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Thursday, September 09, 2010

Sorry About the Jinx

LATE UPDATE:  The plot thickens.  IAAF president Lamine Diack just appointed Logan to the IAAF School/Youth Commission.  Interpretation: Diack wants to keep Logan around, and the job probably comes with perks for the rest of USATF, thus giving the Board of Directors reason to move with caution.

Earlier this week I assumed that silence was meaningful in terms of Doug Logan's job as CEO of USA Track and Field.  You may recall that in late July he was told that his performance needed to improve or he'd be fired.  Having heard nothing for quite some time, I said I thought his job was safe.

I just had to go and say it, didn't I?  Reuters reports just this morning that his fate will be determined this weekend at a meeting in Las Vegas.  The story also extensively quotes Carl Lewis, who doesn't like the meddling.
"He brings credibility, knowledge and expertise," Lewis told Reuters. "He understands the future and has a vision.

"They (USATF) were lucky he fell in their hands," added Lewis.
Lewis said for too many years USATF and its predecessors had been dysfunctional and run by "people who don't understand anything outside their own zip code."

"The sport is not even an also-ran in America," said the former sprinter and long jumper. "I can't believe they want to try and get rid of him.
Lewis has thought for at least 30 years that USATF is run by a bunch of jackasses, so nothing new here.  That Reuters specifically sought out Lewis for comment is interesting.  Lewis was one of nine experts hand-picked by Logan for his Project 30 task force.  The AP also has an article, also extensively quoting Lewis.

It sounds like Logan's detractors want improvement but not change, and we all know one is not possible without the other. Recall that Logan's predecessor, Craig Masback, was twice threatened in a similar way and came through unscathed.  But Masback abruptly resigned in early 2008, and speculation was that he saw the coming leadership in that year's elections as even more difficult to work for.

The most immediate change that came out of the Project 30 task force report was the cancelation of the National Relay Program, as it had done nothing for our relay performances and cost a lot of money.  Once that happened, Brooks Johnson retired.  It was his baby and cash cow.  He was very tight with new USATF President Stephanie Hightower and Men's Track & Field Committee chair John Chaplin (a man once described as "a douche for the decades").  Canceling the program was the right thing to do, but these people are nothing if not vindictive.  I suspect nothing would happen to Logan if these two didn't want it to happen.  Giving Carl Lewis a position of power and advocating for an athletes' union are two other things that are necessary for USATF to improve but guaranteed to piss off its power brokers.

What's On Today
The Notturna Di Milano, an EAA Permit Meeting, takes place in Italy.

Track on TV
Diamond League Zurich rerun, 1:30 PM on Universal Sports
Diamond League Stockholm rerun, 10 PM on Universal Sports

Around the Web
Runners' World Racing News has all the headlines, including the announcement of elite fields for the NYC Marathon

Shelly-Ann Fraser avoids a (stupid) 2-year ban, but exactly what will happen is still unknown

Sprinters on the mend: Asafa Powell and Walter Dix

Teddy Tamgho chooses a new coach

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