Des Moines Diary: No Christian Coleman, No Allyson Felix, No Justin Gatlin, No Delilah Muhammed, No Brittney Reese


IMG_9217.jpgJustin Gatlin, London 2017, photo by Mike Deering, for The Shoe Addicts

IMG_0366.jpgChristian Coleman, London 2017, photo by Mike Deering for The Shoe Addicts

Look, I love USATF Outdoors, and USATF Indoors. But, big revelation, I am a) track geek, b) make my living telling you, our dear and communicative readers, about the championships, our athletes, our coaches and the behind the scenes geek stuff you love. I realize that this is an off year. 2018 is a year that is needed, as, after Beijing 2015, Rio 2016, London 2017, athletes need a break. For those in Commonwealth Games countries and European athletics, they have a championship once again (as they did in 2014, 2016).

IMG_3838.jpgAllyson Felix, Sacramento 2017, photo by Mike Deering, for The Shoe Addicts

In a fine piece in Reuters, edited by Gene Cherry, long time key observer of our sport, the media group reported that Christian Coleman and Justin Gatlin would not be at Des Moines. Then, it was updated that Brittney Reese had ended her season after a meet in Poland and would not compete any more in 2018. Delilah Mohammed, the Rio Olympic champion, also noted she would not be in Des Moines, and then, Allyson Felix's brother Wesley, her manager, let it out that Allyson would not compete.


Dalilah Muhammed, Oslo 2018, photo by PhotoRun


Brittney Reese, London WC 2017, photo by PhotoRun

This is an off year for American athletes. Many need a break before the 2019 (Doha), 2020 (Tokyo) and 2021 (Eugene) happen, and this is it. An average elite career is a mere three years, and the longer careers are those who manage their training, racing and recovery. Athletes who have been around for many years, such as Justin Gatlin, Allyson Felix and Brittney Reese are competing and thriving due to their careful management of their careers. Christian Coleman put himself through a tough indoor season, and hurt his hamstring. Christian was in obvious pain in Rome, where he battled a surging Ronnie Baker. Christian needs a break and it is good that his coach, manager and the athlete get it. We want Christian around for the long term.

And then, it gets complicated. To compete in the fledgling World Cup, to be held in London on July 14-15, athletes from US have to compete in the US champs. We get it, as the federations are responsbile for getting athletes to the World Cup, and USATF really has little to to push athletes to hot and humid Des Moines in an off year. This writer asks, out loud, why can't USATF think out side the box, so to speak and make sure that the biggest draws are at London whether they are in Des Moines or not?

I think that is called flexibility, and perhaps, that is not an option for USATF. RunBlogRun sees that lack of flexibility as most unfortunate. Our sport is at a cross roads. We need to juggle the sport as high performance but also high entertainement. I believe that we need to focus on the essentials of the sport, and competition, and rivalries are key to that success.

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