The curse of the batonCHOI HYUN-JU
The author is a life and economic news team reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.
It is hard to imagine today, but when I was in school, sports’ day was the day that students waited for the most. The relay race was the highlight of the day. As the runners sprinted, the field was full of cheers and sighs.
In a relay, four runners form a team. The International Association of Athletics Federations officially recognizes the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter, 500-meter, 800-meter and 1,500-meter events. In relay events, the baton pass is very important. Each runner has to pass the baton to the next runner, and the passing needs to be done in the exchange zone, 20 meters from the standby line.
No matter how fast each runner is, the baton pass is critical. At the 400-meter men’s relay at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the individual runners in the Japanese team were considered to have slower records than other teams, whose runners run 100 meters in an average 9 seconds.
But the Japanese team displayed the “underhand” pass skill to pass the baton and won bronze, becoming the first relay team from Asia to medal, and it was called the “miracle of the baton.” However, at the Tokyo Olympics last year, the Japanese team was disqualified for passing the baton outside the exchange zone. It was called the “curse of the baton.”
The world record in the 400-meter men’s relay is 36.84 seconds set by the Jamaican national team in 2012. Each runner ran 100 meters in an average of 9.21 seconds. It is faster than Usain Bolt’s 100-meter world record of 9.58 seconds. The secret is the baton pass. The moment the runners pass the baton while running at full speed, they stretch their arms and have an advantage in distance.
The 20th president is to take the baton from the 19th president in 43 days. But the two runners first met each other 19 days after the next runner was decided, rather than setting up a baton exchange plan. They have differences over the appointment of key figures, such as to the Board of Audit and Inspection and the National Election Commission, and the relocation of the presidential office.
People are anxious and tired from the pains of Covid-19. And just as we have suffered, we have great expectations for the reopening of businesses and the return to normal. The leaders need to show teamwork and have a thorough baton-pass strategy. Korea needs the miracle of the baton now