Recently in USATF Category
Mary Cain, 2014 USA Indoor, photo by PhotoRun.net
In a release that surprised some with its length, Nike, Inc. has made it quite clear that they value USA Track & Field, the best track and field team in the world, as a key investment in their sports marketing future. Today, April 16, USA Track & Field announced an extension of twenty-three years, from 2017 to 2040, with Nike as the official footwear and apparel of the federation.
Rumors had been circling that USATF CEO Max Siegel was working on a huge sponsorship deal, and if this does not qualify as such, then, nothing does.
In the past, adidas's sponsorship package with the Boston Marathon, which was fifteen to seventeen years, has been seen as a long sponsorship. Keen observers of the sport noted, with some consternation, the longevity of the sponsorship.
Our research suggests that NIKE wanted to make it ball park frank that they are committed to the sport for a very long time. That Mark Parker, CEO of Nike, is quoted in the release, is a huge example of how much value that NIKE places in the sponsorship.
We will ask USATF for some details on the sponsorship, as USATF hinted at extended support for various disciplines underneath the USATF umbrella. No matter where you stand, it is a spectacular sponsorship package.
The Stanford Invitational, for those of us who have spent time in Northern California, is a rite of early spring. Many teams from the frigid Midwest come out for a first meet in the nice weather of California, and also get some now snow covered training in.
Some fine performances for early season. The big Invite is the Payton Jordan Invitational, on May 4, the meet for distance geeks. This year, Molly Huddle, we hear, will be racing over 10,000 meters, as will some serious male athletes in the always fantastic Kim McDonald 10,000 meters. RunBlogRun will hope to see you there!
Special thanks to David Kiefer, of Stanford Sports Information, who provides us with great releases and results all year long. He is a welcome SID staffer who gets track and field.
Sally KIpyego, Shalane Flanagan, Payton Jordan Invite, 2011,
photo by PhotoRun.net
A cloudless night at Stanford, May 2010, photo by PhotoRun.net
Because I can't sleep in Paris, you get more results pieces from around the globe. Nice opening at Stanford Invitational for some. Robert Cheserek surprised me. I thought he was a 28 minute 10k guy in his sleep. But, hopefully, Robert took some time off after indoor and is preparing for the big stuff.
Adam Nelson, President of the TFAA, announced that Nike has come out in support of Athletes Rights, in a story by Ken Goe of OregonLive.com on Friday, April 4. In the story, Nike issued the following release:
"Nike spoke with the TFAA and stated that we respect athlete's rights to affiliate and align as they choose. Nike was a company founded in running and we have a rich history of supporting all our athletes. We are extremely proud to support athletes around the world, enabling them to pursue their goals and perform at the highest levels."
(Editor's notes: The heightened concern and frustrations resulted from the lack of response by USA Track & Field to questions by TFAA resulting from Andrew Bumbalough's DQ in Albuquerque, which was not resolved, as had the Gabe Grunewald DQ.
USATF issued a statement post-TFAA statement, notely, quite bizarely, that and I quote, "athletes already have a voice in USATF".
This has become a PR nightmare for USATF. The arrogance showed, in ignoring TFAA's request for resolution in Mr. Bumbalough's case, the inability to explain the Bumbalough DQ, and the inability to reschedule the TFAA/USATF discussion of that situation, shows that, at the very least, USATF has little idea how it is perceived in the sport and most importantly, may not even care. So much for an organization that has been stressing transparency of its operations. This Albuquerque crisis is now an official train wreck. It could have been handled in an hour conversation and a press release, now, bitter feelings, distrust and frustration have simmered for over a month.
If the Andrew Bumbalough situation had been handled by Max Siegel in a similar manner to how he used his position and statesmanship to sooth the frustrated and work out the situation with Gabe Grunewald, much of this crisis would have been avoided.
Kudos to Nike for reaching out to Adam Nelson and reminding fans that Nike started built around the needs of athletes. Hopefully, USATF will see the light. )
Ken Goe's complete column may be read at:
Jordan Hasay, Gabe Grunewald, Carlsbad 5000m, photo by PhotoRun.net
The Wall Street Journal's Sara Germano did a thoughtful piece on the recent TFAA request for support from athlete sponsors regarding their possible actions in response to what TFAA sees is the lack of genuine interest from USA Track & Field to respond to, among other things, the disqualification of Andy Bumbalough.
The Albuquerque weekend, where Gabe Grunewald was DQed, then reinstated, after a huge swell of support, and Jordan Hasay, showing her class, gave up her place for Sopot and the World Champs, so that Gabe could race. Max Siegel's resolution of the matter showed that the USATF CEO could rise to the occasion, and sooth ruffled feathers and, if the need be.
The resolution was bittersweet. No feel good resolution happened for Andy Bumbalough who was DQed in the men's 3,000 meters. The DQ, which, upon observation of the event video, seems to have been done in error, has not been resolved. The race was rough, that is true, but go to a race in Europe, any weekend of the year, and you will see much worse.
TFAA demanded a response. Bumbalough's agent demanded a response. USATF responded that they were studying the situation, after canceling a conference call between TFAA and USATF. Then, President Stephanie Hightower responded that there was a need to study the situation and see how to change protocols so that the ABQ fiasco would not happen again.
TFAA took that, as a snub. I think it might have been a bit imperious, but not sure if it was a snub. It was not, playing well with others, as Sister Edward Mary, my first grade teacher would have noted.
With that seeming lack of response, TFAA has become incensed and wrote a letter asking sponsors to support an organized action against USA Track & Field.
Andrew Bumbalough, 2014 USA Indoor, photo by PhotoRun.net
Providing an East Coast opportunity for high performance development, much like the Oxy Performance meeting in the West Coast, the 2014 Adrian Martinez Classic is being announced today, for June 5, 2014, to give middle distance runners from 800 meters, the Mile and 5,000 meters a chance to run some fast races with strong fields.
The meet is sponsored by the USA Milers Club, in association with HOKA ONE ONE. For complete information on this fine addition to our early summer schedule, please read the release below:
Bernard Lagat, 39, recently won the silver medal for the 3000 meters indoors in Sopot, Poland. This coming weekend, Bernard Lagat will try and break the nearly eighteen year old AR at 5000m on the roads, 13:24, set by Marc Davis! The following story was written by Chris Lotsbom for Race Results Weekly.
Bernard Lagat, and his fan club, February 2014, photo by PhotoRun.net