The oldest track & field blog on the internet

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Venue selection

I have been informed that next year's USATF Junior meet will be held in Columbus, Ohio on June 20-22. No official announcement has yet been made; this information came from a USATF official in what I can only call a "leak". I guess I now belong with the Judith Millers of the world.

After last year's USATF meet there was a lot of griping about the site and still more this year. Much of it was pointed towards the unpredictability of weather in the midwest. I think we just got bad luck in regards to rain over these two years--somehow they manage to get an entire season of baseball played every year in Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago and St. Louis. Besides, the heat, humidity and rain didn't stop the athletes from breaking several meet records (and one quasi-world record).

But some of the tone of the discussion was "How dare USATF move the meet away from the west coast?" Not only is that annoyingly snotty, but tremendously shortsighted as well. Track's fan base is undoubtedly strongest in the west. That base must be expanded. TV and other media is the most effective way to do the job, but moving the meet around the country helps as well. Thirty years ago NASCAR was a purely southern regional phenomenon, but they managed to figure out a way to go national.

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