Did they have sprints back then?
At WOC there wasn't anything other than what we'd now call the long until 1991. (Even the relay was longer in those days - 4 70-minute legs for the men). The middle (then called the short) came in in 1991.
The first sprint I can remember anywhere was in 1996 on the rest day of a World Cup round in Norway. It was first run at WOC 2001 (something I didn't know until quite recently was that the IOF felt it needed to bring the discipline under its control pronto after an accident, which many of you will be aware of, at a Park World Tour race in Austria in 2000). Probably wasn't until the mid-2000s that it evolved into an urban race in the sense that we currently understand it; the WOC 2005 sprint was largely forest, for example.
Swiss-6 in 1999 had one as a prologue for fast types only - I *think* that was the first one I ran. Entirely town-based. Was Easter at Maldon one of Australia's first serious ones? (remember the cash incentive at the first control....?). Chaos.
Cash incentive was actually hanging from the gate on the way out of the arena!
That carnival was called Maldon Gold I think. I can remember one where there were banknotes pegged to a line - I felt it favoured tall people.
Now for my grumble - I love the Sprint discipline but have pangs of "dismay" when people equate Sprint with Urban. If Classic, Long and Middle relate to relative distances (and not terrain) then why do many people equate Sprint with Urban? Because they are not dinosaurs like me I guess. Bush Sprints are very difficult to produce, I understand. Embraced the Sprint set by Jenny Bourne (I think) at a national carnival early on - such a challenge.
Agreed - I think the IOF have stuffed up the format of the "Sprint WOC". They don't have a forest sprint, they don't have an "Urban Race" (longer than a sprint), and they don't actually have a real one race sprint (they have a relay and 2 days which involve 2 races back to back on the same day).
Isn't it all about what works for TV?
I don’t see the qualifications making good TV.