ON BEHALF OF the whole T&FN crew, I’d like to thank all you loyal subscribers who hung with us through the annus horribilis that was 2020.
You surely noticed that with so little hard news to report during the aborted “Olympic Year” we double-monthed the naming of the ’20 issues from March/April through November/December. As a result, the year had only 7 editions instead of 12, spread out across the calendar accordingly.
What was behind this decision? With “news” being such an important part of our name, we wanted to be sure you got what you signed up for. Accordingly, you’ll still get — to steal a line from the New York Times — all the news that’s fit to print. You’ll just get it farther down the road.
And in case you’re worried that you might get cheated on your investment with us, I hasten to clarify that for every doubled issue you received your subscription was extended by a month.
We’re actually very proud of our 2020 content. Writing feature material, good feature material, is immensely harder than the news, but the expanded timeframe allowed us to dive into more long-form journalism. Even with the reduced number of issues published, the overall production of deeper stories was our highest ever, and we hope you enjoyed it.
A special tip of the editor’s proverbial hat to Managing Editor Sieg Lindstrom and Associate Editor Jeff Hollobaugh for doing such yeoman work in crafting the many fine profiles and interviews which graced our pages. I’m sure you’ll agree that their work was over-the-top exemplary, particularly in such trying times.
Their deep analyses of the U.S. scene in many events have made for no end of fabulous reading. In case you missed any of them, since the January ’20 edition was published we have produced deep looks at 13 events: men’s 100, 800, 5000, 110H, PV, TJ & SP; women’s 400, 800, 1500, 100H, PV, LJ.
And now we’re back to having single-named issues for the first two editions of ’21, with every expectation that we’ll continue that way through the Olympic year.
Look for us not only to be on top of all the news, but also to continue to explore more long-form stories on our sport’s greatest stars. Plus more of our always-entertaining T&FN Interviews, which in the last year have featured Rai Benjamin, Emma Coburn, Sara Hall, Grant Holloway, Michael Norman, Keturah Orji & Kara Winger.
Kudos To U.S. Meet Promoters
Of all the stories we have published in the last year, arguably the most important of them is the one that follows this column, regarding some enterprising meet promoters taking things into their own hands in providing more domestic competitive opportunities for the nation’s pros.
There’s a banding-together of a mix of meets old and new for a 7-meet outdoor circuit and the creation of a new 4-meet indoor circuit.
As I write this, we’re on the cusp of meet No. 2 in Paul Doyle’s indoor creation, the American Track League, and USATF has chimed in with an announcement that it will “provide resources” for the last three meets of the series.
That’s a great bit of news, but as our Last Lap item (“A Little Late To The Dance?”) on this development said, “While we are hesitant to be critical of any levels of support, we have to ask where the federation has been the last year as this nasty crisis has played out.”
Expanded definition of “crisis”: in a health-of-the-sport frame of reference, there has been a crisis in play regards a dearth of competitive opportunities in the domestic sport for many years, not just since C19 arrived.
Spending other peoples’ money is quite easy to do, but it certainly seems to me that the 20th-century (or is it 19th?) business model no longer works. The national federation, while it has sponsored some good initiatives in recent years, needs to get even more into the meet-promotion business, top to bottom.
Doyle shouldn’t have to be pitching his ATL series to ESPN on his own. The Pro Series meets shouldn’t be out looking for streaming packages on their own.
USATF — here I go spending Indy’s money — should have a specialized department that does nothing but work on creating/maintaining a viable circuit of meets.
Kicking in some cold, hard cash would never be a bad thing, of course, but I’m speaking of providing a concerted effort to market the high end of the sport as a whole, with all the attendant benefits that come from banding together.
Finding national-level sponsors as well as helping meet promoters find backers at the local level. Ensuring that the product finds its way to the airwaves in as many ways as are possible.
The U.S. still produces more world-class performers than any other nation, but they increasingly find themselves in the all-dressed-up-but-no-place-to-go category. That’s just not acceptable. ◻︎