Saturday, December 31, 2011

And now...the 2011 edition of the Mercanator Awards!

Well, we made it through another twelve months here at the mighty, as you--the readers of this blog--have contributed to another banner year by getting the word out about this little corner of the world wide web and by consuming the content.

As publisher, editor, and designated gofer for the blog, I must give thanks to social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for helping expand the readership. Those of you who are friends/followers on those three outlets are receiving notices every time a new post comes up.

I must also give a special tip of the hat to Martin Rudow, the publisher of Northwest Runner magazine, as he has done a lot through the magazine and to help expand our readership.

Track & Field News, and various blogs too numerous to name (but you know who you are) also get thanks for linking stories we posted this year.

I also want to give a special shout out to the readers and contributors to the blog who gave us news tips and produced photos and content during the year.  Your contributions are very valuable to this site, and I thank you.

In 2011, ventured to several places around the country and around the world to give you what I feel is the best coverage of Washingtonians competing at the highest levels of the sport.

The major events covered this year included the entire indoor and outdoor home meets at the University of Washington; the USA cross country championships in San Diego; the Harry Jerome indoor meet in Richmond, British Columbia; the IAAF world cross country championships in Punta Umbria, Spain; the final Pac-10 track & field championships in Tuscon; the Nike Prefontaine Classic and USA Outdoor Championships in Eugene; the IAAF World Championships in Athletics in Daegu, Korea; the ING New York City Marathon; the NCAA West Regional cross country championships in Palo Alto; the Nike Border Clash in Beaverton; and, The Bowerman Trophy presentation in San Antonio, Texas.

As we did to end 2010, we'll end 2011 with the presentation of the "Mercanator" awards in recognition of some of the performances and performers that we covered this year.

To some of the athletes receiving this award, winning a “Mercanator” award may not necessarily get you an extra bonus from your shoe company contract, but you will get the recognition from the readers of the mighty blogspot for a job well done this season, and a “BOOM! SHAKA-LAKA!” from yours truly.

For those of you who don’t get an award or feel you’ve been jobbed out of a “Mercanator”—there’s 2011!

Enjoy, and thank you to all the readers for your support of this site!

Here are the disclaimers: Mercanator awards are generally limited to athletes who have affiliations with the state of Washington—either they were born in this state, currently reside in the state, or attend(ed) school in the state. Also, not all categories from previous editions were awarded this year…publisher's decision.

Media relations award--Blogs like this don't exist without the help of folks in the media relations business. This year's award goes to the usual suspects--Mike Bruscas (University of Washington); Linda Chalich (Washington State University); Greg Walker (University of Oregon); Megan Saalfeld/Heidi Burgett/Morgan Shaw (Nike), along with a couple of newbies--Caitlin Albaugh (adidas); Tom Lewis (USTFCCCA); Richard Finn (ING NYC Marathon); and Dani Quintero Rodriguez (Punta Umbria LOC/IAAF WXC).

TOP PERFORMER--Men's Sprints: Glad to finally give a sprints award, which in its previous two incarnations, was combined with the hurdles. Michael Berry (left/photo by Paul Merca) gets the award, as the Rainier Beach HS grad was the Pac-10 400 meter champion ran 44.91 to break the 51-year-old University of Oregon school record set by Olympian Otis Davis. Was third in the 400 at the NCAA Championships and fifth at the USA Championships. Captured a IAAF World gold medal as a member of Team USA's 4x400 meter relay squad, running the fastest split in the semifinals.

A honorable mention in the sprints goes to Washington's James Alaka, as the Flash Man won both the 100 and 200 at the Pac-10s, and the European U23 title in the 100.

TOP PERFORMER--Men's Distances: Bernard Lagat. Who knows whether the Washington State alum might have caught Great Britain's Mo Farah after getting boxed and bumped around on the final lap of an exciting men's 5000 meters at the world championships in Daegu, where he finished second. Nonetheless, Kip had an outstanding season, winning the US title in the 5000, lowering the American record in the 5000 to 12:53.60, and finally winning the Fifth Avenue Mile title.

TOP PERFORMER--Men's Throws: Märt Israel (left/photo by Paul Merca). The former Husky from Estonia was an unexpected fourth place finisher in the discus in Daegu, throwing 213-11 (66.08m) in the penultimate round at the world championships. Israel also won the discus title at the World University Games in Shenzhen, China.

TOP PERFORMER--Men's Hurdles: Jeshua Anderson. The Washington State senior only lost once in the 400 hurdles against collegiate competition at the Texas Relays. Anderson was money everywhere else in the collegiate season, winning his fourth straight Pac-10 400H title, his third NCAA championship, and a USA title with a dive across the line in his pro debut, earning a spot at the world championships. Anderson was a finalist for The Bowerman Award for the top collegiate track & field athlete of 2011, and won the World University Games 400H title.

TOP PERFORMER--Men's Vertical Jumps: Scott Roth. The Husky senior won both the NCAA indoor and outdoor titles in the pole vault. He set a season best of 18-1 (5.51m) during the indoor season and an overall personal best of 18-9¼ (5.72m) to take the victory at the Mt. SAC Relays. At the end of the collegiate season, Roth's season’s best mark ranked among the world’s top five.

TOP PERFORMER--Women's Distances: Ingvill Måkestad, 1500 meters. The former Husky from Norway finished sixth at the world championships, running 4:06.85, achieving her goal of placing in the top six at worlds.

An honorable mention goes to the University of Washington's Katie Flood, who won the Pac-12 cross country title, and placed in the top 10 at the NCAA championships.

TOP PERFORMER--Women's Vertical Jumps: Ebba Jungmark (left/photo by Paul Merca), high jump. The former Washington State jumper from Sweden, who won an NCAA indoor title in her one season on the Palouse in 1988, competed at the world championships in Daegu, and also set an outdoor personal best of 6-4 1/4 (1.94m) in Zagreb, Croatia in September, and an indoor PR of 6-5 (1.96m) at the European Championships in Paris.

TOP PERFORMER--Women's Throws: Aretha Thurmond, discus. Although the former Husky might not admit that her 2011 season was one of her best, she was a model of consistency, finishing second at USAs, second at Lausanne, second at Birmingham, and garnering third place finishes in Birmingham and the adidas GP in New York. She also got second at the Pan-Ams in Guadalajara, Mexico to end 2011.

After all of that, the nod for my Washington state track & field athlete of the year goes to Jeshua Anderson!

With 2012 an Olympic year, the competition for the Mercanator awards will be even more intense, as there will be athletes coming out of the woodwork to vie for those coveted Olympic team spots! You'll have to return to this very blog at the end of December to see who gets these awards!

Before I end this post, I'd like to give a shout out to both Jessica Pixler, and Katie Follett, who were involved in the 2010 race of the year in the 1500m at Mt. SAC, as they both got married within the last few days--Jessica to Matt Tebo, who ran for Colorado, and whom I had the pleasure of traveling with in 2007 to the world cross country championships in Mombasa, Kenya; and Katie to former Colorado State distance runner Danny Mackey…congratulations to all (disclaimer--Katie gets married a few hours after this posting)!

PS--There are only two weeks until we get things rolling indoors at the Husky Preview meet!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas greetings, all!

Happy holidays from all of us at!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Olympic 400m legend and former Washington Husky coach Lee Evans has brain tumor & no insurance...

While reading my usual news sources on Christmas Eve, I came upon a very distressing report that a former University of Washington assistant track coach, and one of the greatest athletes to don the USA jersey in Olympic competition, Lee Evans (center/photo courtesy US Olympic Committee), was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor, and no health insurance.

Evans, who won the Olympic 400 meter title in the 1968 Mexico City Games, was visiting his sister in the San Francisco area when the tumor on his pituitary gland was discovered, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

According to a post written by Dave Zirin, who co-authored "The John Carlos Story", the prognosis for the 63-year old Evans isn't good. Carlos recently sent out an email to his fellow Olympians stating, “All of our teammates want to go out and say some prayers. All there is left to do is pray.”

On October 18,1968, Evans was the first man to break the 44 second barrier, running 43.86 in Mexico City to win the Olympic title within an hour of Bob Beamon's titanic leap of 29-2 1/2 (8.90m).

UPDATE:  For those of you too young to remember Evans, here is video of his epic race in Mexico City:

Beyond his two Olympic medals, Evans was one of the catalysts along with Tommie Smith and Carlos of the Olympic Project for Human Rights, a group that brought to the forefront the protest against racism and oppression both at home and abroad, punctuated by the raised-fist salute by Smith and Carlos on the victory podium after their 1-3 finish in the 200m.

Evans wore a black beret on the medal stand after winning the Olympic title, in a nod to the Black Panthers.

He was recently working for the United Nations after resigning from the University of South Alabama in 2008 as its track and cross country coach, and trying to build a school on 13 acres of land he purchased in Liberia.

En route to California, Evans was in Kentucky to visit his Olympic teammate Tom Lough, who helped introduce him to local farmers, as Evans planned to start a farm on his land in Liberia in addition to the school

Evans coached at the University of Washington from 2000-2001, and played a part in the development of sprinter Ja'Warren Hooker, who was a finalist at the US Olympic Trials in 2000 in the 400, and traveled to Sydney where he was a member of the USA 4 x 400 relay pool at that year's Olympics.

Evans is a member of the USA Track & Field Hall of Fame, and was inducted in 1983.

An account and donation page are being set up for Lee Evans but until then, checks can be sent to Lee Evans, 49096 Valeria St; Dos Palos, California 93620.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Porter, Knight, Weitz & Gardner on Team USA squad for BUPA Challenge in Edinburgh...

INDIANAPOLIS--Four athletes with ties to the state of Washington will represent the USA on January 7th at the second annual BUPA Great Edinburgh Cross Country International Challenge meet.

Teams from the United States, Great Britain and Northern Ireland and a select European team will compete in men’s and women’s junior and senior races. Each country competing in the International Team Challenge will consist of nine athletes per team (six on the junior teams) with the first six athletes per team scoring. In cross country, the team with the lowest overall score wins.

NCAA Division II 10000 meter champ Sarah Porter, who recently completed her eligibility at Western Washington University and made her pro debut at the ING New York City Marathon, will be on the senior women's squad.

Three runners from Spokane will be on the USA junior squad, including Katie Knight (left/photo by Paul Merca), Nathan Weitz, and Andrew Gardner. Weitz recently finished 3rd at the Foot Locker Championships while Gardner took 6th.

Knight won the Nike Border Clash in Beaverton last month, and was third at the Nike Cross Nationals at Portland Meadows earlier this month.

Brie Felnagle and Katie Follett, who finished 1-3 at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships at Seattle's Jefferson Park, declined their spots on the team.

The USA Track & Field release is available here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jessica Beard & Ngoni Makusha win The Bowerman...

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Texas A&M’s Jessica Beard and Florida State’s Ngoni Makusha were named winners of The Bowerman on Wednesday night. The Bowerman is bestowed to year’s best collegiate track & field athletes.

Beard won NCAA crowns both indoors and out in the 400 meters and 4×400 relay in 2011. Makusha joined Carl Lewis and Jesse Owens in winning the 100 meter-long jump double at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in June.

Beard (Euclid, Ohio) became the just the third female in NCAA Division I history, and first since 1999, to win both 400 national titles in the same year and run on both winning 4×400 relays at the NCAA Indoor and NCAA Outdoor Championships. Beard, a four-time Big 12 indoor 400-meter champ, recorded the world’s fastest time over the 400-meter distance indoors with a 50.79 clocking to win the national crown. Outdoors, Beard clocked 51.10 for the NCAA win and split 49.13 for the Aggies as anchor of the NCAA-winning 4×400 relay.

Makusha (Seke, Zimbabwe) won NCAA outdoor titles in the 100 meters and long jump, joining Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens, and Michigan’s DeHart Hubbard as only the fourth man in NCAA Division I history to claim such a double at a single championship. Makusha also claimed the NCAA long jump title during the indoor season, becoming the first since 2006 to sweep the event’s two titles (Arturs Abolins, Nebraska). The Seminole notched a third NCAA outdoor championship title as second-leg of 4×100-meter relay.

Washington State's Jeshua Anderson (above. with WSU coaches Debra Farwell & Mark Macdonald /photo by Paul Merca), the three time NCAA champion in the 400 hurdles, was one of the three men's finalists for this award along with Florida's Christian Taylor, which is track & field's equivalent of football's Heisman Trophy.

Longtime Seattle Pacific coach Ken Foreman was also inducted into the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame at tonight's presentation.

Here is Anderson's conversation with emcee Lewis Johnson of NBC/Universal Sports.

NOTE: The USTFCCCA contributed to this report.

Behind the scenes at The Bowerman...

SAN ANTONIO, Texas--A few hours before the start of the Bowerman awards ceremony at the JW Marriott Hill Country, I had a chance to catch up with Washington State 400 meter hurdler Jeshua Anderson and Cougar assistant coach Mark Macdonald (left/photo by Paul Merca) as Anderson went through a workout on a hill outside the hotel resort.

Anderson ran 6 x 120m uphill (guestimate) , averaging around 18-19 seconds per run.

Here is Anderson's last two runs up the hill on a cloudy day after the rains earlier in the morning stopped.

The Bowerman awards ceremony will be webcast by Flotrack beginning at 4 pm, pacific time on Wednesday.

Here's who I picked for The Bowerman, and why...

SAN ANTONIO--It is an honor to make the trip from Seattle to San Antonio to attend the presentation of The Bowerman, the award given to the outstanding collegiate male and female athlete of 2011.

As many of you regular readers know, I was selected again by the folks from the USTFCCCA as a voting member for the second year in a row. I do take this very seriously, and try not to have fan popularity sway my decision making.

I did skip the 2011 NCAA outdoor championships, so I was not able to see in person pole vaulter Tina Šutej of Arkansas, who went undefeated in every meet competed in except for the NCAA outdoor championships in Des Moines.


Florida State's Ngoni Makusha (left/photo by Paul Merca) got my first place vote, based on the strength of his 100 and long jump double victory, running 9.89 for a national record for Zimbabwe and a collegiate record, as well as jumping 27-6 3/4 (8.40m), also a national record.

As much as I wanted to give Washington State's Jeshua Anderson my first place vote for winning his third NCAA title in the 400 hurdles, Makusha's double was too much to overcome, so he got my second place vote.

Christian Taylor of Florida's windy 58-4 3/4 (17.80m), which was the #1 collegiate performance of all time under any conditions was only good enough to get third.

Having said that, had the deadline for the ballots been AFTER the world championships, I would have gone Taylor-Makusha-Anderson, as Taylor ended up winning in Daegu.


Jessica Beard of Texas A&M was by far the most dominant collegiate track & field athlete this season, winning individual titles in the 400 indoors and outdoors, along with being on the Aggies' 4 x 4 relay squads that won national titles.

LSU's Kimberlyn Duncan just as easily got my second place vote, based on winning the NCAA titles at 200 meters both indoors and outdoors, as well as being the high point scorer in the outdoor championships.

Folks in the pole vault community are going to be irate with me, but you know what? That's fine.

As much as Tina Šutej went undefeated for almost the entire season, and despite setting a collegiate record in the pole vault of 15-1 1/2 (4.61m), and tying the NCAA championship meet record of 14-7 1/4 (4.45m), there is one minor problem--she didn't win the NCAA outdoor title.

The common denominator with the other five finalists: all of them have a NCAA outdoor title in their pocket. In my book, a NCAA outdoor title should be a prerequisite for being in the final three.

As the great American philosopher Charlie Sheen noted, "Winning!" matters, not how many records you break. Šutej's season is similar to what the New England Patriots did a few years ago, going undefeated, but losing the Super Bowl to the New York Giants, or in her case, Melissa Gergel of Oregon.

I'm in agreement with several folks who cover college track & field and who probably know more than me who believe that Villanova's Sheila Reid, the winner of both the 1500 and the 5000 in Des Moines, should have been a finalist for this award.

I'm not on the Bowerman panel that picked the six finalists, but I have to believe that the only reason Sutej is a finalist is that they have to have a field event athlete in there, and she was the most dominant female field event athlete last season.

The results of the fan poll that was conducted by the USTFCCCA is available here.

Media partner Flotrack will cover the Bowerman awards ceremony and, for the first time, an hour-long preview show beforehand. Coverage begins at 4 p.m. PT, with the "Flotrack Red Carpet Show at The Bowerman" hosted by Ryan Fenton and Alex Lohr featuring a behind-the-scenes look at the USTFCCCA Convention and the ceremony.

Finalists were chosen by the ten-person Bowerman Advisory Board based on performances recorded during the indoor and outdoor 2011 track & field seasons. Only performances through the conclusion of the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships are used in consideration. Voting for the The Bowerman includes members of the Advisory Board, media personnel, statisticians, collegiate administrators, along with past winners and online voting by fans and USTFCCCA members.

Following the presentation of The Bowerman, the USTFCCCA will induct six coaches into its Hall of Fame, including legendary Seattle Pacific mentor Dr. Ken Foreman.  Flotrack will also webcast the Hall of Fame ceremony.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Tacoma native Brie Felnagle takes national club harrier title at Jefferson; ex-Husky Katie Follett third...

Tacoma's Brie Felnagle (left/photo by Mike Scott) won the featured open women's 6-kilometer title at the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships at the Jefferson Park Golf Course Saturday in South Seattle.

Under cold and cloudy skies at Jefferson, Felnagle, the Bellarmine Prep and University of North Carolina alum, who is coached by her high school coach Matt Ellis, took control of the race, winning by a four second margin (19:54-19:58) over reigning NCAA Division II cross country champ Neely Spence of Shippensburg (PA).

Just as surprising was that University of Washington alum Katie Follett, running for host Club Northwest, took third in the race in a time of 19:59.

Felnagle and Follett were in a group of five runners, but the Tacoma native pulled away from Spence with 1000 meters to go to take the win.

adidas/Team Rogue Elite out of Austin, Texas, led by Natalie Picchetti's 17th place finish, won their first ever team title over two-time team champions Boulder Running Company. Follett's third place finish gave host Club Northwest a third place team finish.

The open men's 10k race saw Jonathan Grey of Team USA Minnesota take command of the race at 6 km, quickly opening a 20 meter lead over a field that included defending individual champion Aaron Braun and World Championships 1,500 meter bronze medalist Matt Centrowitz (Eugene, Ore.).

Grey cruised to the individual title in 29:38 for a 10 second win over Braun while he edged Phillip Reid of the Asics Aggies as they finished in the same time of 29:48. Centrowitz took fourth in 29:50.

Braun's second place finish helped defending team champions McMillan Elite retain their title from 2010.

The top three finishers in the senior men's and women's races are eligible to run for Team USA at the BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross Country race in Edinburgh, Scotland on January 7th.

A record 1226 athletes competed at the 14th annual event, which featured America’s top post-collegiate club teams from across the United States vying for top honors and bragging rights as the nation's top cross country team. The championships offered a total prize purse of $30,000, with $25,000 going to the top open teams.

Complete results of the USATF National Club Cross Country Championships are available here.

NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

USATF National Club Cross Country Championships set for Saturday in South Seattle...

Defending individual champion Aaron Braun (left/photo by Mike Scott) of Flagstaff, Arizona along with his teammates and two-time men’s team titlists McMillan Elite will join more than 100 USATF club teams Saturday at the 2011 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships at the Jefferson Park Golf Course in Seattle, using the same course as the 2010 Pac-10 championship meet.

The 14th annual USATF National Club Cross Country Championships features America’s top post-collegiate club teams from across the United States vying for top honors and bragging rights as the nation's top cross country team. More than 1,100 competitors are entered in the event, which features a 10-kilometer men’s race and a 6-kilometer women’s race. Clubs will compete for a total prize purse of $30,000, with $25,000 going to the top open teams.

In the women’s 6k team race, the Boulder Running Company/adidas will toe the line looking for their third team title but will face three-time team champion Boston Athletic Association, as well as teams from the New York Athletic Club and New Balance Silicon Valley.

Contenders for the individual title will include Julie Culley of the New York Athletic Club, Sara Vaughn of the Bowerman Athletic Club and reigning NCAA Division II cross country champ Neely Spence (Shippensburg, Pa.) and Bellarmine Prep alum Brie Felnagle of Tacoma, running unattached.

Washington alum Katie Follett is also entered in the meet.

The race for the individual title will feature defending champion Braun and McMillan Elite teammates Brett Gotcher and Nick Arciniaga. Joining the race for individual honors will be Max King and Ryan Bak of the Central Oregon Running Klub; Phillip Reid and Sergio Reyes of the Asics Aggies; and local favorite Mike Sayenko of Club Northwest.

Arciniaga, Reyes & Sayenko all represented Team USA this summer in the marathon at the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Daegu.

Former Stanford star and 2008 US Olympian at 5000 meters, Ian Dobson, is also entered in the field.

A minimum of three athletes from Saturday's senior men's and women's races will select themselves for inclusion on Team USA at the BUPA Great Edinburgh International Cross Country race in Edinburgh, Scotland based on descending order.

Club teams will not be subject to the logo and uniform regulations that were a big source of contention at  last week's USATF convention in St. Louis, after an agreement was reached between USATF and the Athletes Advisory Council.  Teams will be required to wear similar looking attire.

Meet entries in the open races are available here.

The championships get under way at 9 am with a community race, with the disabled club championships at 9:45. The masters women's 6k goes at 10:45, followed by the masters men's 10k an hour later.

The open women race over 6k at 1:00, followed by the open men's 10k at 1:45 pm.

NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed to this report.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Washington State's Jeshua Anderson & Husky commit Maddie Meyers nominated for Seattle Sports Star award...

Washington State University's three-time NCAA champion, USA national champion and World University Games champ Jeshua Anderson, along with Maddie Meyers (left/photo by Paul Merca), the American high school record holder in the 2000-meter steeplechase, were announced as nominees for the 77th annual Sports Star of the Year award by the Seattle Sports Commission.

The Sports Star of the Year awards show, presented by ROOT Sports, will be held Wednesday January 25th at Seattle's Benaroya Hall in downtown Seattle, which honors the athletes, coaches, media figures, stories, sports executives and others in Washington state for their achievements during the previous year or season.

Tickets for this event are $75, which includes the pre-show reception with complimentary beverages and heavy appetizers and the opportunity to mingle with the sports celebrities, or $35 for the show.

In 2011, Anderson won his fourth straight Pac-10 400 meter hurdles title, and went undefeated against collegiate competition during the 2011 outdoor season en route to winning his third NCAA title in the event. He also won the USA national title in Eugene with a thrilling stretch run that saw him dive across the line for the victory.

Anderson was named the Pac-10's male track athlete of the year, and was a member of Team USA at the IAAF world track & field championships in Daegu, Korea. Anderson will travel to San Antonio next week as one of three finalists for the USTFCCCA's Bowerman Award, given to the nation's top collegiate track & field athletes.

Meyers, the Northwest School senior who just recently posted on her Facebook page that she plans to attend the University of Washington next fall, broke the American record in the 2000 meter steeplechase twice this season, first at the USA World Youth Trials in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on June 28th, running 6:33.01, then lowering it again at the IAAF World Youth Championships in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, running 6:29.20 en route to a sixth place finish.

Meyers, who was the subject of an article in Track & Field News in its October issue, recently won her fourth straight WIAA state 1A cross country title to go along with her eight career state championships on the track. She finished fifth at the Nike Border Clash in Beaverton last month, after winning the title last year.

Nominees for the Male Sports Star of the Year include University of Washington running back Chris Polk; Husky guard Isaiah Thomas; Husky golfer Chris Williams; and University of California swimmer Nathan Adrian.

Nominees for the Female Sports Star of the Year include Gonzaga basketball player Courtney Vandersloot; Husky softball player Jenn Salling; SeattleU soccer coach Julie Woodward; and boxer Queen Underwood.

Nominees for the Professional Sports Star of the Year include Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks; Brandon League of the Seattle Mariners; hydro driver Dave Villwock; Seattle Sounders FC goalie Kasey Keller; and Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle Pacific middle distance runner Jessica Pixler was the winner of the 2010 Female Sports Star of the Year.

Fans can vote once a day by going to this link.

NOTE: The Seattle Sports Commission contributed to this report.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Progress and chaos at USATF Athletes Advisory Committee meeting in St. Louis...

ST. LOUIS--Friday's meeting between the USA Track & Field Athletes Advisory Committee, USATF executives and shoe company reps about the organization's restrictive uniform guidelines started off well, with Bob Hersh, who is on the IAAF Council, telling the athletes that they can have a second corporate logo on their jerseys for the 2012 season, which doesn't necessarily have to be that of a shoe/apparel company.

The chaos at the meeting started when some of the speakers from the shoe companies got wind that someone in the room was streaming the meeting online via ustream, with the video embedded by Flotrack.

According to a post on, "Nike's John Capriotti, who was one of the people from Nike at the meeting. got word it was being streamed live on the internet without his knowledge. He got upset, walked out, the meeting was stopped, and everyone not on the AAC was kicked out of the meeting. That is when the athletes posted like crazy on twitter and people following the convention on twitter went nuts, although apparently not that many people (42 according to this tweet, not sure if that is a joke or not) were actually watching the live stream."

USA Track & Field will not enforce the uniform rules at next week's USATF Club Cross Country Championships at Seattle's Jefferson Park Golf Course, a move hailed by many of the clubs that plan to bring teams and individuals.

A recap of Friday's happenings in St. Louis can be read here, and here.

A good video with shot putter Adam Nelson, with some background of what the issues are facing the athletes in St. Louis, is available here.

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