A Year-By-Year Look Back At The Decade Of The Teens

The colorful Junkanoo performers helped the World Relays debut in spectacular fashion in Nassau in ’14. (ANDREW McCLANAHAN/PHOTO RUN)

ALLOW US TO TICKLE your memory banks with a quick look at some of the important things—mostly off the track—that transpired over the course of the last 10 years:


2010

USATF fired CEO Doug Logan after little more than 2 years on the job. That was just the first salvo of what would be a 10-year period full of politics & governance issues…

What had begun as the IAAF’s Grand Prix circuit in ’85 opened for business rechristened as the Diamond League. The 14-meet schedule would focus on creating head-to-head matchups among marquee performers, with athletes scoring points toward the 4-carat diamond to be given to the leader in each event at season’s end… In other rebranding news, the IAAF reworked its World Cup meet into the Continental Cup, a 4-team contest between the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia/Oceania…

Long a standby at the high school and collegiate levels, the pure no-false start rule was adopted by the IAAF after 7 years of using a one-on-the-field protocol… The NCAA revamped its Regionals setup, going from 4 meets to 2… The IOC’s Youth Olympic Games came into being, with the first meet held in Singapore…

Life got simpler for the prep set indoors, as the National Scholastic meet reached an agreement with the New Balance meet and the two “nationals” became one… In an epic case of foreshadowing, the IAAF and the South African federation wrangled over how to handle the sex-test case of a certain Caster Semenya, with the IAAF eventually accepting the findings of an expert panel to allow her to compete… The USATF Championships was staged in Des Moines for the first time.


2011

The year that saw the World Championships staged in South Korea produced some of its biggest headlines for Usain Bolt’s false start in the finals of the Daegu 100…
The IAAF backtracked and allowed Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15:25 marathon WR to stand after earlier deciding that women’s records could only come from all-woman races…
Led by 800 runner Nick Symmonds, athletes put pressure on USATF and the IAAF to loosen up their restrictions on the size and placement of sponsor logos.

Lamine Diack decided to stand for the IAAF presidency again instead of running for president of Senegal. He won another 4-year term that turned out to be more eventful than he expected… The IAAF, hoping to avert problems like the previous year’s conflict over Caster Semenya, introduced a new set of rules governing hyperandrogenism… David Rudisha repeated as Men’s Athlete Of The Year…

At the NCAA, Florida State’s Ngoni Makusha did something nobody else—not even Carl Lewis—had ever done before, winning a 100/4×1/LJ triple.


2012

Mo Farah gave the London hosts plenty to shout about—and shout they did—as he highlighted their Olympics with a 5/10 double… Elsewhere in the Games, David Rudisha’s wire-to-wire WR win the 800 was chosen (at decade’s end)as our Men’s Performance Of The Decade…

The IAAF decided it would give the previous year’s Diamond League winners Wild Card berths to the World Champs… USATF bowed to athlete pressure and vowed to stop enforcing logo restrictions on uniforms, however the USOC made sure they were in place at the Trials… No World XC Championships was staged, the IAAF having decided to change the event from an every-year one, to only being staged in even-numbered years…

USATF finally filled its CEO position, vacant for more than a year, with Max Siegel… NBC introduced live streaming of Olympic Trials action outside of its broadcast hours… Oregon head Vin Lananna floated the idea that Eugene might be capable of hosting a World Championships… Originally founded in ’06 as the Professional Athletes Association, the renamed Track & Field Athletes Association went international with the goal of giving athletes a stronger voice in the sport…

An NCAA subcommittee hashed over 6 years of results to come up with an index to equalize qualifying from various indoor track configurations. Critics felt the results still favored oversized tracks… The IAAF finally got around to starting a Hall Of Fame, with an inaugural class of 24, although the caliber of athletes inducted was at a lower level than might have been expected due to geographical and event-distribution mandates.


2013

Billionaire Stephen A. Schwarzman gifted the USATF Foundation a cool half-million, jump-starting athlete support efforts… The sport found itself in the news in the worst of ways when a terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon killed 3 spectators and injured scores more… The Drake Relays, with a new slate of corporate sponsors, was able to bring in many more pros in a major return to relevance…

Respected sports scientist Ross Tucker published his opinion that the sub-2:00 marathon was still a very long ways off… With little warning, Samsung pulled out as the title sponsor of the Diamond League, leaving the IAAF in a lurch… Jamaican sprinters ran wild at the World Championships in Moscow, Usain Bolt & Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce each claiming 100/200/4×1 golden triples…

High school phenom Mary Cain turned pro after making the World Champs 1500 final, forgoing her final season of eligibility at the prep level, as well as passing on a collegiate career. This turned out to be the start of a bit of a trend for prep superstars… Speaking of high school superstars, Edward Cheserek put an end to Gerry Lindgren’s long reign as holder of the national record in the 2M.

Tokyo won the bid to host the ’20 Olympics, beating out Istanbul and Madrid… The IAAF signed off on a return to 4-year bans for major doping offenses… Oregon inked a deal to host the NCAA Championships through ’21.


2014

Sergey Bubka finally gained company in the 20-foot club as Renaud Lavillenie raised the WR to 20-2½ (6.16)… The first-ever World Relays Championships in Nassau, Bahamas, a colorful meet hailed as a rousing success… Agent Paul Doyle launched the American Track League to create more domestic opportunities for professionals. The fledging organization teamed up with the TFAA. In April, USATF appeared to open the door to giving the TFAA a little bit of a role in the sport…

Athlete Of The (previous) Decade Kenenisa Bekele finally moved to the roads, winning the Paris Marathon in 2:05:03… The traditional Brussels track 10,000 was canceled, highlighting the growing scarcity of the event on the invitational circuit… In a landmark deal, USATF announced that it had extended its partnership with Nike all the way through ’40 at about $20 million a year. Critics said the deal—not indexed to future inflation—would only benefit the shoe giant in the long run…

Ashton Eaton took a break from decathloning and earned a No. 6 in the World Rankings in the 400H… Eugene got a chance to show off that it could host an international championship, presenting the World Juniors to some 51,000 fans over the course of the 6-day meet… Doha beat Eugene in the bid to host the ’19 Worlds…

Four different USATF associations, as well as the Athletes Advisory Committee, protested the USATF Board’s decision to make Stephanie Hightower the national governing body’s IAAF representative after delegates voted 392-70 to retain Bob Hersh in the position.


2015

The IAAF changed up its qualifying-standard protocol for both the Worlds and Olympics, eliminating the old dual A/B Standards methodology to go with new single standard and using a descending-order list to fill fields…

The IOC considered softening controversial Rule 40 that restricted the right of athletes to acknowledge their sponsors at the Olympics… WADA retooled its doping rules, reintroducing a 4-year ban for first offenses and extending the statute of limitations on the testing of old samples to 10 years…

In a surprise move, the IAAF skipped over the normal bidding procedures and awarded the ’21 World Championships to Eugene, finally bringing the meet—in the fifth decade of its existence—to North America… The NCAA split up men and women so that each sex had its own final day. Friday was the men’s finals, Saturday the women’s…

CAS threw out the IAAF’s testosterone rule…

As Beijing hosted a successful Worlds, the IAAF chose its new leader, middle distance legend Seb Coe, who defeated Sergey Bubka… Outgoing IAAF president Lamine Diack was arrested on corruption charges by French officials… In one of the biggest stories, the IAAF suspended Russia after revelations of an apparent state-sponsored doping conspiracy… Stephanie Hightower was elected to the IAAF Council.


3 heavy hitters in the governance world met at Portland’s ’16 World Indoor Champs. l-r: USATF CEO Max Siegel, USATF President Vin Lananna, IAAF President Seb Coe. (KIRBY LEE/IMAGE OF SPORT)

2016

The IAAF lost its major sponsor, adidas, as the shoe giant cut its contract short 4 years early, reportedly dismayed at the doping scandals and former IAAF president Lamine Diack’s role in covering them up; not long after, Nestlé also pulled out… New York City’s adidas GP dropped out of the Diamond League, leaving North America with Eugene as its only stop on the premier circuit… Oregon also figured prominently during the indoor season, with Portland hosting the World Indoor Championships…

The IOC began retesting samples from the ’08 Olympics, leading to a disturbing number of prominent athletes surrendering medals years after the event… The TrackTown Summer Series offered another twist on a domestic pro league, complete with drafts of athletes…

The release of the McLaren Report just before the Olympics put a bright light on Russia’s systemic doping culture… Not long after, WADA found itself the target of a major hacking by a Russian cyber espionage group…
Despite concerns about an epidemic of the Zika virus, as well as the usual facilities-readiness concerns, Rio de Janeiro pulled off a successful Olympics…

Vin Lananna, the man behind the successful bid to host a World Championships in Eugene, added another hat by winning the USATF presidency… The IAAF signed off on the major restructuring plan that had been designed by Seb Coe, promising more transparency and accountability.


2017

In pushing for more innovation in the sport, Coe successfully had the mixed-sex 4×4 added to the ’20 Olympics, as well as the ’19 Worlds… The first major retooling of the Diamond League in 8 years meant that all the goodies would be riding on the final, with points scored during the earlier meets qualifying athletes for the final, rather than adding up to determine an overall winner… A reworking of the DL schedule also resulted in fewer appearances for most of the field events as well as the steeple…

Russian hackers hit their mark, releasing a confidential USADA report revealing an ongoing investigation of coach Alberto Salazar and the Nike Oregon Project… Mt. SAC was awarded the ’20 Olympic Trials, breaking a 3-meet Eugene streak… The IAAF froze all nationality transfers as it came up with new rules to combat what its described as a “wholesale market for African talent open to the highest bidder”…

USATF assigned veteran coach Orin Richburg the job of managing U.S. relay teams in major championships in the hopes of minimizing the stick mistakes of the past…

It had to happen eventually. Usain Bolt, the biggest marquee name in the sport, finally retired. He didn’t go out in the desired blaze of glory, settling for bronze in the 100 and pulling up injured on the relay anchor… With both Paris and Los Angeles vying to host an Olympic Games, the IOC broke with tradition and assigned two Games at once, with Paris getting ’24 and LA the next.

Usain Bolt’s amazing career ended on a low note when he pulled up in his final race, the ’17 World Champs 4×1 in London. (CLAUS ANDERSEN)

2018

Citing conflict of interest concerns over Vin Lananna’s dual role as the president of both USATF and TrackTown USA, USATF’s Board Of Directors placed him on “temporary administrative leave,” installing Mike Conley as Interim President… Longtime T&FN stalwart Jon Hendershott died at 71, a year after his retirement…

Hoping to recapture some of the fervor that had made London ’12 so magical, the British federation put together its own version of the World Cup, complete with serious prize money. Unfortunately, the meet had a lot of competition and lost more than $1 million… The artifacts of some of the sport’s most historical moments went on tour with the creation of the IAAF’s Heritage Collection…

USATF canceled its Olympic Trials agreement with Mt. SAC, putting the hosting back up for bid before awarding it to that old familiar, Eugene… The IAAF’s new rule on testosterone went before CAS as part of a challenge by Caster Semenya, whose career would be effectively ended by the new rule… After staging three successful World Relays meets, the Bahamian federation said it could no longer afford to host the meet, sending the IAAF on a quest that led it to Yokohama, Japan…

The IAAF’s Athletics Integrity Unit, founded the previous year, was granted expanded authority to focus on nations with prominent doping issues… Controversy continued over the IAAF’s plans to base World Championships qualifying on its new world rankings system, which many, including the Association of Athletics Managers, found flawed… The IAAF’s ban on Russia continued, as the national federation continued to miss on the required steps for reinstatement… Willie Banks defeated Stephanie Hightower in USATF voting for the U.S. nominee to the IAAF Council.


2019

With the refurbishing of Eugene’s Hayward Field having turned into a teardown/rebuild, the NCAA moved its ’19 & ’20 champs to Austin… CAS ruled in favor of the IAAF testosterone rule, rejecting Semenya’s appeal… The IAAF announced that it would trim events—mostly field—even further in the Diamond League… Transgender CeCe Telford won the NCAA Div. II women’s 400 hurdles, focusing the track world on a growing controversy… Following the Worlds in Doha, the IAAF completed its transition to a new name: World Athletics (WA)…

Alberto Salazar was banned for 4 years by USADA for “orchestrating and facilitating prohibited doping conduct.” Shortly afterwards, Nike pulled the plug on the Oregon Project… Mary Cain went public with what has been described as an abusive environment at the NOP, bringing worldwide attention to the issue…

Sidelined for almost 2 years by the USATF Board of Directors, Vin Lananna was reinstated as federation president by an arbitration decision… Willie Banks was elected to a seat on the IAAF Council…

The distance world saw many of its standards crushed by athletes wearing versions of the game-changing Nike Vaporfly shoe, with World Athletics scrambling to come up with a defensible response. Eliud Kipchoge used the super-shoes (and a lot of other aids) to break the 2:00 barrier in the marathon… Doha’s staging of the World Championships featured an air-conditioned stadium that mitigated the stifling desert heat… T&FN ended the year with its landmark 900th edition.

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