USATF board chair Stephanie Hightower after Saturday's vote

USATF board chair Stephanie Hightower after Saturday's vote

Track and field

USATF: 12-1 is one more than 11-1

The USA Track & Field board of directors voted Saturday by 12-1 not, repeat not, to rescind its December decision to nominate Stephanie Hightower for a spot on the IAAF council.

Meeting in Santa Monica, California, the USATF vote ought to put to rest the controversy that has lingered since the annual meeting in December in Anaheim. Then the vote was 11-1 in favor of Hightower following a 392-70 floor vote for current IAAF vice president Bob Hersh.

Luciano Barra, then with the Torino Games organizing committee

Luciano Barra, then with the Torino Games organizing committee

Track and field

USATF: a letter from Italy

A letter from Italy, from one of the most influential strategists in track and field, to Bob Hersh, currently an IAAF vice president, makes clear what many here in the United States fail to understand:

Hersh is an eminently decent man but his time near the top at the IAAF has come to a close. Hersh should realize that.

USATF youth division chair Lionel Leach

USATF youth division chair Lionel Leach

Track and field

The race card, and more, at USATF

For years, the U.S. Olympic Committee seemed to be bent on being destroyed from within by petty politics. Now there is a dissident cohort in USA Track & Field that is playing the same game, and, it has to be said, playing the gender and race cards.

A letter from USATF board chair Stephanie Hightower in the ordinary course of business prompted one of the most outrageous pieces of correspondence in recent Olympic memory, from USATF youth division chair Lionel Leach.

IAAF president Lamine Diack, left, alongside vice-presidents Robert Hersh and Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad at the 2013 world championships in Moscow // photo Getty Images

IAAF president Lamine Diack, left, alongside vice-presidents Robert Hersh and Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad at the 2013 world championships in Moscow // photo Getty Images

Track and field

Why Stephanie Hightower is up for IAAF council

Political and organizational culture can be a famously difficult thing to articulate. But as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart famously said in a very different context, you know it when you see it.

What’s coming this summer at the IAAF, track and field’s international governing body, is a “climate of monumental political change,” according to a memo sent out Saturday from the USA Track & Field board of directors. And that, it says, is why Stephanie Hightower, not Robert Hersh, is unequivocally “the best candidate for 2015 and beyond” to be nominated for the U.S. seat on the ruling IAAF council.

Leo Manzano at the 2014 USATF championships // photo Getty Images

Leo Manzano at the 2014 USATF championships // photo Getty Images

Track and field

USATF and the notion of homework

For years, the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Track & Field were the two reliable punching bags in the American Olympic scene. The problem at both was much the same: constant management turnover and an unwieldy governance structure, each encumbered by a board of directors numbering in the triple digits that created an environment rife with petty politics.

Over the past several years, both have turned it around. But with USATF in particular, there remains a dissident cohort for whom seemingly nothing seems to be good enough. Case in point: there’s a new, professionally produced commercial featuring several track-and-field stars, and it’s even airing on network television. This has to be a huge win, right? Exposure for a sport that needs it? For some, apparently not.