Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Spearmon Signs with Saucony
Wallace Spearmon, a long time Nike athlete, just announced that he has signed with Saucony. Yes I said Saucony. Known more for making distance shoes, they've made a major leap by going with one of the world's top sprinters.
This is the second shoe company in a week to make a major signing in track and field following on the heels of New Balance signing Jenny Barringer. This is great for track and field as it gets new money flowing into the sport - and the sport can always use more money.
I also think it will be a great move for Spearmon. It puts him front and center and the focus for Saucony. As he says in his Flo Track interview (see below) anything he wants they will provide. He gets to design his own line of shoes and clothing. He will be the face of the company when it comes to track and field. In short it takes Spearmon from being one of many at Nike to being "The Man" at Saucony.
A position that Spearmon has held often in his career, but has lost of late. Spearmon was "The Man" in high school in Arkansas. Then "The Man" in college at the University of Arkansas. It wasn't that long ago (2005) that Spearmon was the NCAA champion over 200 meters in a race that saw Xavier Carter, Tyson Gay, Walter Dix and Rodney Martin all finishing behind him. That same season he was the silver medalist at the World Championships in Helsinki - and his professional career was off and rolling.
Spearmon dropped his PR to 19.65 in '06 and was a regular conqueror of none other than Usain Bolt over 200 meters. He continued his domination of Bolt in '07 though Tyson Gay took a major step forward. Then injuries in '08 & '09 saw Spearmon "struggle" to compete with Gay and Bolt - though struggling for him still lead to times of 19.8x and bronze medal finishes in Beijing and Berlin (he lost the Beijing medal to a dq).
But Spearmon says that he is healthy again in 2010. So perhaps the change in shoe companies and his emergence to the top of the heap with Saucony, could signal a return to form for Spearmon on the track as well. In his Flo Track interview Spearmon says that he is working diligently on his start. A huge Achilles heel in his race as he often gives up 3 to 5 meters early in his 200 meter races while finishing like a house afire on his way to sub 20 second clockings. If he can maintain early with the likes of Bolt and Gay he may be back in the game over 200!
I'm looking forward to seeing the 2010 version of Wallace Spearmon. As with Barringer and her change of coaching, I think the changes that Spearmon is making this year may help lead him to the promised land. The duo of Tyson Gay and Wallace Spearmon was a hot one for several years. It would be nice to see them both once again leading US sprint fortunes.