The sports under the umbrella of athletics, particularly track and field, use a variety of statistics. In order to report that information efficiently, numerous abbreviations have grown to be common in the sport.
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Starting in 1948 by Bert Nelson and Cordner Nelson, Track & Field News became the leader in creating and defining abbreviations in this field. These abbreviations have also been adopted by, among others, World Athletics; the world governing body, various domestic governing bodies, the Association of Track and Field Statisticians, the Association of Road Racing Statisticians, the Associated Press, and the individual media outlets who receive their reports. These abbreviations also appear in Wikipedia.
Times and marks
Almost all races record a time. Evolving since experiments in the 1930s, to their official use at the 1968 Summer Olympics and official acceptance in 1977, fully automatic times have become common. As this evolution has occurred, the rare early times were specified as FAT times. As they are now commonplace, automatic times are now expressed using the hundredths of a second. Hand times (watches operated by human beings) are not regarded as accurate and thus are only accepted to the accuracy of a tenth of a second even when the watch displays greater accuracy. If the mark was set before 1977, a converted time to the tenth was recorded for record purposes, because they did not have a system to compare between the timing methods. Frequently in those cases there is a mark to the 100th retained for that race. Over this period of evolution, some reports show hand times also followed with an 'h' or 'ht' to distinguish hand times.
With two different timing methods came the inevitable desire to compare times. Track and Field News initiated adding .24 to hand times as a conversion factor. Many electronic hand stopwatches display times to the hundredth. Frequently those readings are recorded, but are not accepted as valid (leading to confused results). Some low level meets have even hand timed runners and have switched places according to the time displayed on the stopwatch. All of this is, of course, wrong. Hand times are not accurate enough to be accepted for record purposes for short races. Human reaction time is not perfectly identical between different human beings. Hand times involve human beings reacting, pushing the stopwatch button when they see the smoke or hear the sound of the Starting pistol, then reacting (possibly anticipating) the runner crossing the finish line. The proper procedure for converting hand times would be to round any hundredths up to the next higher even tenth of a second and then add the .24 to get a time for comparison purposes only. But many meets displayed the converted marks accurate to the hundredth making the results look like they were taken with fully automatic timing. In these cases, some meets have displayed a 4 or a 0 in the hundredths column for all races. When detected, reports of these times are followed by a 'c' or ' to indicate converted times.
Road race times are only considered accurate to a full second. To distinguish a full second time with hours, from a minute time with hundredths of a second, colons are used to separate hours from minutes, and minutes from seconds. A period is used to separate seconds from hundredths of a second.
Transponder timing is becoming more common. The RFID detection system times the transponder chip, usually located on a runner's shoe as opposed to the official timing of the torso. Accurate to a full second, this is not significant, but in breaking microscopic ties, the data does not correspond to timing rules. Most road races cannot fit all participants onto the start line. Depending on the size of the field, some athletes could be several city blocks away from the start line and in the large crowd, could take minutes to get across the line. Results frequently indicate two times, the 'gun time' would be the official time from the firing of the starting gun, but the mat time shows the time the shoe crossed a sensing mat at the start line to the time the shoe crossed the sensing mat at the finish line.
Occasionally, when breaking ties using photo finish, times are displayed to the thousandth of a second. These times to the thousandth are not used for record purposes but times to the thousandth can be used to break ties between adjacent heats. Rules specify if a tie is broken this way, that all heats involved are recorded with the same timing system.
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Most records are subject to ratification by the governing body for that record. On the world level, that is the IAAF. Each body has their own procedure for ratifying the records: for example, USATF, the governing body for the United States, only ratifies records once a year at their annual meeting at the beginning of December.Until a record is ratified, it is regarded as 'Pending' which is sometimes indicated by a following P
- WR = World Record
- OR = Olympic Record
- CR = Championship Record
- GR = Games Record
- AR = Area (or continental) Record
- ER = European Record
- NR = National Record (for a specific country)
- MR = Meet Record
- DLR = Diamond League Record
When a J is added, it indicates a junior record (if a junior does not reach their 20th birthday in the calendar year of the mark)
- WJR = World Junior Record
- AJR = Area (or continental) Junior Record
- NJR = National Junior Record (for a specific country)
- # = indicates a record has not been accepted, or there is some sort of irregularity with a result
- X = indicates the athlete has been disqualified after the performance (usually, this is for taking performance-enhancing drugs)
Some records are ratified or tracked, but they are not to the same standard of quality or accuracy as a record. The term is 'bests.' IAAF lists bests for the Youth division and for road racing records such as the marathon. It also tracks athlete personal achievements as bests. A Y indicates Youth. A youth athlete has not reached or will not reach their 18th birthday in the calendar year of competition.
- WYB = World Youth Best (the best mark achieved by an athlete in the youth age category)
- WB = World Best (the best mark recorded for a non-IAAF world record event)
- NB = National Best (the best mark recorded for a non-national federation record event)
- PB = Personal Best (the best mark achieved by an athlete on a personal level)
- SB = Season's Best (the best mark achieved by an athlete on a personal level within a given season)
- WL = World Leading (the best mark achieved worldwide within a given season)
- EL = Europe Leading (the best mark achieved throughout Europe within a given season)
Circumstances and conditions
- A = a mark set at altitude
- w = a wind assisted mark
- NWI = No Wind Information
For events where wind assistance is a factor (outdoor races 220 yards or less, Long Jump and Triple Jump), the wind reading is usually reported in metres per second or 'm/s'
- + = indicates a time was taken at an intermediate distance in a longer race
- a = in a road race, indicates a course that has conditions that assist the athlete (downhill, favoring wind, point to point)
- AC = Also competed
- c = indicates a converted mark
- dh = downhill
- DNF = Did not finish
- DNS = Did not start
- DQ = Disqualified
- h = hand timed
- i = indoors
- Mx = mixed gender race
- n = non-winning time
- ND = No distance
- NT = No time
- OT = oversized track
- q = secondary qualifier, by next best time or distance to complete the prescribed field size, rather than achieving a place or measurement goal
- Q = automatic qualifier in a major competition See Qualifying standards in athletics
- Wo = women only race
- y = race measurement was in yards
- o = a cleared height in high jump or pole vault
- x = a missed height in high jump or pole vault
- r = athlete retired from competition
- NH = No height
- NM = No mark
Athlete disqualifications often reference the IAAF rule number under which the athlete was disqualified.
This is typically written in the format (false start as example): DQ R162.7
- 40.1 – Doping violation during or in connection with the championships
- 40.8 – Prior doping violation leading to suspension during the period of the championships
- 41.1 – Doping violation by one or more relay team members
- 142.4 – Failure to participate honestly with bona fide effort
- 144.2 – Giving or receiving assistance (e.g. pacing, use of electronic devices)
- 145.2 – Acting in an unsporting or improper manner (unsportsmanlike conduct)
- 149 - Entry to championships on the grounds of invalid performances
- 162.7 – False start
- 163.2 – Jostling or obstructing another athlete on the track
- 163.3 – Running out of lane
- 163.5 – Running out of lane (before 800 m breakline)
- 168.6 – Knocking down hurdle out of lane
- 168.7 – Illegal hurdle clearance or deliberately knocking down hurdle
- 170.6 – Baton not carried by hand; gloves or substances worn to give a better grip of the baton
- 170.6c – Dropped baton not retrieved by the athlete who dropped it
- 170.7 – Baton not passed within take-over zone
- 170.8 – Obstructing another team by athlete without baton
- 170.11 – Unverified team composition or running order
- 170.17 – Outgoing runner in 4x400m relay begins running or breaks from lane too early
- 218.4 – Illegal change of position by waiting relay runner (indoor events)
- 230.6a – Failure to comply with definition of race walking according to three different judges
- 240.8e – Illegal action by person authorised to hand refreshment to athlete
- 240.8f – More than two team officials stationed behind drinks table or running beside an athlete while taking on refreshment or water
The various organizing bodies of the sport are abbreviated into alphabet soup.
- AAA = Amateur Athletic Association of England – England
- AAA = Asian Athletics Association
- AAU = Amateur Athletic Union USA amateur sports umbrella governing body formed 1887 until broken up in 1979 – USA
- AK = Athletics Kenya – Kenya
- ANA = Authorised Neutral Athletes
- ANZ = Athletics New Zealand – New Zealand
- APA = Association of Panamerican Athletics – North and South America
- ARAF = All-Russia Athletic Federation – Russia
- BAAA = Bahamas Association of Athletic Associations – Bahamas
- BFLA = Belarus Athletic Federation – Belarus
- CAA = Confederation of African Athletics
- CACAC = Central American and Caribbean Athletic Confederation – Central America and Caribbean
- CBAt = Confederação Brasileira de Atletismo – Brasil
- CISM = International Military Sports Council – Military athletics
- CONSUDATLE = Confederación Sudamericana de Atletismo – South America
- CTAA = Chinese Taipei Athletics Association – Taiwan
- DAF = Danish Athletics Federation – Denmark
- DLFV = 1949–1990 during the existence of East Germany
- DLV = Deutscher Leichtathletik-Verband – Germany
- EAA or EA = European Athletic Association/European Athletics
- EAF = Ethiopian Athletic Federation – Ethiopia
- EKJL = Eesti Kergejõustikuliit – Estonia
- FCA = Federación Cubana de Atletismo – Cuba
- FFA = Fédération française d'athlétisme – France
- FIDAL = Federazione Italiana di Atletica Leggera – Italy
- FISU = International University Sports Federation – Student athletics
- HKAAA = Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association – Hong Kong
- IAAF = International Association of Athletics Federations – World
- IAU = International Association of Ultrarunners
- IOC = International Olympic Committee – Olympics
- IPC = International Paralympic Committee – Paralympic athletics
- JAAA = Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association – Jamaica
- JAAF = Japan Association of Athletics Federations – Japan
- KNAU = Royal Dutch Athletics Federation – Netherlands
- OAA = Oceania Athletics Association
- NACAC = North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletic Association – North America
- NCAA = National Collegiate Athletic Association – USA Colleges and Universities
- NFHS = National Federation of State High School Associations – USA High Schools
- RFEA = Real Federación Española de Atletismo – Spain
- TAC = The Athletics Congress, predecessor to USA Track & Field 1979–1992 – USA
- UKA = UK Athletics – United Kingdom
- USATF = USA Track & Field – USA
- WAVA = 1977–2001 World Association of Veteran Athletes – World Masters (athletes over age 35)
- WMA = since 2001 World Masters Athletics – World Masters (athletes over age 35)
- WMRA = World Mountain Running Association
Publications and statisticians
- ARRS = Association of Road Racing Statisticians
- ATFS = Association of Track and Field Statisticians
- AW = Athletics Weekly
- NUTS = National Union of Track Statisticians – United Kingdom
- T&FN = Track & Field News
Due to the large number of athletics events that are regularly contested, presentations of results and statistics often use abbreviations to refer to the events, rather than the full form.
- CE = Combined events
- DMR = Distance medley relay
- DT = Discus throw
- HJ = High jump
- HM = Half marathon
- HT = Hammer throw
- JT = Javelin throw
- LJ = Long jump
- mh = metres hurdles (e.g. 400mh for 400 metres hurdles)
- PV = Pole vault
- SMR = Sprint medley relay
- SP = Shot put
- SC, st. or s'chase = Steeplechase
- TJ = Triple jump
- WT = Weight throw
- XC or CC = Cross country running
- AAG = All-Africa Games
- AfC = African Championships in Athletics
- AsC = Asian Athletics Championships
- CWG = Commonwealth Games
- DL = IAAF Diamond League
- EC or ECh = European Athletics Championships
- ECCC = European Cross Country Championships
- EIC = European Athletics Indoor Championships
- EJC = European Athletics Junior Championships
- EG = European Games
- ETC = European Team Championships
- ESAA = English Schools' Athletics Championships
- ISTAF = Internationales Stadionfest Berlin
- LYG = London Youth Games
- OG = Olympic Games
- WC or WCh = World Championships in Athletics
- WHM = IAAF World Half Marathon Championships
- WIC = IAAF World Indoor Championships
- WJC = IAAF World Junior Championships in Athletics
- WXC = IAAF World Cross Country Championships
- WYC = IAAF World Youth Championships in Athletics
- PAG = Pan American Games
- SAG = South Asian Games
- SEAG = Southeast Asian Games
- ^'FAT vs Handheld Times'. Gordie Richardson Oakland County 7th & 8th Grade Track Meet. Archived from the original on 1 April 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- ^'What does ND abbreviation stand for in athletics results'. Sports Stack Exchange.
- ^Butler, Mark et al. (2013). IAAF Statistics Book Moscow 2013 (archived), p. 71. IAAF. Retrieved on 2015-07-06.
- Terms & Abbreviations (World Athletics)
Such a simple problem. “Which Pokémon game is this?” You would think that looking at the data for where a Pokémon learned a move, it would be obvious which game that move was learned in. Unfortunately, you would be wrong.
When I was initially working on PokémonCompDB, Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire (in Generation 6) were the latest games. I’ve mentioned before that you can import Pokémon from previous games over to the next generation, starting from the original Ruby & Sapphire. I’ve also mentioned that for PokémonCompDB to work, I needed to parse a lot of websites to generate the data needed to understand the games.
For brevity, the Pokémon games are often referred to by an abbreviation. “RSE” is Ruby, Sapphire, & Emerald for example. These abbreviations are mostly established by fan consensus and not often canonical. They helped me out because they were easy to display:
Omega Ruby, made succinct
2017 Stats The Initials Game On
On a lot of the fan sites that I was parsing to generate the data set for PokémonCompDB, these abbreviations were used in place of the names of the game, also for brevity. When working with Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire, the following games were available to be imported from:
|Ruby, Sapphire, & Emerald||RSE|
|Fire Red & Leaf Green||FRLG|
|Diamond, Pearl, & Platinum||DPPt|
|Heart Gold & Soul Silver||HGSS|
|Black & White||BW|
|Black 2 & White 2||B2W2|
|X & Y||XY|
|Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire||ΩRαS (or ORAS)|
I’ll trust you to pick apart which bits of the abbreviations refer to which names. Often this meant that when there are divergences between the two games within a generation (like I described in my post about Bonsly, Lucario and Vaporeon in Generation 5), I would need to recognize the individual game’s abbreviation in isolation.
Eagle-eyed readers also know that Colosseum & Gale of Darkness on the GameCube are in the mix as well. Fortunately their names didn’t cause any issues here.
These games have their own fun that we’ll come back to in another post
Then along came Sun & Moon. Immediately there’s a problem: does S mean Sun or Sapphire?
While unexpected, this was resolved easily enough. Sapphire came first - it has “claimed” the abbreviation S. I’ll use “Su” for Sun and all will be well. As Sun is the latest game at the moment, any data is implicitly for Sun & Moon, unless it specifies otherwise (like if the site listed that you must import a Pokémon from Diamond & Pearl, then that data is associated with those games).
However, Nintendo did something else unexpected. They re-released Red, Blue, & Yellow and Gold & Silver on the Virtual Console for the 3DS. And, more importantly for me, they added the capability to import from the digital versions of these classic games into Pokémon Bank, and from there into Sun & Moon.
New contenders for existing abbreviations
Like all other Pokémon games, Generations 1 and 2 provided some unique moves that could be learned by certain Pokémon. The only way to have a Jolteon with Skull Bash in Sun & Moon is to first teach it through TM40 in Generation 1, for example. (And remember, like I mentioned before, TMs were single use back in Generation 1, so you could only teach a single Pokémon Skull Bash via TM without restarting the game.)
Suddenly there are a lot more games accessible in Sun & Moon than there were when I worked with Omega Ruby & Alpha Sapphire. And now, the abbreviation problem became a bit more pronounced:
- Does R mean Red or Ruby?
- Does B mean Blue or Black?
- Does Y mean Yellow or Y?
- Does S mean Silver, Sapphire, or Sun?
2017 Stats The Initials Games
For my own data, I can change the abbreviations used for each game. I can follow the same logic I did for Sun - letting the older game “claim” the shortest abbreviation. Ruby is “Ru”, Black is “Bl”, Sapphire is “Sa”, and Sun is “Su”.
But what do I do with Yellow? Y doesn’t have any more letters to use, despite being the newer game. In the end I had to assign Yellow the abbreviation “Ye”, due to lack of other letters, despite the almost universal acceptance of the abbreviation “RBY” for Red, Blue, & Yellow in Generation 1.
Clearly should have been Pokémon Xylophone & Yunluo
2017 Stats The Initials Game Show
Not to mention, most Pokémon fan sites are designed with human viewers in mind, not automated parsers. There is a lot of information embedded in the context of how you have navigated to where you are. If a move is learned in “Gen I (Y)” that’s “obviously” Yellow, not Y. In these cases, I needed the parser to guess at context - it’s not enough to just look at the abbreviations used for the games, you also need to know where you’re importing your data for. Y will tend to mean different things when used alongside “RB” or “Gen I”. “B” means something different next to “R” than “W”. “B” can’t mean “Blue” if you’re parsing data for Generation 6. And so on.
2017 Stats The Initials Game 6
This wasn’t a particularly challenging technical problem (choose a set of unique strings), but it was one, like so many others, that I didn’t expect to have so many permutations.