If Track Santa is kind enough to give me some exciting matchups this coming season, I’d love to be able to actually watch them as they occur. Don’t get me wrong, I love YouTube – because everything ends up on YouTube sooner or later. But there is something to be said for watching something happen when it happens, as opposed to reading about it first and then watching it. Some things are just more exciting LIVE – especially track and field.
Besides most track meets are televised now. We don’t get to see them here in the US, but most meets are televised “locally” in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Since broadcasters have already been paid for broadcasting events locally, nationally, and in some cases across continents, wouldn’t it be grand if they added a stream as sort of a “bonus” to those out of range. I think it would be a great marketing tool for the broadcast companies – I know I’ve written my cable provider a couple of times now to advocate them adding Universal Sports. It would also be a great marketing tool for the sport. Adding interest via the internet can only help to add viewers to the big screen.
In a perfect world all meets would be streamed online – it would just be part of putting on a track meet. But knowing that the world isn’t as perfect as I would like, here is my list of ten “Must See” meets that I hope get streamed live in 2011.
1. The World Championships
Part of the fun of a meet with multiple rounds is watching the drama unfold during the rounds! TV gives you the finals – occasionally some semi finals that it deems to be important. But I want to see how Bolt and Gay look in the rounds before they finally go head to head; the athlete that should make the finals get upset by the upstart; the stories that develop before the gun goes off in the finals.
2. U.S. Nationals
Yes we get some television coverage, but we miss all the good stuff during the rounds. So as with the World Championships, I’d love to see all the stories that typically develop during this meet – as they happen.
3. Russian Nationals
The Russians have always been a mystery. Some of that was born of the Cold War when the only time we would see them would be at the Olympics. But even now, though we see more of them outside of majors, there is still something mystical about their national championships as world leading times usually abound.
4. NCAA Championships
The one meet every year where team competition is as important as individual achievements. We get a “glimpse” of the drama that unfolds through the annual telecast by CBS, but as with Worlds and US Nationals there is something special about watching the individual blocks fall into place round by round, event by event, as opposed to seeing it in a packaged presentation. Not to mention that the NCAA’s gives us a sneak preview of many nations young stars before they get to Worlds.
5. Jamaican Nationals
With the World Championships on the line in 2011 I don’t expect to see many head to head match ups prior to Daegu (see Xmas Wish #1). Given that US teams in majors tend to be heavy in sprint, hurdle and relay power, it would be nice to see our primary competition as they select their squad for Worlds. Seeing what you have to face is much more fun that looking at some results on a web site. Besides, having both the US and Jamaican Nationals streamed to the World would only add to the anticipation of the impending matchups in Daegu.
6. Lausanne – Diamond League
Lausanne will be the first Diamond League event to take place after most National Championships are in the books. With the fields set for Daegu, I expect there will be many athletes that did not make the cut, that will be looking for redemption. Lausanne presents the first real opportunity to do so – and I’m expecting it to be a barn burner!
7. London – Diamond League
London presents the final “tune up” opportunity before Daegu. The last chance to test fitness and/or to see if changes made during the summer are working – race tactics, block settings, etc. The meet that is held prior to a Major championship usually gets its share of top level talent to attend for that last tune up race. London being a two day meet (thus the only DL event to have all of the events) should see its share of top athletes and more.
8. Zurich – Diamond League
The first meet after the World Championships will be the ultimate redemption meet! Not that the lure of competing in Zurich isn’t enough to draw talent, but those athletes that do not pick up gold will be looking to prove that they were indeed worthy – especially if their conqueror also shows up in Zurich. This meet is one of the best in the world every year and the entire world deserves to get to watch.
9. Daegu Pre Championships Meeting
This meet is scheduled to be run on May 12th – giving athletes and early opportunity to come to Daegu to check out the facility. It’s early enough in the year that it will not interfere with National Championships or money making opportunities in Europe after tickets to Worlds are punched. And it presents a chance to feel the track, check out the stadium, get a feel for the area, and generally get a sneak peak at the World Championships venue. My guess is that there will be a fair amount of athletes that will want to do just that. And if not, I wouldn’t mind getting a sneak peak at the next World Championships location!
10. The California State High School Championships
I know it’s just “kids”, but this is one of the most exciting meets of any year. Head to head matchups abound. The best the state has to offer will be on stage. and many future stars of the sport will be on display. Most importantly it’s what track and field is all about and what a track meet should be – and I think its something the whole world should be able to witness.
If Track Santa will put this in my stocking I’ll be one happy camper in 2011 – and I think you would be too.