I was reminded of this watching the Commonwealth Games this lunchtime [I'm sure all my American chums have been likewise glued to the TVs watching these as well ]. Watching the men's 4x400 relay I was reminded of a great unfairness in these races. Namely, different runners can compete in different heats of the race. Typically, a 'B team' does the early rounds and then the very best runners are brought out for the final. Okay, I see why this is done in practical terms - if you've got strength in depth and you know the B team can safely get you through the early rounds, this saves your top runners for the final. But am I the only one who thinks this is unsporting and unfair? Three reasons for this little grouse: (1) the B team does all the work getting to the final and then the top runners get the chance to run for the medals (2) the system unfairly favours countries with bigger populations since the odds are that they will have sufficient numbers of runners that they can produce a good quality B team. A country with a smaller population is almost certain to have fewer good runners and thus the same runners will have to run in every round and hence will be less 'fresh' than a team that only runs the final. (3) I can think of no other sporting event where the personnel can change this markedly. Or am I missing the point?