Let’s get this straight.
I have been an admirer of Stephanie Hightower for many years. Stephanie Hightower does have the skill set to represent the US well in global sports. But, all of that takes time and relationships. The global sports arena is a field land mines each and every day. How will she deal with Seb Coe? How will she deal with other members of the IAAF?
Truth is, some in the IAAF has been confused with USATF actions as much as many of USATF members have been confused. The 15-12 vote in Monaco in the 2019 vote showed that the USA could battle hard in such international votes, giving them a bit more respect.
Just being from USA is a hindrance due to jealousy and lack of understanding, by many in the global sports world, of the promise of our country, as they see just the arrogance.
I am not sure that the USATF board, in seeking new leadership in IAAF, could have done anything different. However, the board is getting payback for its lack of communications, and its continued arrogance in keeping information from the membership of USA Track & Field. Whether this is the best decision or the worst decision, I can not say. What I can say is that USATF leadership is not communicating with the members, the media or the sport.
Yet, I am disappointed that the major response, and mine as well, is that Bob Hersh is being shown a lack of respect for all of his time and years in leadership. I think, however, that being said, Steve Miller, a board member, was quoted as saying that USATF needs new leadership in the IAAF world as it is becoming a new world in the IAAF in 2015.
Bob Hersh is 75 years old and has lead the voice for USATF for years. Hersh has spoken for US for sixteen years. He is highly respected and is a fine lawyer and supporter of the sport as well. He understands the fine lines that must be deal with in global sports. On Track & Field News chat board today, the vote by the board, after the floor vote of 327-70 in favor of Hersh, was a “slap in the face.”
Hersh has been considered pompous by some. Others find him a quick read and quick responder-something unheard of in global sports circles. But, as Bob Hersh has his supporters, he also has his detractors. Many of those detractors have influence and some have voting power in USATF.
USATF Board is giving the message that they can not and will not wait four more years for Bob Hersh to retire. They want new leadership now. The board supports Max Siegel and Stephanie Hightower. Their agenda is to elevate USA Track & Field, and quite frankly, they do not seem to believe any good ideas come from outside of their board or small circle of confidants.
That is their prerogative.
USATF’s board has proven that it will do whatever it takes to support what they see as USATF’s interest in the global sport.
And their constituency should take note of that focus.