Friday, May 22, 2009

Hot link of the day...

Here's a quick link to an open letter that Universal Sports' Alan Abrahamson wrote to USA Track & Field CEO Doug Logan, and an even quicker response from Logan himself.

Abrahamson, who is one of the country's most respected Olympic sports writers, points out the flaws behind last week's adidas Track Classic in Carson as an example of why USATF needs to take over ownership of track and field at the professional level.

He writes, "First and foremost is this: USATF needs to own the sport of track and field in this country. Right now, it does not. Who does? Shoe companies? Agents? Coaches? Promoters? It’s not clear. But what is clear is this: If your federation is going to work with people who put on meets under the USATF aegis, the responsibility is then on you to insure the meet is up to acceptable standards. If it doesn’t go well, what entity is most vulnerable to looking bad? Yours. Who has ultimate authority and responsibility? You."

"To continue the thought: Do you see the NFL ceding that authority – granting individual promoters the right to put on its games? The NBA? Major League Baseball? Hardly. So that’s the case in track and field because – why, exactly?"

As a friend of mine from California who covers the sport on a regular basis at the national and international level continues to harp on various message boards, including letsrun.com, for pro track and field to be more relevant to the general sports fan, it must be relevant in America's biggest cities, including Los Angeles, the entertainment capital of the world.

Abrahamson, who called the meet, "seriously not good" continues with his analysis of last week's adidas meet in Carson by writing, "But no one would make any sort of entertainment connection at the Carson meet – even though it’s but a 20-minute straight shot down the Harbor Freeway from the Staples Center, and that whole Lakers scene. You’re a former concert promoter. Jack Nicholson would look good in the front row watching Allyson Felix, wouldn’t he?"

While attendance at this year's meet was slightly better, there were far too many empty seats at the Home Depot Center in Carson. For a meet of this caliber, having 4500 butts in the seats is just plain embarrasing. There has been talk that this meet will be moved in 2010 to another venue outside LA, most likely Sacramento.

Logan admitted in an interview with Abrahamson Thursday before the announcement of Benita Fitzgerald Mosley that, “It was not our finest hour as a sport. We will get better. Many of the issues you’ve addressed are right on point. Needless to say, I have a healthy respect for the track fans and for the following that our sport has in the Los Angeles area that were not well served over the weekend.

“We’re in the process of trying to pull apart the things we can do on a go-forward basis. We did not cover ourselves with glory this past weekend.”

To read Abrahamson's open letter, click here.

To read Doug Logan's response, click here.

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