Saturday, December 5, 2009

Major development in the national track & field media...

The national track & field scene may be missing a familiar face in the months to come, as reports that USA Today track & field writer Dick Patrick was let go by the newspaper on December 1st.

Patrick, a past president of the Track & Field Writers of America, emailed, stating that he "loved covering the sport the past 34 years and hope(s) to be able to continue (doing so) in the future. (I) love your website and appreciate the play you gave some of my stories. (Unfortunately), it may be a while before you post any more."

From a personal perspective, I found it rather curious that Patrick, a regular at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships, was not in attendance in Berlin.

Then again, the number of Americans covering the world championships was down, as is normally the case in a post-Olympic year.

With his departure from the newspaper, the number of writers at major newspapers in the USA that focus on track and field are now few and far between, as the papers are using sources like Associated Press and Reuters to cover the big national and international events.

Most of the writers from the major papers that currently cover track and field at the highest levels are primarily Olympic sports beat writers, such as Phil Hersh of the Chicago Tribune/LA Times, Amy Shipley of the Washington Post, Liz Robbins, Christopher Clarey & Juliet Macur of the New York Times. There are also others, such as the San Francisco Chronicle's John Crumpacker, who come from other sports beats to cover track (he had the coveted San Francisco 49ers beat)

In an unrelated development, long-time television track & field statistician Walt Murphy informs that long-time New York Times track & field writer Frank Litzky last month went in for elective knee replacement surgery, and ended up having a quadruple heart bypass surgery instead.

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