USATF chief executive Max Siegel, left, and board chair Steve Miller

USATF chief executive Max Siegel, left, and board chair Steve Miller

Track and field

USATF bids for kumbaya, for real

INDIANAPOLIS — For years, USA Track & Field was arguably the most dysfunctional of the major sports federations in the American Olympic scene. Personality politics ruled. Budgets stayed flat. Almost every decision seemed to be met with argument or that more basic question: what’s in it for me?

As any business or management expert would affirm, culture change is maybe the hardest thing ever.

Dwight Phillips at last month's 2015 world championships in Beijing // Getty Images

Dwight Phillips at last month's 2015 world championships in Beijing // Getty Images

Track and field

U.S. track and field: a ‘monumental’ step forward

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.

Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Usain Bolt on the medals stand Sunday night // Getty Images

Track and field

U.S. No. 1 overall — in fast-changing world

BEIJING — With images of Jesse Owens and Luz Long on the big screens, Owens’ grand-daughter kicked off the final night of the 2015 track and field championships by presenting Usain Bolt his gold medal from the men’s 4×100 relay the night before.

This was, in a nutshell, the past and present of the sport. The future?

Nick Symmonds running to victory at the US nationals at Hayward Field // Getty Images

Nick Symmonds running to victory at the US nationals at Hayward Field // Getty Images

Track and field

Calvin Coolidge’s ghost: Nick Symmonds’ spirit animal?

The business of America, Calvin Coolidge once said memorably, is business. Who knew that the ghost of Calvin Coolidge might be Nick Symmonds’ spirit animal?

It’s all well and good that Symmonds, the middle-distance runner and provocateur CEO of Nick Symmonds LLC, wants to make money for Nick Symmonds. No quarrel there of any sort. But it would be helpful in the controversy over Symmonds’ forfeited berth in the forthcoming 2015 track and field world championships in Beijing if there was a lot more straight-talk instead of public posturing.