2011 USATF Convention, Day 4, by Elliott Denman, note by Larry Eder

Gateway Arch, St. Louis.jpgGateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri, photo by Larry Eder

The last day of the convention gave many awards. It also could have been a very ugly floor fight over the logo and sponsorship resolution, but it did not. Cooler heads prevailed, and the resolution was removed, with an agreement that the athletes and USATF would discuss the sponsorship opportunities as well as logo options.

The AAC session showed RBR several things: 1) level of distrust between athletes and USATF, 2) enduring frustrations between athletes and USATF on sponsorships and opportunities, obviously dating long before current federation, but still in need of being resolved, 3) lack of understanding on both sides by how much money is put into sport by various footwear manufacturers, 4) difference between athletes making $200k a year and athletes juggling job delivering Pizza Hut and training, 5) need for closed meetings in order that information can be shared by all sides.

I totally appreciate USATF wanting transparency. However, when money is being discussed, and negotiations on sponsorship logos and needs of athletes, anarchy can not prevail. Transparency be damned, get athletes, federation and sponsors on same page. Each group needs to understand the other's currency, and needs. That, to me, was the lesson of the AAC session on logo and sponsorships.

Please find Elliott Denman's comments on Day 4 of the USATF Convention.


 ST. LOUIS - As they headed home, to their outposts around the nation, the thousand-plus delegates to the USA Track and Field Annual Meeting, which called it a wrap with a final assembly Sunday morning, carried calendars chock-a-block with listings of the events that will keep them busy-busy-busy-busy through the end of this year and onward to 2012 and its Olympic status that doubles-triples-quadruples the energy levels of all of them.

  Check-it-out, check-it-out. check this array of coming majors:

 Dec. 10 - USATF National Cross Country Championships, Seattle.
 Jan. 14 - USA Olympic Trials - Marathon, men and women, Houston.
 Jan. 21 - New Balance Invitational at Armory Track Center, NYC.
 Jan. 22 - USA Olympic Trial, men's 50-kilometer racewalk, Santee, California.
 Jan. 28 - USATF's US Open Track and Field Meet at Madison Square Garden, NYC.
 Feb. 3-4 - New Balance Collegiate Invitational, Armory Track Center, NYC.
 Feb. 4 - New Balance Indoor Grand Prix, Reggie Lewis Center, Boston.
 Feb. 11 - The Millrose Games at the Armory Track Center, NYC.
 Feb. 25-26 - USA Indoor National Championships, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
 March 9-10 - NCAA Division I Indoor Championships, Nampa, Idaho.
 March 9 -11 - New Balance National Scholastic Indoor Championships at Armory Track Center, NYC
 March 9-11 - IAAF World Indoor Championships, Istanbul, Turkey.
 March 16-18 - USATF Masters Indoor National Championships, Bloomington, Indiana.
 April 1 - USATF 20K World Cup Racewalking Trials, Eugene, Oregon.
 April 3-8 - World Masters Indoor Championships, Jyvaskyla, Finland.
 April 16 - Boston  Marathon, Hopkinton to Boston, Mass.
 April 22 - Virgin London Marathon.
 April 26-28 - Penn Relays, Franklin Field, Philadelphia.
 April 26-28 - Drake Relays, Drake Stadium, Des Moines, Iowa.
 May 5- Jamaica International Invitational, Kingston, Jamaica.
 May 11-13 - IC4A Outdoor Championships at Princeton University, NJ.
 May 12-13 - IAAF Racewalking World Cup, Saransk, Russia.
 June 2 - Pre Classic Diamond League Meet, Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon.
 June 6-9 - NCAA Outdoor Championships, Drake Stadium, Des Moines, Iowa.
 June 9 - Adidas Grand Prix Diamond League Meet, Icahn Stadium, NYC.
 June 14-16 - New Balance National Scholastic Outdoor Championships, Greensboro, NC.
June 15-17- USATF Junior National Championships, Bloomington, Indiana.
 June 22-July 1 - USA Olympic Trials, Hayward Field, Eugene, Oregon.
 July 7-15 - IAAF World Junior Championships, Barcelona, Spain.
  July 7-8 - USATF National Club Championships, Omaha, Nebraska.
  July 13-14 - Aviva Grand Prix Diamond League Pre-Olympic Meet, London.
  August 3-12 - Track and Field Phase of London Olympic Games.
  August 30 - Weltklasse Meet, Zurich, Switzerland.
  Sept. 11 - IAAF Racewalking Challenge Final, Erdos, China.
  Sept. 30 - BMW Berlin Marathon, Germany.
  Oct. 7- Bank of America Chicago Marathon, Illinois.
  Nov. 4 - The ING NYC Marathon, New York City.

And, for sure, there will be many more. As ever, check your local listings.

+ As the track and field world readily acknowledges, there can be no sport without the officials, the ladies and gentlemen behind the scenes who "make it all happen."

In the real world, these early years of the 21st century are surely "the times that try men's souls."
In the track and field world, then, the officials are "the souls that time men's tries."

The USATF Officials Committee's highest honor is the Andy Bakjian Memorial Award, designated for the official who goes above and beyond normal requirements to serve his sport in most distinguished manner.

And the Andy Bakjian Memorial Award winner for 2011 is.....Ed Gorman of Summit, N.J.
A former collegiate coach at Ohio State, Manhattan College and Arizona State, Gorman keeps hugely busy the year round serving track and field in an array of capacities.

"I am truly honored," said Gorman. "To be recognized by my peers like this is incredible."

Voted into the USATF Officials Hall of Fame were John Drolla Jr. of Texas, Linda Melzer of Ohio, Dick Moss of Georgia, Lawrie Robertson of Washington and Billy Ray Walters of Texas.

+   "I am totally, totally surprised by this; in fact I am now speechless," Long Islander Gary Westerfield said after the announcement of him as winner of the Robert Giegengack Award, USATF's highest accolade for contributions to the sport in any category of volunteer work.

Giegengack, the late, great coach, had made his own mark in the sport in his coaching years first at Brooklyn Prep in New York City, then Fordham University, then Yale University.  His best-known pupil at Yale,, of course, was 1972 Olympic marathon champion Frank Shorter. And "Gieg" was the head coach of that 1972 USA Olympic Team that saw the Munich-born Shorter outleg the world over the 26.2-mile distance in Munich, thus bringing home America's first Olympic marathon gold since Johnny Hayes in 1908.

Once, Westerfield was one of the nation's top 50K racewalkers and posted world-class times over the 31.1-mile international distance. And that led to his later career in virtually every other branch of track and field.  He's coached on the middle school, high school, collegiate, club and international levels.  He's officiated at meets in his Long Island home territory, nationwide and worldwide. He is a Master level official in the USA and an IAAF racewalk official who has served as a judge in major events all over the world.

Within USATF, he served as first president of the Long Island Association at its founding. and played a major role in the 2011 certification of the New York Association, which succeeded the defunct Metropolitan Association. With all this in his dossier, Westerfield was still a surprise winner.  Hours after the presentation, he remained virtually speechless.


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