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.

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.

At the Eugene 2019 news conference: (left to right) IAAF general secretary Essar Gabriel; TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna;  IAAF vice president and evaluation commission chief Sebastian Coe; USA Track & Field chief executive Max Siegel; IAAF deputy general secretary and communications director Nick Davies

At the Eugene 2019 news conference: (left to right) IAAF general secretary Essar Gabriel; TrackTown USA president Vin Lananna; IAAF vice president and evaluation commission chief Sebastian Coe; USA Track & Field chief executive Max Siegel; IAAF deputy general secretary and communications director Nick Davies

Track and field

Eugene’s improbable 2019 bid: can it be a winner?

EUGENE, Oregon — It rained, hard, Sunday afternoon. Then, abruptly, it stopped. On Monday, no rain.

Was that random — or, you know, a sign from above that Eugene’s audacious bid for the 2019 track and field world championships is somehow feeling the heavenly love, too? Is this all just cosmic destiny, or what?

Norway's Petter Northug at the Sochi Games // photo Getty Images

Norway's Petter Northug at the Sochi Games // photo Getty Images

Swimming

The Phelps suspension: why the rush to judgment?

Cross-country ski champion Petter Northug was sentenced last Thursday in court in Norway to 50 days behind bars after being convicted of drunk driving. Which brings us to Michael Phelps, the 24/7 media spin cycle we live in and the rush to judgment that led to the significant suspension USA Swimming levied against Phelps for his recent DUI arrest in Baltimore.

What was to be gained by USA Swimming rushing to this judgment? More — what was lost by waiting?

Goalie Hope Solo before last week's US-Mexico match // photo Getty Images

Goalie Hope Solo before last week's US-Mexico match // photo Getty Images

USOC

Enough with trial by court of public opinion

Enough already with trial by court of public opinion. All around. We have courts — real courts, of law — to dispense justice. That’s what they’re for.

You can like Hope Solo, or not. But her case is not like that involving Ray Rice. The notion that the two matters are the same, or ought to be treated the same, or that the U.S. Olympic Committee ought to do something in the Solo case, and do it now, because of some notion of equality or of leveling the playing field in sports thoroughly and completely misses the point.