Announcing the IAAF athlete of the year awards, left to right: IAAF press deputy Laura Arcoleo, New Zealand shot-putter Valerie Adams, IAAF president Lamine Diack, French pole-vaulter Renaud Lavillenie // photo courtesy IAAF

Announcing the IAAF athlete of the year awards, left to right: IAAF press deputy Laura Arcoleo, New Zealand shot-putter Valerie Adams, IAAF president Lamine Diack, French pole-vaulter Renaud Lavillenie // photo courtesy IAAF

Track and field

Track and field: ‘soul’ and ‘heart’ of the Games

MONACO — It was 15 years ago Wednesday that Senegal’s Lamine Diack took over as president of the IAAF, the international track and field federation, just 12 days after the death of Italy’s Primo Nebiolo. Diack is now 81, and here Friday he grew reflective looking both back and out at the last few months of his presidency, due to end next August.

“We must never relax, be relaxed,” he said, “about our place in the world of sport.”

Eugene 2019 bid leader Vin Lananna presses the case to the IAAF while, to his right, USATF board chair Stephanie Hightower and chief executive Max Siegel listen in // photo courtesy IAAF

Eugene 2019 bid leader Vin Lananna presses the case to the IAAF while, to his right, USATF board chair Stephanie Hightower and chief executive Max Siegel listen in // photo courtesy IAAF

Track and field

When a two-vote loss is reason for optimism

MONACO — No, Eugene did not win the 2019 track and field world championships.

That it came within a swing of two votes, however — losing in the second round of voting to Doha, 15-12 — has to be seen as an encouraging sign on multiple fronts for U.S. interests, and in particular for USA Track & Field and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

IOC president Thomas Bach with selected athletes to promote the 20+20 recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020 // photo courtesy IOC

IOC president Thomas Bach with selected athletes to promote the 20+20 recommendations of Olympic Agenda 2020 // photo courtesy IOC

IOC

Olympic channel and 39 more bullet points

MONACO — Of the 40 recommendations the International Olympic Committee made public Tuesday after a year-long study, there’s one, and perhaps one only, that is a game-changer. The rest would appear to be absolutely well-meaning but let’s-wait-and-see how they play out in practice.

The difference maker? The creation of an Olympic channel.

_F2_4608

Track and field

From the heart, Doha wins for 2019

MONACO — Qatar’s Mutaz Essa Barshim is just 23, a bronze medalist in the men’s high jump at the London 2012 Olympics, silver medalist in the event at the 2013 world championships, gold medalist at the 2014 world indoor championships.

Speaking here Tuesday with real passion and soul to the 27 members of the ruling council of international track and field’s governing body, the IAAF, Barshim said, on behalf of Doha’s bid for the 2019 world championships, “Are you willing to expand the sport that we love?”

ANOC boss Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah after the gala with, among others, American gold medalist and activist Donna De Varona (far right)

ANOC boss Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah after the gala with, among others, American gold medalist and activist Donna De Varona (far right)

IOC

Sheikh Ahmad at ANOC gala: “Our job is to make dreams come true”

BANGKOK — Far too often, Olympic meetings are tedious affairs in which reports that have already been passed out well ahead of time are then read out from the lectern, word for word, to those seated at banks of tables below. Little wonder time sometimes seems as if it is passing like molasses.

And then there is an affair like the more than 200-nation Assn. of National Olympic Committee meeting here in Bangkok, headed by the charismatic Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah of Kuwait, punctuated by Friday night’s first ANOC gala awards dinner, which may yet assume the role — which it clearly aims to be — of the Oscars of the Olympic sports world. Here was an assembly that, mostly, got it right. Starting with a focus on the athletes.