A task force reviewing the U.S. track team's failures at the Beijing Olympics has issued a report calling for changes in the relay system, the Olympic trials and the way the sport handles doping cases.
The nine-person panel, headlined by sprint great Carl Lewis, released its 69-page report Monday. The leader of USA Track called for a full review of the federation after the Americans won only seven Olympic gold medals.
Suggestions included shortening Olympic trials to five days instead of eight and a thorough revamping of the relay system after both American 400-meter teams dropped the baton in Olympic qualifying. The panel also said dopers should enter a 'rehab' program as a condition of their reinstatement into the sport.
Highlights, as noted by an USATF press release:
Based on its findings, the Task Force makes the following 10 Recommendations:
* Hire a professional General Manager of High Performance.
* Create a transparent, criteria-based Team Staff selection system.
* Restructure the composition of Team USA staffs.
* Shorten the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field to five days.
* Terminate the National Relay Program.
* Establish a comprehensive 2012 team preparation program.
* Target technical events for medal growth and develop those events.
* Create a well-defined Professional Athlete designation.
* Establish a more stringent anti-doping reinstatement system.
* Promote and foster a self-sustaining professional athletes' union.
My initial reaction? First off, this might be the first time in American history that management actually wanted the workforce to unionize--which, as a card-carrying member of the AFL-CIO, I think is a good thing, just unprecedented. Besides that, it looks like Logan's task force wants to get rid of a lot of self-serving bullshit, the kind that rewards those who play the good ole boy system to the hilt. Indy isn't DC, and the new boss have an easier time draining the swamp on the White River than others have with the one on the Potomac, but there will still be quite a bit of institutional pushback.