In a masterful ending to a very high profile convention, Doug Logan addressed the Closing session of the USATF 2008 convention with a closing speech that aimed to do several things. Logan reminded the listeners that USA Track & Field is them, fast and slow, big and small, young and young in spirit, black, white, latino, masters, elite, prep athlete. It is in our diversity, that USA Track & Field mirrors the country. Using a very simple yet powerful phrase, "we are the sport of.." Logan is suggesting that the real American sport, one that shows our diversity as our strength, is track & field.
Logan embraces athletes from the past and from our present, leaders from our past and present, coaches, administrators and the new leadership. He makes an appeal to the coaching community, which has been made to feel like an outsider in USATF on many occasions. And lastly, his praise of Stephanie Hightower, the new President of USATF, is a strong and reasoned entree to work together as well as accepting that good discussion and sharing of disparate ideas is not wrong, but the only way that USATF can grow and succeed in the future.
Finally, after bringing everyone together, Logan unveils his Project 30. Thirty clean medals for London 2012, $30 million in funding by 2012. Both aggressive, but reasonable goals considering the true strength of our system in the US, and the marketability of our sport.
He also makes a good response to USOC and working with the evil Empire as some have called it. USATF is a strong federation and needs to behave as one. That independence can help the USOC-they do not need any more sycophants.
Logan, from his earliest days in the job, has shown that he understands the power of the blog. His re organization of the Board of Directors, obviously negotiated behind closed doors, was accepted in Reno with nary a whimper.
He has passed the first test. There are many more to go. Among the upcoming tests: working out a relationship with a USOC that is reacting quite warily to the economic crisis , Making the new board work for a new organization, finding a working relationship with the new President, and raising money in what is, for all real purposes, an economic depression.
What seems to help Logan is his energy and drive. One hopes that he continues to look out for new ideas and meet the many friends of the sport who stay away from conventions.
Logan praised both Ollan Cassell and Craig Masback. Ollan lead the sport through two ages, the old sports world and the new sports world. Cassell was masterful with the various power groups within USATF. He thrived on a sport stapled together like the map of former Yugoslavia. Masback used his strengths
to heighten the visibility of the sport and to clean up the financial challenges that
faced USATF. More than anything, Masback should be remembered for two things:
getting drug testing out of the federation job description and cleaning up the financial picture.
Logan took over a sport that needs evolution. His modus operandi seems to be like a fly on a window, observing, observing, and then making his move. The reorganization was masterful, and it also showed that a) Logan must work well with others, and b) the board finally knows how to keep their mouths shut. Loose lips sink ships, or so the poster said. Loose lips also show a lack of adult behaviour in a group that quite frankly, requires discretion.
Doug Logan's every move will be watched, as they have been for the past six months. His time of anonymity may be over, but that could be a good thing for our sport.
A Blog by Doug Logan
Project 30 and beyond
Sunday, December 07, 2008
The following is the full text of Doug Logan's address Sunday morning to the Closing General Session of USA Track & Field's 2008 Annual Meeting.
Last Tuesday I flew from Dallas-Fort Worth to Reno to attend this vibrant annual congress of USATF. As I took my seat in the 25th row of the plane, I realized I was surrounded, front and rear, by fellow members of this organization. Now, I still have the luxury of being able to travel relatively incognito, and I went unrecognized. I was able to be a bit of a fly on the wall and listen to the gentle banter and the excitement of anticipation of those around me.
There was a group from Arkansas in front of me and several couples from the Midwest behind me. Toward the front of the plane, I had passed two Spanish-speaking coaches from Texas. And, as I buckled up my belt, an awareness came over me of how truly blessed I am. Blessed by the fact that I have been asked to serve as the custodian of a sport that is played and enjoyed in America, by all Americans. As I looked around me in that plane, and as I as ask all of you to look around in this room, I was struck that perhaps uniquely among governing bodies of sports in this country, we look like America because we are America.
We are the sport of Jim Thorpe and Babe Didriksen Zaharias.
We have come together from all regions of this great country to celebrate a sport that makes no distinctions of race or language or creed. We come to celebrate endeavors that are conducted by both genders. We celebrate activities that have participants of all ages. And we applaud performances by individuals of all body types. We are truly here to celebrate America.
We are the sport of Wilma Rudolph and Bob Richards.
We recognize that race is not a predictor of excellence, that no gender has a monopoly on hard work, that both young and old can be disciplined in their preparation, and that looks can be deceiving.
We are the sport of Steve Prefontaine and Jesse Owens.
We are what we are because of who we are. We are not a sport that is cut out of whole cloth: not a patchwork quilt of remnants sewn together at the edges; not even a mosaic held together by mortar and grout. Rather, we are a sport that is a rich tapestry of multicolored threads woven together to create a whole that is greater than the individual parts.
We are the sport of Alberto Salazar and "Bullet" Bob Hayes.
We don't ask where you've come from, we just ask where you are going and how fast. The important thing is not your race but the race. We don't care about the color of your body, because we know all sweat looks the same. We know firsthand that both male and female feet get blisters; that young and old limbs get cramps. And, we understand that the absolute democratizer is the finish line and the measuring tape.
We are the sport of Joan Benoit-Samuelson and Madeline Manning Mims.
We are a sport that passionately insists on fairness of competition. We set the rules and are the custodians of the records. We are the keepers of the Olympic flame and have the responsibility to teach our younger generation sportsmanship. We do not and will not allow cheaters, dopers and purveyors of false promises to stand in our way. We will root out these enemies of our ideals, cast them out of our midst and not let them back in.
We are the sport of Parry O'Brien and Michael Johnson.
We understand that the stewardship of this organization is the equivalent to a public trust. Our stakeholders are our customers, and we should be judged on the delivery of services, our competence and our professionalism. We ask you to set for us the same standard of excellence that we ask of our athletes and competitors.
We are the sport of Ollan Cassell and Craig Masback.
We respect and hold in high esteem those who have labored tirelessly on our behalf in the past. We know that we would not be here but for their courage, determination and their triumphs over adversity. We recognize that we cannot truly forge a path ahead without examining the journey that got us this far. And we honor their service to our cause.
We are the sport of Tommie Smith and Dick Fosbury.
We acknowledge we are in a period of remarkable change. Our meetings, deliberations and elections have been the marketplace for ideas, opinions and the revelation of our differences. But we are now poised to go forward together for the common good. We know we have to heal, much like a distance runner who has run a personal best but lost a race. The body, mind and psyche have to be brought back to health, and that always takes time.
We are the sport of Fred Lebow and Jumbo Elliot.
We know that there is honor in competition, whether for medals or for leadership positions, and that victors must extend the hand of magnanimity and respect to adversaries. We will reach out to those who opposed us and make a place at the table for their participation and views. The finish line embrace is an enduring part of our culture on the track and in the meeting room.
We are the sport of Harrison Dillard and Carl Lewis.
We know that unless we reach for the stars we will not get off the ground. Accordingly, we now will announce to the world that we are going to take our "A" game to London in 2012. Our goal: 30 CLEAN MEDALS IN LONDON. We will expeditiously convert the recommendations of our High Performance Audit Panel into an action plan. Incidentally, the new name for this initiative is the Project 30 task force, and it now also includes athletes Deena Kastor and Aretha Hill. 30 CLEAN MEDALS IN LONDON. We will execute the action plan professionally, develop the resources to implement it and be resolute about our goal. 30 CLEAN MEDALS IN LONDON.
We are the sport of Katherine Switzer and Jim Fixx.
We know we have a community of passionate long distance runners. The advent of last generation's running craze has produced a universe of fit, nutrition-minded men and women who have found an avocation for the rest of their lives. We must find the way to connect the disparate parts of this community and provide it with needed services. Uniform standards, statistics and rankings are obvious areas in which we can play a role. Increased safety and proficiency in the management of races is another. We can and should apply newer technologies such as live streaming of races in order to propagate interest and following. Finally, we should create compelling reasons for more long distance runners to be members of USATF. Accordingly, we are challenging ourselves to grow our membership by 30 percent by the year 2012.
We are the sport of Edwin Moses and Stephanie Brown Trafton.
We know we are underestimated, undervalued and misunderstood. We need to retake our rightful place as a major American sport which incidentally participates in the Olympics, rather than being seen solely as an NGB. We will take this $16M business and grow it to a $30M business by the year 2012. We will forge new partnership alliances and negotiate higher prices for existing sponsorship arrangements. We will do a far better job at getting our compelling stories out to the public through a variety of media platforms.
If you notice a trend developing with the number 30, you win this morning's door prize for attentive listening. It satisfies my need to reduce things to simple concepts and allows no chance someone will forget the numbers.
We are the sport of Pat Rico and Evie Dennis.
We know and embrace the value of gender equality, not only on the track but also on our committees, on our professional staff and in our boardroom. We also know that to be a true player on the international scene, we must be global in our outlook. This includes participation in more international competitions with full teams, hiring multicultural, multilingual executives, and becoming more active in our international federation. We will not be taken seriously in the corridors if the IAAF until we host an outdoor World Championship competition on our shores. Therefore, we pledge to find both a venue and financing and will successfully bid on the outdoor World Championships for 2015.
We are the sport of Bob Beamon and Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
If we want to go elephant hunting, we have to go where the elephants are. If we want to make a serious statement as a major sport, we need to establish a presence on both coasts of the country. We will relocate a cadre of marketing and communications professionals to New York in 2009 in order to be able to perform those functions more effectively. A large percentage of our elite athletes live or train in the Southern California area, and we will have a one- or two-person presence to service our athletes' needs in the region by the end of next year.
We are the sport of Billy Mills and Doris Brown Heritage.
We are aware we have to reinvent ourselves as a body to compete in the contemporary sports environment. Our business model, such as it is, does not accommodate the marketplace requirements of a major sport. We will put our best and most creative minds to work to create a plan for the future decades. In order to create competitive opportunities domestically, enhance the visibility of our sport and increase monetary recompense for our athletes, we will become events creators and promoters. We will recruit first-class professional event managers to our National Office.
We are the sport of Al Oerter and Larry James.
We know we made some strategic choices in the past that we must rethink and reverse. We will reach out to the coaches and their organization with a hand of friendship and solidarity. We will enter into substantive discussions with them to find areas of common focus and projects on which we can collaborate. We will enter into a creative dialogue with the USOC, leading to our return to the Chula Vista training camp in a major, managing role. We will look internally at our rules to eliminate those that are arbitrary, unenforceable or inconsistent with modern cultural norms.
We are the sport of Bill Roe and Stephanie Hightower.
I salute Bill Roe for his years of selfless devotion to track and field. He has given his passions, energies and leadership to see this organization through some difficult periods, and I thank him for his patient guidance, support and friendship. I am enthusiastic about my collaboration with Stephanie Hightower. I have, for years, admired her competitive spirit and her attitude. I have gained a respect for her mind and candor. I look forward to working with her in the coming years to propel our agenda forward. The one thing I can assure the membership of this great body: you will never think of the phrases "shrinking violet" or "reclusive" when describing the leadership of USATF.
I wish all of you and your families a joyous holiday season and a safe journey home. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve and say, once again, I will not disappoint you.
God bless you all.
Doug, An excellent way to end the convention. I believe this was your best blog yet! Larry Eder Publisher American Track & Field
Posted by: larry Eder on 12/7/2008 9:46:49 AM PT
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Doug Logan is the Chief Executive Officer of USA Track & Field (USATF), the national governing body for track and field, long distance running, and race walking. Headquartered in Indianapolis, the organization has more than 90,000 members throughout the country. Logan is responsible for overseeing programs ranging from youth track and field, to selecting teams to represent the United States at the Olympic Games and World Championships, to administering programs for age 40+ masters runners.