In partnership with:
Not just what's happening in and around the Olympic Movement and International Sports but what it all means.
The new Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, is a track and field-specific venue.
Without the U.S. Olympic track and field Trials in 2020, and then the world track and field championships in 2021, what would you would have in the new Hayward?
A complete albatross.
So — lack of surprise — USA Track & FIeld on Thursday announced the Trials are heading back to Eugene in 2020.
From the time we crawled out of the muck and mire, we human beings have told each other stories. It’s the way we make sense of our world. It’s also the way we give voice to our hopes and dreams.
The International Olympic Committee, for reasons that mystify, does not know how to tell a story.
This is why, yet again, it is getting its ass kicked in the candidature process, now for the 2026 Winter Games. Two cities are already out. Five remain in but none definitively.
Pardon the bluntness but, really. This does not need to be this way.
Suddenly we have two — two — top athletes out of this week's U.S. swimming national championships. For doping-related reasons.
What will Lilly King say?
Ryan Lochte got himself suspended Monday, again, this time for 14 months, and every time one thinks the Ryan Lochte story has taken a weird-enough twist it just gets weirder.
And then there is Madisyn Cox, who is out for two years and whose case bears remarkable similarities to that of the Russian Yulia Efimova. That's right. The same Efimova who King decided to make the villain in a Cold War-style doping drama that far too many people lapped up as if it was Rocky and Ivan Drago.
Imagine the glee this week elsewhere, and particularly in Russian media. Two Americans! This is where, again, it's useful to remember that as an American athlete on the world stage a healthy dose of humility goes a long way.
Reminder: you don't see Katie Ledecky, ever, calling anyone out.
LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Thomas Bach has been president of the International Olympic Committee for nearly five years now, and one of his pet phrases is thus: “We have to get the couch potatoes off the couch.”
Prediction, and cue the screams of the traditionalists: the couch potatoes are very likely going to shape, perhaps significantly, the 2028 Los Angeles Games.
The esports revolution is coming, and fast, for it cannot and will not be stopped, and indeed the gamers are almost surely going to help propel a thorough and long-overdue review — if not, indeed, the start of a re-do — of the Olympic program. That next-generation program is coming, in 2028 and LA.
“It’s the passion that really gets us together,” Bach told 21-year-old Jake Lyon, a professional gamer for the Houston Outlaws in the Overwatch League, as part of a Friday and Saturday forum dedicated to esports.
A gold medalist in fencing at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, Bach told Lyon in a remarkable one-on-one, nearly hour-long breakout session Saturday morning at the Olympic Museum, both having shared on stage the emotion that comes with championship and victory, “We feel the same passion for your activity as you feel the passion for our activity.”
What if they held an Olympic-sanctioned swim meet and a white kid from Canada or the United States or Germany or Norway decided he would not even come near the pool because one of the other competitors was a black racer from South Africa? Imagine the uproar — that’s totally not OK!
What if they held an Olympic-sanctioned track meet and a Hindu runner from India said, no, not even gonna go onto the track because the young woman in the next lane is a Muslim from Pakistan. People would go, what — you can’t do that?!
What if they held an Olympic-sanctioned gymnastics meet and a teenage American girl said, no, not going anywhere near that balance beam because the teen whose feet touched it just before me was North Korean? The mob would be on fire, saying that’s not the Olympic spirit and, besides, what does such geopolitical tension have to do with a sports competition, especially one primarily involving teenage girls?
The three key Olympic values are respect, excellence and friendship. The entire Olympic notion is premised on fair play: no discrimination on grounds of race, religion, gender or politics. When the athletes of the world come together and connect, the ignorance and prejudice that too often fuels stereotype and misconception can fade away, yielding to the essential truth that we — human beings, each and every one of us — are more alike than we are different.
Yet for years, there has been one double standard that has emerged time and again. It is applied, and ferociously, to Israel and Israeli athletes.
LONDON — Keep it simple, stupid, Bill Clinton would have advised, and here is the problem with track and field, exemplified with this weekend’s first Athletics World Cup back at Olympic Stadium
This meet sought so desperately to be so many things — too many things — to so many people on so many levels.
Organizers tried to put together a world-class meet in about six months though the schedule of world sport is already jammed to the max, the calendar of track and field is itself a mess and, maybe, most of all, it’s unclear how a meet like this can draw the world’s best runners, jumpers and throwers in a way that everyone — and in particular, a wide range of athletes — can make money. Real money.
That last bit requires a further set of questions, all fundamental. Track and field is a professional sport. What is a reasonable payday? For a star? For someone who is in his or her first pro meet? For someone who, say, runs the open 400 meters as opposed to someone who runs but a leg in a relay? For someone who pulls double duty? Should the pay standards be different for track athletes and those in the field events?
Switching gears: who thought a trophy should cost $400,000, and why?
So many threads. Pull, and it’s clear why the tapestry of track and field is at once so beautiful and so frayed.
2020 Bid Cities,2020 Track Trials, 2022 Bid Cities, 2024 Bid Cities, 2026 Bid Cities, Archery, Baseball, Boston 2024, Boston Marathon, Diplomacy, Doping, Figure Skating, Gymnastics, Hockey, IOC, Istanbul 2020, Judo, LA 2024, Lance Armstrong, Los Angeles 1984, Madrid 2020, NCAA, NFL, Olympics, Pyeongchang 2018, Rio 2016, Security, Skiing, Soccer, Sochi 2014, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tokyo 2020, Track and Field, Uncategorized, USOC, Water Polo, Weightlifting, Wrestling, YOG
About Alan Abrahamson
Alan Abrahamson is an award-winning sportswriter, best-selling author and in-demand television analyst. In 2010, he launched his own website, 3 Wire Sports, described in James Patterson and Mark Sullivan's 2012 best-selling novel Private Games as "the world's best source of information about the [Olympic] Games and the culture that surrounds them." Read full bio.