Usain Bolt was disqualified from the final of the 2011 World Championship 100m for one false start. The IAAF rules are now coming under fire for being too harsh, since they afford no latitude for accidental false starts.
The false start rule used to be more lenient. Historically, every athlete would receive a warning on their first false start and disqualification on their second. In 2003, the rule changed so that the first false start warning applied to the entire field rather than just the offending athlete. In 2010, warnings were eliminated entirely. Avoiding delay to TV schedules was a key driver for streamlining the rule, but I suspect that broadcasters would rather show “The Lightning” competing than have him disqualified on their account.
So, let’s explore the rule and consider alternatives.