2012 USA Indoor: Press Conference, by Larry Eder

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David Oliver, Jenn Suhr, Richard J. Berry (Mayor), Sanya Richards-Ross, Jesse Williams, photo courtesy of Larry Eder

The press conference preceding the USA Indoor was a meeting place for media, marketing people and athletes.

Mike McNees, acting CEO of USA Track & Field announced an extension of the three year hosting of the USATF Indoor in Albuquerque to two additional years. McNees comments were that the city has been a great host and wants to establish itself as a key indoor training site. Mayor Richard J. Berry made it very clear that Albuquerque likes track & field and wants to be a home for indoor track & field. Albuquerque Conventions & Visitors Bureau CEO Dale Lockett praised the support of the city, and the Convention bureau staff, and supported the Mayor's comments about how much they love having the Indoor champs here.

So, it it nice to be loved. The Facility is right across from the headquarters' hotel and the fans love the meet. Altitude affects the distance runners, but with 1,500m and 3,000m all about making teams, the races become great competitions anyway. Perhaps, the way to go for USATF is to find cities that want track meets and will embrace them like Albuquerque has?

At the press conference, Jared Slinde, the replacement for Tom Surber, long time media captain at USA Track & Field, hosted his first press conference. Slinde has an understated sense of humor, and kept the intros short, well researched and humorous.

Sanya Richards-Ross spoke about how she has been running well, with the real focus on London 2012. Her 50.93 in Millrose two weeks ago was burning. Obviously, Richards-Ross is in great shape. " I would like to run well and go on to the Indoor Championships."

Jenn Suhr, the AR indoors and outdoors for the pole vault spoke about her injury issue, but also her desire to jump. " The injury came up early in the season, but I am looking forward to getting some good jumps in." For Suhr, the time on her feet AFTER jumping is key. Her achilles are giving her trouble. She goes in at a height that the competition is low and her time between jumps is short. Jenn Suhr is the number 1 pole vaulter of 2011, per Track & Field News, the bible of the sport.

Jesse Williams, the WC in the high jump, is a relaxed, but enthusiastic athlete. He told the media, " If I improve a bit each week, say a centimeter, it gets me closer to my  goals for London." Williams obviously wants a shot at the US indoor record, held by 1996 gold medalist, Charles Austin. " I have dreamed about being and Olympic medalist since I was a little kid. That is my goal."

David Oliver is a made who hurdles fear. Olympic bronze medalist at the 110m hurdles, he has raced 50m, 60m hurdles this season and is doing well. London is really the key for him. " I support events that USATF does. Heck, if they US Open would have had a 40 m hurdles, I would have run it."

So, my real moment of the press conference? Just afterwards, when the Mayor of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, asked to get a picture with the athletes. He really likes the sport, and obviously loves his city. The athletes were great with it too. Nice to see our sport welcomed.

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