Track and Field is one of the purest sports that offers a plethora of the most elegant elements of sports.... Yet its rapid decline will probably make it a sport of the past! I hope one day the IAAF management team will open up their eyes and realize how low Track and Field has sunk. Why? Let's analyze:

  • National Track and Field organizations across the world have enjoyed a monopoly that has been fueled by a "boys club" approach to appointments across the entire organization. This management style does not serve a good example for young athletes. It has also taken Track and Field from being a prime sport into a second class sport that keeps losing its audience to other sports year after year!
  • Track and Field has never adapted itself to the new world, the new global media (the internet) or the TV driven advertisement, source of financial support. Every single sport that is popular (Soccer, Basketball, Baseball, US Football, Volleyball, etc...) is run within a couple of hours and has breaks to support advertisement. Even cricket that used to be run over several days has changed its format with the single day match. Not Track and Field. A national championship runs over 10 days. When will the IAAF standardize on a format that will be appealing to a TV audience that has 2 hours to spare?
  • The further away you shy from events that require muscle only and the more you encourage the use of brain and skills, the less doping you will have and the more appealing the events will be. How many times times in your daily life, in this 21st century, you need to race 100 yards straight before catching your meal? Would a 50 meters or possibly even a 25 meters sprint make more sense? Would it make sense to have hurdles at 1.40m so there is a decision (and therefore a use of the brain on whether to clear the hurdle from the top or by sneaking under). Now an event like this one would encourage the brain and would not favor only height and muscles, which would make it more exciting. There are more than one way to go from point a to point b, let's encourage the brain, the dexterity and the skills. Not the muscles only. These are only some examples of the innovative thoughts that the IAAF need to be inspired by. We need to stop the traditional way of thinking and stop promoting people who think alike in management. -especially when it is not working-.
  • Track & Field is so far behind other sports that playing catch up is not sufficient. It needs to leap other sports. To do so it needs to adopt, embrace and drive technological innovations. Not only in the cleats, the track or the health of the athletes. But the embodyment of these disruptive technologies has to metamorphose the sport itself.
  • Finally and most importantly Track & Field needs to create "passion". And there is no greater passion than the attachment to a team. A local team that represents your school, university, town/city or country. Teams that have a seasonal tournament or recurring championship. How about if the team was selected by a web based vote, not by a technical coach, thus gaining unprecedented public engagement? How about merchandising. Can you believe that you cannot purchase a USA Track and Field outfit. "It is reserved to athlete that qualify". You cannot purchase an Usain Bolt, Pietro Mennea, PreFontaine, Alison Felix, or Marlene Otto jersey. Why is USATF forfeiting merchandising? In many sports it is a primary source of financing. Food for thought!

Let's bring back its nobility to Track and Field. Let's make it again the shining star of all sports. Let's make it the ground where the youth builds a healthy mind in a healthy body!

Fadi Micaelian | All rights reserved 2022
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