bull for 8 seconds, then that's 8 seconds, even if the whole competition takes several hours. If 10 competitors rode bulls at the same time, and it took 8 seconds (as in a sprint, say, where 8-10 people run at the same time) that would still be 8 seconds. So, the marathon in your example is 6 hours long.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:03 AM on June 23, 2004

I think grum@work has it. I've seen matches that are over pretty much instantaneously, in the amount of time it takes one man to pivot his arm to the mat, maybe .25 seconds. Other matches take considerably longer, though.
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:37 PM on June 23, 2004

I'm thinking that dueling must surely be the shortest event, when enacted competently.

The bit where they march off their paces doesn't really count; it's more like the bit where sprinters position themselves in their blocks and wiggle their feet.

The actual match starts when they draw their guns. The winner is determined in about the time it takes the bullet to travel twenty paces. There is no re-match: winner takes all.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:44 PM on June 23, 2004

Sumo is virtually always under 5 seconds. I think that must be the fastest. There are many rounds, of course.
posted by abcde at 12:45 PM on June 23, 2004

Drag racing at 300+ mph for the quarter mile?
posted by brent at 1:37 PM on June 23, 2004

Ski jump? Can't recall whether the run downhill counts, though.
posted by casarkos at 1:51 PM on June 23, 2004

I'd say either divers diving or gymnasts vaulting; only a couple of seconds from starting to landing.

And both have complicated limb movements between start and finish.
posted by selton at 3:43 PM on June 23, 2004

Shooting? I don't know if the aiming counts as time, but the time elapsed between the squeeze of the trigger and the mark used for scoring is fractions of a second.

Pole Vault and high jump involve a run, shot and disc are the quickest track & field events. Go Adam Nelson!
posted by Frank Grimes at 7:45 PM on June 23, 2004

« Older What's wrong with my cat?   |   Diagnose computer speakers or replace them? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.