It’s that time of year to put in my request to good old Track Santa for my track and field gifts for 2012. The 2011 season was pretty good overall, but one can always wish for more! So here’s my letter and list for Track Santa (I hope I get everything)!
Dear Track Santa,
I’ve been really good this year. I watched every meet that was available on television – indoor, elite, college and high school. I watched a ton of meets online (thanks for increasing the free feeds this year). I supported my local high school team, and I got finish line seats at every meet I went to. And I made sure to watch and cheer for every event at every meet – track and field.
I’m really looking forward to the Olympic year, with the Trials and the Games and all the other meets. But there are some things I want to ask for, that would really make the year great.
A new CEO for USA Track and Field
It’s time for a new CEO. We’ve been rudderless for far too long. I know that the best candidates seem to not want to bother, but please convince at least one of them that with the right person, this could be a great job AND a great federation. We already have the best collection of talent across the board in the world. With the right guidance great things could come.
A Revised False Start Rule
We saw the debacle that was the men’s 100 final in Daegu. While that was the most high profile DQ of the year, it was one of many. From the Allyson Felix “huddle” at the Prefontaine Classic (in the 400 no less, AND a huddle in the 100); to the DQ of defending national collegiate champion, Jeff Demps at the SEC championships; to Dwain Chambers DQ in the Daegu semis before Bolt’s infamous false start! Please give the powers that be the intelligence to understand that a) athletes that false start are not trying to cheat; b) these athletes are under a tremendous amount of pressure; c) no rule is going to prevent false starts from happening, because “stuff” just happens; d) since false starts can’t be prevented, no rule is going to save precious “TV time” (I actually think the new rule takes more time with all the “huddles” that they have; and e) no other sport sets the rules for its premier events to try and actually eliminate athletes from competing! All that said, two false starts worked just fine – there was no need to break it.
A Revised Anti-Doping Plan
Two more high profile doping suspensions in 2011 make many believe that the system may be irreparably broken. But this is the New Millennium – the age after the Six Million Dollar Man – and we have the technology to fix it! I’m even going to help you with this one Santa because I’ve been working on a plan that I’m going to send to you that I think may help. I will post it here before the clock strikes midnight on 2011.
Head to Head Match Ups of the Best Male Sprinters
I’m going to stop saying that we need more head to head’s because in some events we are getting them. The 110 hurdlers gave them to us pre Daegu. So did the women’s sprinters as well as the women’s hurdlers – both short and long. We got lots of field event head to heads. The problem Santa is that the sport’s most high profile athletes – the men’s sprinters – are scared to race! Mind you Santa, I’m not calling them “chicken”, but we don’t have Jim Hines, Charlie Greene, Steve Williams, Don Quarrie, Linford Christie, Mo Greene, Ato Boldon, or Frankie Fredericks around anymore. We now have the New Millennium equivalent of Valerie Borzov and Kostas Kenteris – sprinters who only show up to race the best at Majors. Please convince the sport that setting up contracts based on performing against the best is the way for sprinters to get paid! Because I think most of are tired of watching “Time Trials” leading up to one good race a year.
Good Health for the World’s Best Athletes
I know there will be injuries – its part of the game. But sometimes the triage list of track and field’s best looks more like a log from war. Tyson Gay, Asafa Powell, Blanka Vlasic, Teddy Tamgho, Wallace Spearmon, Tony McQuay, Jeremy Wariner, Emma Green, Lolo Jones, Ryan Bailey, Kenenisa Bekele, Andrew Wheating, and Bryan Clay are just a handful of top level athletes that suffered through various injury ills over the last year. I understand that getting everyone that matters to London in one piece is nearly impossible, but the more that can achieve that goal the more exciting the Olympics will be. So if it’s not asking too much, I’m asking for a high turnout of HEALTHY elite athletes in London for the Games.
That’s it Track Santa. Like any kid excited about Christmas there is certainly more that I could add to the list. But if you will deliver these things I will be very happy – and so will most of the fans of the sport! So while I’m writing the list, consider it a list from the fans in general and do your best to come through for us.
The View From the Finish Line