Great coverage of the Worlds by TSX, and your comments were spot on.
My observations (based solely on TV coverage, so filtered by that medium)…
1. The lack of spectatorship during the first week had to be disheartening for those athletes, who deserved much better support. However, the energy and enthusiasm of the locals during the final weekend almost compensated for the lack of same in the prior week.
2. Possibly the most positive aspect of the crowd, was the very visible and vocal support of the people from the African nations, particularly Kenya and Ethiopia. Running the worlds in a country that is proximate certainly helped, and it was my observation that athletes from these nations responded in kind. Well deserved and appreciated at last.
3. For the first time in a very long time, there was actually coverage in the Los Angeles Times sports section (although not on page 1), and deserving of a headline of it’s own (not just in “other sports”). Heck, they even included summaries. Could T&F be making a nascent comeback?
4. Incredible performances by our young athletes. Sydney McLaughlin, Rai Benjamin, Noah Lyles, Grant Holloway: Individuals with talent, intelligence and personal appeal. Certainly an attraction that could extend beyond the pale of dyed-in-the-wool track fans (a dying if not dead breed).
They, along with vets such as Allyson Felix understand their responsibilities as representatives of a sport that is hungry for recognition. Perhaps the beginning of a new wave?
5. Given the high numbers of participants in both T&F and XC on the high school and youth levels, wouldn’t it be imperative that the leadership of USATF and the IAAF took advantage of this attractiveness of these performers, and utilized them to their advantage? I’ve always been perplexed by the fact that, just when the former “amateur” athletes of the Olympic sports were able to make money (legally, that is), that spectatorship support declined for the many reasons that I’ve ranted about in the past. Isn’t it time for the revival of professional clubs, with identifiable uniforms and name recognition to add to the individual efforts of these young stars?
I’m running into oxygen debt now, so I’ll have to stop and catch my breath…
I’ll get back to you later.
~ Ron Brumel (Los Angeles, California)
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