So, I asked Jeff Benjamin, our senior writer, East Coast, to write down his top ten deep thoughts on the World Champs. He gave us twelve, so here you go! See you in Eugene, Jeff!
Jeff Benjamin’s 12 Topic Countdown To Success In Oregon!
Plane Tickets Ready?
3 AM Cab pickup confirmed?
C’mon now, Eugene – Let’s make this trip worth it!
Then again, having been with the Sport past 4 decades now, I know it will be worth it, at least for me and the rest of the converted brethren.
But then again
– YOU ALREADY HAVE US!!!!
And for those encountering the World Championships and the Sport for the first time on such a huge scope, whether in the stands of the new Hayward Field or via TV, the question being raised is –
Will it be worth it to them, and when it’s over, will you have them too?
Because that’s the goal!
I’m not talking about the diehard,
loyal-to-the-end Running, Jumping & Throwing geeks out there (like me!), but the initiated American Sports fan, who hopefully will be spectating live or via airwaves while possibly chilling around the house or tending to a barbecue during the next 2 weeks.
That, after all, is what everyone associated with the Sport, from Seb Coe right on down the line to the youngest fan, hopes to see happen as we March on to Los Angeles in 2028.
What I’m hoping to see, and it’s not too far-fetched, are the following 12 storylines & issues, which hopefully will be absorbed, appreciated and followed by both the Veteran and Beginner, as the first ever World Championships in the USA will hope to inspire many more out there to know and become part of the most inclusive Sport on the Planet!
Topic # 12
Will there be enough TrackTown Pizza & Pancakes?
Asking for a friend.
Topic # 11
How loaded is the Men’s 800?
At last month’s Paris Diamond League Men’s 800, Brit Elliot Giles ran a time of 1:45.94 To finish 9th! Don’t just feel bad for Giles, as Swede Andreas Kramer ran a 1:44.75 and finished 7th! All these high end quality performances were led by Frenchmen Robert Benjamin (1:43.75) WITH NOT ONE SINGLE AMERICAN RACING!
Nor were there any Kenyans! Which begs the question –
How fast can they go? Can we see a tactical 1980 Moscow Olympic affair or a 2012 Rudisha London explosion?!?
Buckle Up & Stay tuned!
Topic # 10
Our great Steeple legends on the comeback to the pinnacle!
The last few years have not been kind to both Evan Jager and Emma Coburn. After massive success at the Rio Olympics, Jager and Coburn continued to dominate, especially Coburn, who win Gold in the 2017 WC. Then, fighting through injuries and lackluster performances, the 2 Olympic medalists, showed that they were right back in the game, performing solidly a few weeks ago to make the Team. Can they make it onto the podium again?
Topic # 9
Taking on the legendary mantles of Carl Lewis, Michael Johnson, Gail Devers, etc.
Will there be legendary performances on par with these above-mentioned Greats by Team USA? One would think a “Perfect Storm” for this is brewing into Eugene!
Topic # 8
Stuff for the spectators!
“Give the public what they want.” Aside from the performances, will the great business partners, led by Sponsor ASICS, provide fans attending with some unforgettable experiences and products?
Topic # 7
The mysterious Sifan Hassan!
Hassan has not raced very much yet could that all be part of the plan?
Topic # 6
Galen Rupp’s Challenge!
In his home state (and some would say his “almost hometown!) can the 36 years young Rupp deliver in front of his local brethren in the most unpredictable event of all?
Topic # 5
After competing spectacularly in June, Devon Allen battled through his dad’s untimely death to make the 110 HH team and earn the 3rd spot. Can the future Philadelphia Eagle rise to the challenge and get back to his form to net the Gold?
Topic # 4
How loaded are the 400 Hurdles?
An equation –
Sydney + Delilah + Femke
Warholm + Benjamin + Dos Santos = ???
Topic # 3
She has competed in front for many years, and now she’s recently been competing from behind, storming along to great times and victories in the 800 – Are the gears there for an ultimate peak performance by Wilson? It will not be easy with Athing Mu and everyone else coming along for the 2-lap trip.
Topic # 2
The Return (maybe?) Of Wade Van Neikirk!
Is Van Neikirk back to legendary 2016 status? Or is it time for someone to rise to come along and claim the 400 thrones with a new spectacular time?
Topic # 1
NBC – History, recognition, and the “Conversion” of the novice American fan!
NBC has a huge influence in how this is all going to turn out! IMHO their announcers are all ready, knowledgeable, passionate, and always do their homework in prepping for their event broadcasts. But those above them sometimes have to give them something to work with.
History must accompany these broadcasts, notably if American legends Carl Lewis, Gail Devers, Michael Johnson, Billy Mills, and Dave Wottle (Who, along with many others, will be in attendance!) are mentioned and perhaps portrayed with old-time video. That would show respect and inclusiveness of our great Athletics past!
Yet the greatest challenge for new fans is understanding the world of Meters. This concept, begun mostly in the 1970s, has not resonated here in the “Feet & Inches“ USA.
How can NBC accomplish this?
Perhaps when metric results come up on the TV screen, notably in the field events, a conversion from meters to feet & inches is included. Ryan Crouser’s Shot Put WR of 23.37 meters means nothing to most American viewers UNLESS it’s accompanied with 76 Feet, 8 1/4 inches – a distance fans here can be in awe of!
Even on the track – maybe 5K & 10K should be mentioned more and when leaders pass the 4K mark, maybe show that 4K is around 2 1/2 miles, a distance almost every High School XC runner is familiar with and can relate too.
In conclusion, it’s all about resonating, and the tools are there in place and rest to go!