When Max Siegel took over some three-plus years ago as chief executive of USA Track & Field, things were hardly all roses. For one, he didn’t come up within the sport. That meant, as the former long-jump champion Dwight Phillips, now the chair of the USATF Athletes Advisory Council, put it, “He wasn’t one of us.” That meant suspicion and scrutiny. Big time.
From the start, Siegel made it clear the federation’s financial picture had to improve. At the same time, he also pledged collaboration. On Saturday, in a six hour-plus meeting at the Indiana Ballroom at the downtown Marriott in Indianapolis, Siegel and other USATF officials, working in concert with the athletes themselves, hammered out a historic plan that ought to do nothing less than re-shape the conversation about being a U.S. athlete in track and field and, as well, perhaps re-invent the industry.