USATF board chair Stephanie Hightower at IAAF meetings this past July in Oregon // photo Getty Images

USATF board chair Stephanie Hightower at IAAF meetings this past July in Oregon // photo Getty Images

Track and field

USATF voices: a call for passion, civility and common sense

Eight years. That’s what Jon Drummond got Wednesday for multiple doping violations. Where are the howls now — and where have they been, because everyone had to know something of this magnitude was coming — from the athletes who filled the room just two weeks ago in Anaheim, California, at the annual USA Track & Field athletes advisory committee meeting, where Drummond was improbably still the chair of that very committee? There’s been silence, mostly, and that is just incredible. No, not incredible. Wrong. Where is the outspoken condemnation? For real? Where is it?

Contrast that with the criticism and anger that emerged from some, if not many, at the end of that very same USATF convention. The USATF board voted to put forward federation chairperson Stephanie Hightower for the IAAF council slot at elections next year despite a floor vote for Bob Hersh. This produced raw emotion. Why? Sexism? Racism? Petty personality politics? Some combination of all three? Or something altogether else? The intensity is all the more mystifying given USATF’s fantastic financial performance and the wholesale changes underway at the IAAF level.

The five rings in a scene from the 2010 Games in Vancouver // photo Getty Images

The five rings in a scene from the 2010 Games in Vancouver // photo Getty Images

USOC

‘America’s bid,’ whichever city it is

The U.S. Olympic Committee formally announced Tuesday it intends to launch a bid for the 2024 Summer Games, by now the news equivalent of dog bites man. It has been evident for months the USOC would be in the game for the Games. The issue is what city, and when the USOC will finally announce its choice from among four: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston or Washington, D.C.

In that spirit, it’s so interesting that International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach is now making plans to attend Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1 in Glendale, Arizona. Just imagining here: if you came all the way over from the IOC’s base in Switzerland to Arizona, wouldn’t USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, make for a handy place to ask all four U.S. bid cities to come for, say, a briefing on Agenda 2020, the IOC’s just-passed series of initiatives? Then again, if you were the IOC president spending a little time in the United States, of course you would meet with top-tier sponsors in New York — which would also do just fine, too, for a quiet rendezvous on the side with bid-city teams, right?

From the back of the room, almost at the end of the  127th IOC session in Monaco

From the back of the room, almost at the end of the 127th IOC session in Monaco

IOC

Agenda 2020 change: for real, or not so much?

MONACO — From the department of the obvious: no one spends $601 million over seven years unless they’re serious. The International Olympic Committee is dead-bang serious about the digital television channel its members approved Monday as part of president Thomas Bach’s 40-part “Agenda 2020” plan.

As for the other 39 components, which call for shifts in the bid process and the Olympic program? History and common sense teach that expectations ought to be tempered.

IOC president Thomas Bach  // photo Edward Hula III

IOC president Thomas Bach // photo Edward Hula III

IOC

Agenda 2020 goes 40-for-40

MONACO — To much self-promotion and -congratulation, the International Olympic Committee on Monday “unanimously” enacted all 40 points of president Thomas Bach’s review and potential reform plan, dubbed “Agenda 2020.”

The potential game-changer: approval of a digital TV channel. Other significant elements: shifts in the bid process as well as to the Olympic program.

IOC president Thomas Bach meeting the press in Monaco // photo Edward Hula III

IOC president Thomas Bach meeting the press in Monaco // photo Edward Hula III

IOC

Bach’s Agenda 2020 revival meeting

MONACO — Proclaiming, “We are successful,” International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said on the eve of a potentially historic session convened to consider a review and potential reform plan he has dubbed “Agenda 2020” that “success is the best reason for change.”

“If we do not address [upcoming] challenges here and now,” Bach told the more than 100 IOC members at the seaside Forum Grimaldi, “we will be hit by them very soon. If we do not drive these changes ourselves, others will drive us to them. We want to be the leaders of change and not the object of change.”