Recently in USATF Category


Several points should be made about the statement sent on 12/9 from the USATF Board regarding their decision to overturn the USATF floor vote. The USATF Board clearly owns their decisions. The USATF Board clearly supports Stephanie Hightower as the future representation for USATF at the IAAF. And the USATF Board will do what they see is in the best interest of USA Track & Field, no matter what the response. And that, dear readers, begins our lesson for today. 

 

And finally, they have a plan that they believe will elevate the status of USA Track & Field on the global stage. 

 

It is quite telling about how the Board will respond to future challenges and how they will exhibit power and protection for the federation that they are expected to steer into the cold and challenging waters of the future. 

 

 

The outcry by members and non-members of USA Track & Field has not withered the resolve of the Board of Directors over their decision to support Stephanie Hightower instead of incumbent Bob Hersh. 

 

In fact, their resolve has been strengthened. 

 

Consider this:  In the last 96 hours, the son of the IAAF President has been accused of improper conduct in regards to Doha 2017, and also allegedly accepting money to change a drug test result. The IOC allegedly wants to tighten the Olympic schedule in Rio. Rumor had it (we are trying to confirm) regarding the tightening of the Track schedule in Rio 2016 by cutting up to five track and field events. We are getting into some pretty muddy waters. The IOC has also just self funded a 24 hour Olympic-love TV station.

 

If you think the IOC's religion is sports, guess again, it is ratings and money. Money and ratings are the seats of power in the world of global sport. Many want to be seated at the table and the IOC sees this as a way to weaken the IAAF. Want an image? Just think of Nero, with an IOC pin, dancing around a burning pyre of athletic events and lessening athletic prestige. 

 

Primo Nebiolo was not a bastion of propriety. But, the guy knew how to play sports emperor, and his focus on getting athletics money and prestige scared the hell out of the IOC. The IAAF is having some issues right now, and in this time of self inquiry and discernment, the IOC sees it as a moment to pounce. Don't believe me, just google what Dick Pound, that wonderfully bombastic Canadian IOC member had to say on Wednesday about cutting events from the Rio schedule. Pound can not help but open his mouth when Olympic media are around. And he has the most wonderful and thoughtful comments on drugs in sports, and making the Olympics simpler: perfect sound bytes in this day and age of twenty-four hours of redundant and sub par media coverage. 

 

Oh, the good old days. When track & field knew its place... 

 

I believe that the Board sees that their absolute duty is to protect the interests, as they see them, of USA Track & Field. In the recent original statement from the board, it was made clear that, while they saw the vote on the floor of 392-70 as a mandate, they also saw that mandate as ill-advised. Steve Miller, a man well practiced in sports politics, from coaching to being an Athletic Director, to being the Director of Nike Sports Marketing, then, CEO of the Professional Bowlers Association, and now, in his current role of CEO of Agassi Graf Holdings (yes, Andre and Steffi) ... is vice chair of a board that has multinational-company executives and experienced track figures well versed in constituent politics. They range from Jackie Joyner-Kersee to a masters track athlete who happens to be an executive at Deutsche Bank, a senior VP at CBS news who was a former sports agent, an executive the National Federation of State High School Associations, a former Miami Heat and LPGA exec, and experienced representatives of USATF's various constituencies: the athletes, coaches, officials, Associations, LDR and competition divisions. (View board bios at http://www.usatf.org/About/Committees/Board-of-Directors.aspx ).

 

The Board of Directors of USA Track & Field are heavy weights. The Board sees and understands the IAAF in a way that the USATF public doesn't, simply because the average track fan or Annual Meeting attendee hasn't seen the inside of the IAAF. Nothing is taken lightly in the world of global sports politics, just as nothing is taken lightly when the board makes a decision that contradicts what their voters indicated as their preference.

 

I believe that the Board is willing to give up an IAAF Vice President's position if they can get USATF's strategic goals accomplished. If they can replace Bob Hersh, a man who held, per some, beliefs that put the good of the sport in front of the good of USA Track & Field, with Stephanie Hightower, who will, without a moment's hesitation, support projects that the Board sees as best for USA Track & Field, then the Board will do it. Truth is, the Board already has. Don't confuse power and popularity. The Board clearly feels that in the post-Diack world, Hightower will give USATF a more powerful voice at the IAAF table, even if that choice is not popular among USATF rank-and-file. 


My deepest concern is how the IAAF will view the vote to replace Bob Hersh, someone who has been well-respected in the global sports world, garnering more votes than Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka for IAAF Vice Presidents in the IAAF recent election. (But, that may be a discussion for another time and place). 

 

Want to challenge the board? Then, as the saying goes, "Man up." Get your A game out, because, the Board is playing for keeps. The Board sees USATF's international standing as something to fight for, in an  international sports landscape that can best be called partisan, or perhaps, problematic. Finally, anyone who thinks a few thousand tweets is some kind of social media campaign that will bring this group down, well, I do have a little house in Wisconsin that is worth more than the asking price! 

 

The real story here? USA Track & Field is having growing pains. It is caught between being a volunteer organization and a centralized federation. And the battle has just begun. 

 

If the huddled masses want to respond, then, do it with force, with pressure and with one voice. A bunch of whining voices will go nowhere and will be seen as a sign of weakness. 




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The powerpoint presented by Max Siegel, the CEO of USA Track & Field shows that the financial status of the federation has gone from okay to fantastic: $19 million to $35 million in revenues, with net assets increasing from $ 3 million to $17 million. 

The increase in spending in elite athlete support, coaching education, association support and member benefits is impressive and inspiring. Max Siegel has taken reign of the federation and is shaping it into a financially viable organization that can support events and athletes in ways we have not seen in the past. 

Much of this is due to 71.55 percent of the support coming from sponsor programs done under Max Siegel's watch. I applaud Max and his team for that. 

To see the snapshot of USATF from 2012-2014 in its entirety, please click on: https://www.usatf.org/usatf/files/1c/1ca109b3-08a2-4c92-94b8-ad9d1e8edb4a.pdf.

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Max Siegel, CEO of USA Track & Field

The pixelated photo above is CEO Max Siegel of USA Track & Field. On Tuesday night's opening session, December 2, 2014, Max had the job of telling the USATF constituency that USA has beacuoup bucks! Going from $19 million to $35 million in one year, cutting expenditures by $1 million and providing more money to the elite athletes that USATF is focused on developing ($11 million), shows tremendous growth under Mr. Siegel's tenure.

We asked Elliott Denman to provide his view of the Annual Meeting, and this is the first of three pieces (perhaps more) on the ramifications of the meeting . One final note on this column. Note that Max Siegel noted that there are many things to improve on. 

This column was written before the Friday night vote where USATF board voted 11-1, to make Stephanie Hightower the IAAF recommended candidate instead of Bob Hersh.





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Max Siegel

USATF ANNUAL MEETING

ANAHEIM (USA): USATF CEO Max Siegel and President/Chairman of the Board Stephanie Hightower welcomed constituents from across the country to the 2014 Annual Meeting with a message of change, progress and the pathway toward organizational and competitive excellence. 

During Tuesday evening's Opening Session, Hightower and Siegel offered welcoming remarks to the constituents in attendance, focusing on the theme of moving the organization forward together and supporting all those who represent USATF on every level. Siegel announced significant revenue increases, additional budget funding pending board approval and other substantive programmatic enhancements. 

In 2014 USATF revenue increase from $19 million to $35 million and also investment of an additional $9 million toward elite athlete programs between 2015-2020, $1 million decrease in USATF operating expenses and more than $11 million in elite athlete spending in 2014. President Stephanie Hightower presented six President's Awards to the following dedicated individuals: John Mansoor, Demetrio Cabanillas, Bryan Hoddle, Vin Lananna, and USATF Board members Willie Banks and Ken Ferguson. President Hightower welcomed William Shelton and long-time USATF youth committee Sam Germany to the USATF Board of Directors.

(Editor's note: USATF revenue growth is a clear indication of changes in leadership. Max Siegel's quiet leadership has added $17 million in revenue in 2014, a decrease of operating expenses by $1 million, and $11 million spent for elite athletes!)
The IAAF awarded the 2019 World Championships to Doha this afternoon, Monaco time at 2.30 pm (about an hour delayed). The delay kept up Vote Tracktown hopes , as they waited for the live announcement on IAAF You Tube.

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The first round of votes was Doha 12, Eugene 9, and Europe 6. In the voting system used, Barcelona was then eliminated.

In the second round, Doha took 15, and Eugene 12. 

Eugene did better than expected, but the experience that Doha has had in world championships bidding, and their support won out. 

RunBlogRun had put the votes, yesterday at Doha 14, Europe 7, Eugene, 4. Tracktown USA battled until the very end, gaining support from Japan and Korea early in the morning hours. 

Kudos to the Tracktown USA team, USA Track & Field and their supporters. And a special shout out to Vinn Lananna, who battled until the very end, like the fine track and field coach that he is. 

Lots of respect there. 

While I am saddened that USA does not have a World Champs in 2019, I believe it will happen soon. 

Vote Tracktown. 


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Start of 2013 RNR San Jose Half Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net


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Medals of the 2013 RNR San Jose Half Marathon, photo by PhotoRun.net


The RNR San Jose Half Marathon will be held in San Jose, CA on Sunday, October 5, 2014. Running through some of the most beautiful neighborhoods of San Jose, the course is also the fastest in half marathon in the state. 

Here is the list of elite men and women who will be competing on Sunday! RunBlogRun will be there to cover the event live. 
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This is the digital issue of the California Track & Field News, Fall 2014. Please feel free to pass around. We publish five digital issues a year and four of them also have print versions. California Track & Running News is published as a subscription for the four USATF Associations in California & Northern Nevada as a membership value. It is an official publication for the four member associations of USATF in Northern Nevada & California. 

California Track & Running News has been published since 1974. If you are interested in joining the USATF associations and or a print subscription of CTRN, please contact us at runblogrun@gmail.com. 
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Mutasz Barshim, photo by PhotoRun.net


Fascinating to me, that the high jump this year, has captured many fans. Barshim and Bondarenko compete against each other, all of the time, and in NYC, Birmingham, and now Brussels, it has been magic. 

This season, the distance races that have been the most exciting have been the 1,500 meter for men and 1,500/3000 meter for women. Great races, epic confrontations, and thrilling finishes, the races are building personalities for the sport. 

Too bad that, in most of North America, one can not see 12/14 DL live unless one has a cable connection. Not the way to build a fan base in the largest athletic market in the world. 

Check out the numbers on You Tube replays of meet and events, and know that fans in US will actually watch Track & Field, like they will across the globe, if they can see it. 

Understand needs to make revenue, but also long term growth, chances to reach non-footwear sponsors, the huge dollars, means millions and millions of track fans. 

ERNIE BULLARD MEMORIAL & RECEPTION

Ernie Bullard's celebration of life memorial service will be held promptly at noon on the USC campus in Town & Gown Center (665 Exposition Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0871: E-6 on linked campus map)on Saturday, September 13.  Reception will follow memorial service.

For information contact Larry Knuth


(Editor'note: Ernie Bullard helped keep track & field alive in the South Bay in the 70s and early 1980s, and it was not an easy task. Many have fond stories of Coach Bullard, feel free to send them to me at runblogrun@gmail.com. We will publish some of them in an upcoming issue of California Track & Running News. )

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David Rudisha, photo by PhotoRun.net

David Rudisha is running the 600 meters in the Birmingham. This is his first time racing the distance. " I want to out in high 46 point or low 47 point for the 400 meters."

Valerie Adams is going for her 55th straight win in the shot put. When asked what other event she would like to do. Jokingly, she noted, " the marathon." Actually, Valerie Adams and her sister played basketball as juniors.

Lots of great matchups in only a few hours!  


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