Olympic Rules

When it comes to cycling I understand that all the racers start at 1 time, but how is the starting order determined? Who gets to be at the front and why?

How are the swim lanes determined for each race? Someone please tell me!

Swim lanes are determined by qualifying times, fastest times get the middle lanes (4, 5) and slower time alternate sides working to the outer lanes.

Are you asking about road cycling (outdoors, long distance) or track (indoors, banked track, short distance)?

Also, in swimming, the preliminaries are seeded based on the swimmers’ fastest times over the previous 12 months as follows:
Last heat: rankings 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, 22
Next-to-last heat: 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, 20, 23
Third-from-last: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24
Fourth-from-last: 25 through 32
Fifth-from-last: 33 through 40
and so on
There is one exception: the 50 Freestyle includes swimmers who “qualified” through the “every country gets one male swimmer and one female swimmer, even if they didn’t meet the qualifying standard time for any event” rule; these swimmers are placed in their own heat so they are not embarrassed by the other swimmers, even if it means the next-slower heat does not have eight swimmers. (It’s not as bad as it used to be, before they made the 50 an event; in some cases, they were afraid the swimmers wouldn’t be able to complete the 100m distance.) Two of the three “first heat” swimmers in the women’s 50 free are younger than 15 years old.

As already mentioned, in any particular race, lanes are assigned from fastest to slowest as 4, 5, 3, 6, 2, 7, 1, 8. This is why the lane lines for 4 and 5 are a different color than the others - to highlight the fastest swimmers for the crowd.

If a semi-final is needed, the second, fourth, sixth, and on so through 16th-fastest heat times go in the first semi-final, and the first, third, fifth, and so on through 15th-fastest heat times go in the second semi-final.