ON YOUR MARKS — January

As construction continues on the new Hayward Field, the signature tower got its cap on February 1. (JIM JACKSON)

THE USOPC PUT ITS FOOT DOWN and told Team USA Minnesota that it could no longer use the term “Team USA” in its title. The training group, in its 19th year, is now titled Minnesota Distance Elite

On the benevolent side, the USOPC is finally putting some funding at the disposal of its Athletes’ Advisory Council, with an initial budget of $525,000 earmarked for staffing, projects and travel…

Reigning Olympic vault gold medalist Katerína Stefanídi has decided to focus on training and skip the indoor season…

Note that the Shanghai Diamond League meeting on May 16 will not be held as usual in Shanghai Stadium because of renovations. A different venue is to be announced. Note also that the venue for the other Chinese DL meet, set for May 10, still hasn’t been announced. Between the two is the Continental Tour meet, set for Nanjing on May 13. Given the coronavirus situation, all this may of course be moot…

Lauren Paquette has joined the Hoka NAZ Elite squad…

Julia Rizk, the ’19 NCAA mile champion indoors while at Ohio State, will be training with the District TC after signing with Under Armour…

Long jumper Kate Hall has inked a sponsorship deal with Asics…

A May 2 stop in Nairobi has been added to the WA Continental Tour (T&FN, November), which now has its full complement of 10 meets at its gold level (none of them in the U.S.). A silver level features another to-be-announced 10 meets…

The annual javelin competition in the German city of Jena has been canceled for this year so that its organizer, Thomas Röhler, can concentrate on defending his Olympic title…

As a track meet, the World University Games isn’t quite what it was in past decades. The cross country version is struggling also. Organizers of the March event in Marrakech have extended entry deadlines and lowered entry fees to boost participation…

“Utterly ridiculous,” was the reaction of longtime stat guru Peter Matthews of Britain after WA ratified as the 5K road WR the 13:22 of Kenyan Robert Keter, “given that there have been hundreds of men who have run faster.”…

Nike has signed a renewal of its sponsorship of the Chinese federation through 2033…

A new hyphenated name: Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Herrah following her marriage to coach Derron Herrah…

Jake Heyward, Britain’s ’17 European Junior (U20) champ at 1500, has moved to Eugene to be coached by Mark Rowland and run for the Oregon TC…

The Youth Olympic Games of ’22, set for Dakar, Senegal, have been moved from May/June to October/November…

Sophie O’Sullivan, the Euro U18 silver medalist at 800, has signed with Washington. She is the daughter of distance legend Sonia O’Sullivan, who won five NCAA titles for Villanova…

A round of promotions at the USATF headquarters saw Robert Chapman named Director Of Sports Science and Leah Testa named Associate Director Of Merchandise & Retail Operations…

Longtime Indiana assistant Phil Henson has died at 74. He also served admirably as track’s Director Of Competition at the ’96 Olympics…

Former Arkansas All-America Sharif Karie, 41, has been sentenced to nearly 5 years in federal prison for his part in a conspiracy to fraudulently receive more than $500,000 in federal benefits for a day-care center he owned…

The CEO of the Tokyo Olympics, Toshiro Mutoh, has pledged that the Games won’t overspend their $12 billion budget. “There’s an incentive to make the budget appear as small as possible. But you do need money to host the Games.”…

Axios reports that in the last 10 years, the NCAA sports that have made the biggest gains in terms of number of schools sponsoring them have been lacrosse and track. On the men’s side, indoor track (141) leads lacrosse (139) and outdoor track (133). For women, lacrosse (200) leads both track genres (outdoor 170, indoor 165)…

Athletes are worried that the stadium in Eldoret, where the Kenyan Trials are to be held in June, still is not ready. Renovation was begun in ’17 but reportedly stalled soon after, and little has been done since…

Russia is reportedly contributing more than a million dollars to WADA for 2020. The largest contributors are the United States ($2.3 million), Japan ($1.6 million) and Canada ($1.2 million)…

Pitt has announced that it is building a new indoor track facility that will feature an 8-lane 300m oval. It is set to be completed in 2024…

Springfield, Oregon, is moving ahead with its plans for an indoor track facility to serve the Eugene area. Groundbreaking is planned for ’21 prior to the World Championships.

Usain Bolt has announced that he and long-time girlfriend Kasi Bennett are expecting their first child this year…

In other baby news, former multi stars Brianne Theisen-Eaton and Ashton Eaton had a baby boy, Ander, in January…

This April the Penn Relays will host a series of special events celebrating the 100th anniversary of the participation of Historically Black Colleges & Universities…

Jamaica will be unveiling a statue of Asafa Powell at Kingston’s Independence Park in February…

The NCAA has given a boost to potential Olympians in the college ranks by allowing them to accept funding for travel and training expenses, and also allow travel monies for parents and coaches. Athletes will qualify by having the USOPC designate them as elite…

In April, NBC will roll out a new streaming service, Peacock, that will feature extensive Tokyo coverage…

Lisa Morgan-Richman has been named men’s and women’s XC coach at TCU…

Two-time Olympic 200 gold medalist Veronica Campbell-Brown has launched her own clothing line called “VCB Fit.”

A Brazilian judge has ordered the Rio Olympic Park closed to the public out of concern for safety, with a number of the facilities having fallen into disrepair…

In another sign of the coming apocalypse, the Kingston Gleaner says some Jamaican high schools are getting into foreign recruiting, bringing in talent from both Africa and other Caribbean nations.◻︎

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