Recently in IAAF Category

vlasic.jpgBlanka Vlasic, photo by Kevin Morris

As a freshman at DeSmet Jesuit High School, in October of 1972, Mr. Rich Grawer, my history teacher, wanted to familiarize us with proper research techniques. Over a series of weeks, I had to research, after decoding clues, the winners of the 1968 and 1972 Royal Dutchman sailing class in the Olympics. Learning how to use research available in a library was a good skill for 1972.

Now, many just go to google or wikipedia.

My university degrees are in history and painting. It was the seventies, but, the truth was, those were my two passions, well, besides athletics.

I was fortunate enough to have professors who helped us appreciate the complexities of dealing with contemporary sources. In this day and age, it can be virtually impossible to tell what is absolute crap and what is merely, well intentioned, but poorly attributed information.

Getting the rough picture of complicated situation does not mean one understands said situation. To quote a fairly modern troubadour, " One should not describe a KISS concert if you have not been there."

In our modern world of social media, much of the real stories are left out of the tweets, Facebook rants, and Instagram pictoids.

We live in a complex world.

In light of the pieces in BBC, Independent and Guardian on the supposed adidas departure, and the reactions I have recieved from many in the industry, I thought I would try to take away some of the confusion.

But then, maybe I will just add to it....

icahnadidasgoldmile.jpgadidas Golden Mile, adidas GP, June 2015, photo by PhotoRun.net

Statements on sponsorship situation


MONACO (MON): Adidas is rumoured to be in the process of terminating their sponsorship deal with the IAAF four years early, reports the BBC. Neither the IAAF or Adidas confirmed the situation. The 11-year sponsorship deal with the German sportswear giants was due to run until 2019 and was reportedly worth $33m in finances and value in kind. IAAF said in a statement: "The IAAF is in close contact with all its sponsors and partners as we embark on our reform process". Also an official Adidas statement is available: "As you know adidas has a clear anti-doping policy in place. Therefore, we are in close contact with the IAAF to learn more about their reform process." In this situation also IAAF and its worldwide commercial partner Dentsu Inc. are in close and regular contact on all commercial matters and as part of such communication Dentsu's Executive Officer Kiyoshi Nakamura has expressed that "we have full confidence in the new leadership of the IAAF and the reform process being led by current IAAF President Sebastian Coe and the IAAF World Athletics Series remains an important property within Dentsu's global sports business portfolio. At the beginning of December 2015, Sebastian Coe visited Tokyo for a first meeting with Dentsu and several of the Official IAAF Partners which was extremely well received."

Editor's note: Is adidas really considering leaving the IAAF? Probably the better question is that, is an iconic sponsor unhappy with both its treatment before and after two quite damaging reports on the sport they sponsor? Of course it is?

The level of naivety among some of the media who are covering this sponsorship brouha begs several questions, 1) have they ever been to a track meet? 2) have they ever been to twelve days of world championships, and more, traveled into the bowels of a modern stadium for daily, hourly press conferences?3) who are they talking to, obviously not anyone in management, marketing or communications?

What am I missing?

Diack_Lamine-IAAFgala14.jpgLamine Diack, photo by PhotoRun.net

FRANKFURT (GER): IOC President Thomas Bach criticised former IAAF President Lamine Diack for bringing athletics "into the abyss", reports AP. "It is really incomprehensible that the president of an international federation demands money from athletes to manipulate results of doping tests. That is really a look into the abyss," he said.

Editor's note: The abyss gets deeper and deeper. The sport Diack purported to love, he has left seriously injured. The issue that I have is this: common sense would suggest that the extortion was known only at the highest levels of the Diack group. The more people who know, the more there is the chance for a leak, for someone to get jealous and spill the proverbial beans.

The sleepy IAAF that was founded in 1912 in Stockholm existed until the mid 1970s. By the time of Primo Nebiolo, the Federation and the world of sport changed. Under Nebiolo, there was huge growth and finally, money. Money did corrupt.

Under Diack, the corruption became its own industry.

The sport he was elected to protect, Lamine Diack has used for his retirement fund.

That is more than a journey into the abyss.

It is a sin against the sport.

Barber_Shawn1-Beijing15.jpgShawn Barber, Beijing 2015, photo by PhotoRun.net

Barber in Germany
COTTBUS (GER): World champion Shawn Barber from Canada will take part in the traditional Cottbus Jumping Indoor meet on 27 January where he could have an eye on the meet record of 5.90m, reports Leichathletik.de. He will face world indoor champion Kostas Filippidis from Greece, world bronze medallist Piotr Lisek from Poland, Czech duo Jan Kudlicka and Michal Balner with German vaulters Tobias Scherbarth and Carlo Paech. The women's high jump features Ruth Beitia from Spain, Kamila Licwinko from Poland along with world-leader Marie-Laurence Jungfleisch and Ariane Friedrich, also to count among favorites Airine Palsyte of Lithuania.

Editor's note: Shawn Barber is the 2015 World Champion. His European Indoor tour is giving him a chance to jump in 2016 against the best vaulters in the world. Barber will challenge the heights of the vault for many years to come.

Wote_AmanA-Worldi14.jpgAman wins 2014 Sopot, photo by PhotoRun.net

In a breaking story on Sunday, January 24,2016, the BBC reported that adidas, the long time apparel and footwear sponsor of the IAAF, will be terminating their sponsorship agreement four years early. The full story, by Mark Daly, can be read here: http://www.bbc.com/sport/athletics/35385415.

trayvon500X500_0.jpgTrayvon Bromell, photo by PhotoRun.net

World medalist Trayvon Bromell in his first pro year won the 60 m at the Texas A&M Team Invitational in 6.59. In the other race John Teeters 6.60 ahead of Ronnie Baker 6.65. Another top performance came from Grenada´s Bralon Taplin with 45.20 over 400 m, his PB. Devin Jenkins was fastest over 200 m 20.94 (indoor PR) and Olympic medalist Leo Manzano won the invitational 800 m in 1:50.15. Ryan Crouser achieved 20.02 in shot put and Demi Payne cleared facility record 465 in women pole vault (and tried at 476). In women sprints Teahna Daniels won the 60 m in 7.26 and Aaliyah Brown the 200 m in 23.42, in both races second Morolake Akinosun 7.26 and 23.47. Texas clocked 3:33.80 in women 4x400 m. Reported by 12thman.com.

Editor's note: Trayvon Bromell is starting his indoor season. This is his first of four races in the indoor season. New Balance showed us a special shoe for Trayvon coming in July 2016. Nice to see NB putting some of their muscle behind the sport. They have been doing a fine job in the New Balance Indoor and Outdoor Nationals, for sure, but Trayvon is the first real sprinter that they have focused on in some time.

In my conversation with Tom Carleo, VP of Running at NB, it was clearly evident that New Balance sees Trayvon as someone quite special and they are looking to reach out to the high school community with their upcoming efforts.

Add onto that the recent New Balance/NYRR ten year deal around supporting running and fitness in the Big Apple and sponsorship of the NYC Marathon and six local half marathons, and New Balance is quite busy.

New Balance is on a roll, with key products being embraced by the very tough running specialty community. The Fresh Foam and revised shoes like the 1080 are doing well.

Brazier_DonovanQ-USout15.jpgDonovan Brazier, photo by PhotoRun.net


Brazier 1:45.93 as still a junior
COLLEGE STATION (USA, Jan 16): Running without pacemakers, 18-year-old Donovan Brazier smashed the 34-year-old US indoor junior 800m record with 1:45.93. Speaking after the race, he said: "I've never run anything faster than 1:46indoors or outdoors. My coach (assistant coach Alleyne Francique) wanted me to go 1:47 in this meet, but he said 1:47 or better. I was happy with 1:45, obviously." He added: "I wasn't too nervous coming through in 51 at the 400 split since that is what we train for. I didn't think I was going to hang on that well. My last 800 was in Oregon, six months ago, so I was very eager to step on the track again for an 800." Reports 12thman.com.

Editor's note: One of the most fun aspects of the indoor season are the new stars and revelations that appear. Under the watchful eye of World Champ Alleyne Francique, Donovan Brazier has shown some serious fitness. Watch this guy during the indoor season! And you realize, Donovan is still a junior!

banner_candace_hill.jpgCandace Hill, artwork from ASICS Corporation

BIRMIMGHAM: Teen sprinting star Candace Hill opened her first pro year with 7.32 win at the 60 m during the Vulcan Invitational. Patricia Hall of Jamaica got 53.12 in the 400 m and good high jumping for Levern Spencer of St. Lucia and US record holder Chaunte Lowe, both 192. Men 60 m winner was Bahamian Warren Fraser in 6.62 ahead of Jamaican Odean Skeen 6.62, third Trell Kimmons 6.64, just behind him Olympic medalist Walter Dix 6.66 and sub 10 runner Kemar Hyman of Cayman Islands 6.66. Calvin Smith clocked 46.75 in the 400 m, World indoor champion Omo Osaghae 7.82 over the hurdles and Bilal Abdullah 798 in long jump, great PB for the decathlete.

Editor's note: Great news for ASICS. Candace Hill wins her first pro race the same weekend that Ryan Hill, a long term ASICS athlete, retires from elite racing.

ASICS showed some real class paying for Candace's education. I have seen that adidas did that with Ajee' Wilson and liked a long term approach. Candace and Ajee have the role model of Allyson Felix, who went pro at the then fragile age of 18, went to school and has had one of the most amazing careers in athletics memory, with much more to come.

Candace Hill may be one of those once in a generation athletes, like Allyson Felix. It will be fascinating to see how she progresses. With the love of her family, and the watchful eyes of her coaching team, management team and sponsor, she should fare well.

One suggestion, I believe all athletes should be very careful in the social media world. One day you are loved and the next day, for something trivial, one is castigated.

The management of social media is critical in modern athlete's arsenals. Some stay away, some blab, some manage it. Another one of those personal decisions which challenge the brightest of minds.

For more on Candace Hill, read this fun bio from ASICS America: http://www.asicsamerica.com/athletes/candace-hill

Coe_Sebastian1a-IAAFpc15.jpgSeb Coe, photo by PhotoRun.net

Coe promised to investigate
LONDON (GBR): IAAF president Sebastian Coe has promised to investigate claims in the bidding process for the 2017 World Championships in London. Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live's Sportsweek programme on Sunday, Ed Warner Chairman of UK Athletics revealed that his team had agreed to spend 7.2 million US dollars to cover prize money having been warned they were unlikely to succeed if they did not. When asked if he was aware of the claims, Coe said he was not, but said: "The French prosecutors are looking at this. I have already implemented a review of our financial, our marketing and our sponsorship arrangements within the IAAF, so if anything comes out of that nature, then clearly all those bids will be called in." Informs Press Association.

Editor's note: I find it quite fascinating that London 2017 is being questioned, and also Mr. Warner's comments. Am I having a senior moment, or did this not come out in the 2017 build up? UK Athletics, from this so-called revelation and the recent suggestions (wonderfully ill-timed) on how to upgrade the sport, including resetting all of the records, suggest a story few seem to be going after: that UK Athletics seems to be reacting, and not thinking about the long-haul.

Mr. Warner has done such non-sensical comments in the past. One wonders who is actually speaking for UK athletics. Truth is, without the Nike deal, they have very little sponsorship support. A far cry from when Fasttrack was representing them.

This tells some keen observers that perhaps, 2017, 2019 and 2021 will all be questioned in the next weeks and months. Mr. Pounds' suggestion for a forensic investigation last Thursday, suggests that WADA had some concerns. UK Athletics is reacting to something, perhaps a little voice in their ears.

Needless to say, they do not seem supportive of Lord Coe, to say the least.

One watches actions, not words.

This is the second report of the year for European Athletics results, compiled by Carles Baronet, from TrackinSun.com.

Vicaut_JimmyFHL-RomeDL15.jpgJimmy Vicaut, French NR, European Record holder 100m, photo by PhotoRun.net

I had to say that Vicaut impressed me in his 2015 season. The Paris DL was amazing, but his Championnats de Francaise Elites, where he won the 100 meters, took second in the 200m to Lemaitre, showed me that Vicaut could run through rounds and not get injured. It will fascinating to see how Jimmy Vicaut fares in 2016.

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