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Wot, no darts?

Posted by UniBoffin at 15:08 on 23rd July 2012 in UniBlog

Wot, no darts?

So I’m in London, the Olympic torch relay is due to pass by within a discus-throw shortly, and the opening ceremony itself will be held not far away in just a few days. But, magnificent as I’m sure the whole upcoming festival of sport will prove, from at least a personal point of view it would have been all the more enjoyable for the inclusion of two new events.

The first of these (which I don’t expect you necessarily to care about, but indulge me) is squash, which sadly only just lost out for inclusion in the 2016 games. The second (which I trust you do care about) is darts.

Now the concept of darts in the Olympics may give rise to comments from some quarters about the lack of a requirement for especial athleticism, but this argument can be countered by citing existing Olympic events such as archery and shooting. However, before I arouse the ire of markspeople everywhere (clearly not a good idea!), let me quickly add that I do not underestimate the exceptional physical abilities and skill required in those sports, but surely it’s fair to say many of the same attributes are required in darts?

That said, there is one issue that would need to be addressed before any Maestro of the Tungsten could win Olympic Gold. What type of tip would be on their darts?

Here in the UK soft-tip darts is very much the junior partner, but in other parts of the world (as our old friend Warren’s recent Uniblog relates) it has a large and increasing following. And it seems to me that it would be both a shame and counterproductive to the case for inclusion to limit Olympic darts to just one code at the expense of the other. Which leaves us with a problem – is there any way a compromise can be found?

Well, that’s too tough and controversial a question for me to attempt to answer here, but I will proffer a couple of ideas for discussion. Perhaps an Olympic darts contest could feature combined results from both codes? Or how about using a conventional steel-tip board, which would permit using heavier steel-tip barrels if so desired, but with a soft-tip 8 foot oche and 701 game? Or perhaps you have some better ideas? If so, let me know!

But all of this raises a wider issue - Olympic event or not, would it be worthwhile trying to eliminate some of the seemingly arbitrary differences between the codes? Is it really essential to keep a less-than-3-inch difference in throwing distance? And wouldn’t it be more logical for a player who says they like an 18gm steel-tip dart to mean 18gm all-up weight, as they would with a soft-tip dart, and not just an 18gm barrel (including point) which might come in at anywhere between 19gm and 21gm once the shaft and flights are added?

Well, it might be too much to hope that such established factors can be changed, but one area where advances can be made in reconciling soft with steel is equipment technology. Converta points are existing examples of this, as are E-bristle boards which accept either type of tip (I personally think there is room for further development of these – it just needs a big enough market to be there). And even I am thinking of trying to provide a bit of extra help to cross-code players as (to let you into a secret which relates to John’s post to my last blog) I’ve been pondering “cross-tip” darts which can accept a soft-tip or a steel-tip (maybe in a ZeroD nose cone) whilst remaining aerodynamically optimised in both configurations.

Perfecting the design of those will have to wait, though. The Olympics are in town for the first time since 1948 and I plan to spend the next couple of weeks watching the best in the world doing what they do best. Just enough time beforehand to bring back the Q&A section below to take a look at a couple of the issues raised after my last blog. Many thanks to Kenneth, Warren, FuzziOn, Jeff, Mad John, (presumably sane) John, and Hays for their comments, questions and words of encouragement – although I am a bit concerned that it was only a “Mad” correspondent who considers I merit a pay rise!

And now I’m off to plan my Olympic viewing schedule so as not to miss the events of most interest – even if they won’t include all the ones I’d like. When I was young there were still cartoon figure Chads to be found chalked on London walls and I can just imagine one peering down at proceedings even back in 1948 and complaining, “Wot, no darts?”


Q&As

Kenneth & Fuzzi0n & Carbon SlikStiks

Good point about conventional plastic tops on carbon-shafted SlikStiks, folks, but you can bet it’s something we’ve looked at. Even then there are still problems to be solved, though, but, as I said last time, never say never! And as for FuzziOn’s request for carbon end-loaders in various lengths, take a look at the new adjustable-length Bantam Carbon!

Warren & Jeff and Front-Loaded Darts

Just to clarify something Warren mentions in his post, from a purely physics perspective I’m not a particular fan of pencil barrels as dynamic theory indicates torpedoes may have advantages for those with a rear-biased or centre grip and front-loaded darts better suit those with a forward grip. However, the fact that many players feel more comfortable throwing a parallel-sided barrel can’t be ignored and is reflected in the design of the new Sigma Carbon. But, as Jeff notes, if a player is as adaptable as The Power, sometimes the change from a pencil to a torpedo barrel can prove beneficial.

There are 5 comments to this post

Posted by Chris Ward at 15:47 on 23rd July 2012

Interesting post Uniboffin, darts could (and in my opinion) should be in the Olympics, the format should stay the same as both world championships, but who would represent Great Britain? Adie, James and Phil would be my picks but the BDO would offer Martin Adams, a fine player and a proud patriotic man, selection of players would be the only stumbling block that I can see.

Would be nice to see us taking gold, silver and bronze though, maybe in 2020!

Posted by John at 05:09 on 24th July 2012

Blistering barnacles. That is a brilliant idea to include darts in the Olympics! But it wont happen.... not in our life cycle.
Though in the UK soft-tip darts is very much the junior partner, it is just a matter of time it will be invaded by these blinking machines.
Cheers
(presumably sane) John

Posted by Warren at 02:13 on 27th July 2012

Hi UniBoffin.
The situation with Darts in the Olympics is this: They have to approach the world governing body (WDF) OR I mean the other way around, the WDF has to approach the IOC.. having said this the WDF surely can muster up enough Countries every 4 years to push home the point that Darts is a sport and needs to be included in the Oly.

As for the 2 codes, worlds apart but the same (Irish I know) but there are the elite & not so elite (like myself) who have played both codes and done very well!
An electronic Bristle board (Wild Bull for example) may have been the solution but I doubt it, different weighted darts no, a steady 18grams across the board! To give an example of what I am doing at the moment: I am throwing my 18g Soft Tip darts at my bristle Board (which has seen better days) from a distance of 8' and I am picking off the segments better than if I was a 7'9& 1/4" throwing my 24g barrels!
I then walk to the old soft tip board (dosent work) and throw my soft tip barrels at it, I throw a 17 (World Pro classification) BUT having said that I know I cannot afford to miss in certain games I play in Soft Tip.
If I was playing 501 etc on there then that would be ok, there is alot of ifs, buts, maybe's & hmmm's to this but in my honest opinion to be honest the introduction of both codes into the Olympics would take something like 2-3 years just to settle on a format, board, type of dart & throwing distance to be fair to all.

Until I can sit down and nut it out, all I can say to everyone is happy Darting, DONT treat soft tip as a toy game as its not and especially.. GO AUSTRALIA!

regards

Warren

Posted by Jake at 14:55 on 28th July 2012

Darts should be an Olympic sport no question.

Sports like shooting (not skeet -winter) are not in any way requiring any "especial athleticism", they just lie there & pull a trigger on an instrument which does it all for them.

Yet darts, where the competitors stand upright (far more physically taxing than lying down), have no mechanical aid to aim or fire their particular ballistic projectile (ie a rifle).

The dart player is far more especially athletic than any shooter, requires no aids & has no crutches (so is pure in the humanity of the game).

I could not think of any purer a test of a human's hand-eye co-ordination & stamina (be it physical OR mental stamina)

But hey I guess I'm not as corrupt as the IOC, I mean lets face it. The Olympic Games these days are no different to the governing body than the Football or Rugby World Cups. They are simply money making ventures to pay the hefty salaries of useless executives. New Zealand paid billions to host the last RWC to the IRB & lost over 300 million dollars.

Given the focus on the host nation choosing events, I am surprised that England did not try to include darts.

However for the same reason I am not surprised that they have not included the sport as the future nations to host the games may again exclude darts. It would have been a historical downer for the sport to finally be included in the Games only to never reappear there again.

I hope my blatant contempt of capitalism has not offended anyone, but if it does, you are likely in the 2% that the system breeds contempt in me for.

Go Darts! & Hoping to be watching a Power v Machine Matchplay Final. Because I won't be watching the games...

Posted by John at 10:28 on 30th July 2012

You are right Warren... Look at Ten-Pin bowling. Still no go....

I vote UniBoffin for president of IOC...

Good Darts All...
(presumably sane) John

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