Skip to content

And where do we go?

December 15, 2014

Earlier this week it was reported that five Track and Field events are under threat to be discontinued from the Olympic program. The events are the 200m, 10,000m, triple jump, shot put and one of the men’s walks (20km or 50km). My first reaction is that this is a shame and, it is. I imagine many casual TnF fans wouldn’t care too much if there were a few events taken off the table. The same thing is being considered for swimming and, as a casual fan, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to consolidate that sport.

If athletics was forced to downsize and become more relevant here is my take on the five events in question.

The 10,000m has seen some amazing championship races, Billy Mills, Lasse Viren’s fall, Geb vs Tergat, Mo Farah… It’s sad to think some of these fantastic races could never happen again. Except that there is talk of including a 10km road race in place of the 10,000m on the track. Perhaps that race could even finish on the track(?).  And, as the article points out, the 10,000m is rarely run these days anyways whereas 10km road races are ubiquitous.

If the 10km road race had big KM markers for splits that run off chips on the athletes and some neat features in the course, such as hills, it could be very entertaining. Perhaps more so than 25 laps around a 400m oval. Mind you, if it’s a numbers game then I doubt they would just switch the same bodies over to the roads.

Shot put doesn’t look that impressive, if only fans could pick up a shot and see how heavy those things are then people could really appreciate a 20m throw put. But in reality a 22m huck doesn’t look that exciting and there are more sports competing for attention these days than ever before.

Triple jump seems like a random event and I can imagine casual fans have a hard time relating to it. Long jump and high jump are straight forward and as kids many of us tried to jump over something in length or height. But did you ever try and hop, skip, jump anything in the playground?

If they took out one men’s race walk then there would be an even amount of men’s and women’s Athletics medals at championship events. To me, one of the men’s race walks seems the most obvious to cut for equality reasons. Not to mention 50km around a 2km loop!

If you cut out the 200m I bet the vast majority of 200m runners could gravitate towards the 100m or 400m and have equal performances after specific training. Perhaps cutting out the 200m doesn’t even cut out that many athletes seeing as many might compete in the 100, 400 and 4x100m anyways.

As much as its disappointing that Track and Field, as we know it, could be cut down maybe it’s what the sport needs to appeal to more people and stay relevant.  There are meets being discontinued around the world due to lack of money (sponsorship and fans), something needs to change and perhaps that means a streamlined event line-up? I’m sure there are many other ways to make athletics more appealing but this could be one direction to entertain.

In the end there are many more sports/events that should be cut before any athletics event if they need to make room at the Olympics. Athletics is rich in history and should have a permanent place in the Olympics.

***

Many people get lapped in the 1964 Olympic 10,000m final. No one has to get lapped in a 10km road race.

At the Sydney Olympics the winning margin in the 10,000m was closer than the winning margin in the 100m.

My personal favourite, 2009 Berlin WC 10,000m

 

 

A little update:

Over the past 5 weeks I’ve averaged over 140km/week and have been improving my workouts. Lately I’ve incorporated some shorter intervals (such as 500m, 1000m) and some strides. Every time I touch faster paces it’s a clear reminder that I still have a lot of work ahead of me. At the same time it’s encouraging because I see improvements from session to session. It’s been tempting to jack up my overall volume or jump into track workouts with the group but I believe it’s important to be smart with my progression, especially at this point in my build-up.

I head to Kenya tomorrow for five weeks. Kwaheri!

Advertisements
2 Comments
  1. Julie Gravelle permalink
    December 15, 2014 2:34 pm

    I completely agree……10k road race would be much more fun to watch….on TV at least….

  2. pyrad permalink
    December 17, 2014 1:11 pm

    Hmm… dropping events is a dangerous precedent, but I can see how many of these seem very niche and unappealing to the casual view (and hence advertisers).

    I would much prefer to see a 10k road race than dozens of laps around a track.

    But, if we’re going purely by popularity, does that we’ll see Spartan Races as Olympic events soon?

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: