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I don’t think the problem is too many events. I’d say the problem for the spectator (especially the TV one) is of too few – too many gaps when nothing at all is happening on the track. So concentrate the timetable, maybe at the price of giving athletes fewer opportunities to double up; enforce timing by stopping showboating. Personally I would have daytime sessions rather than evening ones but I imagine London almost completely dispensed with day sessions so they could sell more tickets. But why do they have a morning session, a gap, then an en=vning one? Why not afternoon as well?
Fewer rounds is going to hit countries with fewer athletes in their pool, and not having someone to root for at all does limmit many people’s interest. It also makes it much less likely that any individual athlete will get to the standard to compete at international level, and that may reduce participation.
And while stuff may well be going on in the field duing lulls on the track, for TV viewers any sense of a narrative in those is lost because they omit so much.
I would consider doing track and field events in separate sessions, and making the TV follow the whole of a field event, only doing one at a time just as we only have one track event to concentrate on. (At least for finals. You could have multiple qualifying events going on.) I guess you’d have to do the number-limited events first, eg LJ and TJ and throws, so the timetable doesn’t go awry, then do HJ and PV later.
One problem with changing the track size is that suddenly all existing tracks would need to be replaced. I can’t see that happening.
I find all the proposals good ideas but none that deal with the biggest issue. The fact that Athletics is built around an event that happens every four years, funding, sponsorship viewing numbers everything.
And we know why they won’t make certain changes needed, the olympics make the IAAF as a business the most money.
I find Coe irritating, arrogant and Machiavellian. Whether Bubka and one or two others might be worse is hardly what we are debating, is it ?
Well yes, that is exactly what we are debating, because if Coe wasn’t IAAF President someone else would be. In all probability that would be Bubka, a Ukrainian with strong Russian connections and sympathies. Russia would be off the hook and the IAAF would be nowhere to be seen on doping issues by now.
You only have to look at the presidents of world sporting bodies (IOC, FIFA, IAAF) over the years – Samaranch, Havelange, Blatter, Nebiolo, Diack – to understand that Coe is infinity better than likely alternatives.
On a Machiavelli index Coe is about a 2 out of 10. As cunning and evasive as an average politician, persistent but not very good at it and easily seen through. Of course Coe has actually been busy reducing his powers. Which is a very unMachivellian thing to do. The conference that he spoke at, which all the newspapers have reported as about 300m tracks and shortened Championships, was actually about governance and here is a snippet about it –
“Coe addressed the conference on the subject of sports governance and said that he had been forced to spend his first two years in office as IAAF President “securing the foundations” of an organisation shattered by corruption issues that had dogged it for years and remain the subject of a French judicial investigation.
He said that the IAAF is now an example for all sports in terms of transparency and ethics and that now changes, which included him giving up many of the powers previously attached to the Presidency, had been put in place he is free to address athletics’ external problems.”
Presumably you would prefer that he didn’t address Athletic’s problems or seek solutions because you like it just as it is? Fair enough.
My distrust and dislike of Coe actually goes beyond Steve’s for many reasons stretching back to Swiss Clinics in the 80s and his lack of personal integrity in his private life. That said, I also agree with Laps that he’s by far the best option available to the sport. Which is a pretty good indication of the parlous state athletics is in.
Moving away from Coe I saw this prposal fro the 2019 European Games:
European Athletics unveils initial ideas for new dynamic event set to debut at Minsk 2019
European Athletics has today unveiled its initial ideas for a revolutionary type of event that is set to make its debut at the 2019 European Games in Belarus’ capital Minsk.
Dynamic New Athletics (DNA) was presented during a Member Federations’ leaders forum held here today in Lithuania’s capital as part of the 2017 European Athletics Convention and Congress.
Libor Varhanik, a European Athletics Council and Executive Board member, and Marcel Wakim, head of new product development at European Athletics, outlined the key points on the national team-based competition that will combine male and female athletes.
DNA will see six 23-member teams compete in a total of 10 events across a maximum time of 120 minutes.
The final event, a mixed-distance pursuit relay known as the “Hunt”, will determine the winner with starting positions based on the number of points each team has accumulated throughout the previous nine.
The five other track events would be the men’s and women’s 100 metres, the men’s 110m hurdles, the women’s 100m hurdles and the mixed 4x400m relay.
The three field events, held in a head-to-head knock-out format, proposed are the women’s long jump, men’s javelin throw and women’s high jump.
Set to complete the line-up is a one-man and one-woman Mini’Athlon combined event, entailing running, jumping and throwing.
In accordance with the event programme, teams will be made up of nine women, eight men and six reserves.
I’m not convinced about this or the abundance of multi-sports competitions cropping up. With athlete funding dependent on success at World and Olympic level with additional income from Diamond League and a few other invitation events it’s difficult to see elite athletes taking on additional events.
Sounds barmy to me.
I enjoy athletics at every level from Olympics to YDL U13s but even I wouldn’t pay to watch that
The IAAF and now European Athletics seem hell bent in turning our sport into a circus.
First Coe talks about his souffle collapsing, and now we have European Athletics coming up with their offering of a side-show that will all be over in two hours.
It seems that those running our sport don’t think the public want to sit around in a stadium for hours on end. We don’t have an attention span much longer than the memory of a goldfish, apparently.
I don’t think it’s a point of whether the public have the attention span it’s whether the sport can be televised this is how the sport id going to grow….. they have to do something.
A sign of what’s to come?
My thoughts on the new proposals. In more than one word of course…
No system will be perfect. Lots of questions, but definitely a step in the right direction for me.
Yes, I am in favour in principle. The details will be everything as to whether it is a success or failure.
I’ve never liked qualification standards, SBs and PBs as the main basis for judging how good an athlete is and whether they warrant selection. To me a sport is about competition. Who you beat and who beats you and the significance of the event in which it happens. Hopefully the rankings will better reflect this aspect of athletics and encourage competition.
Whilst respecting the point of view I feel that Runningfree’s blog is searching for negatives which shouldn’t be there.
I agree with runningfree.
Its all very vague at the moment, and the devil will be in the detail.
I am sure everyone is agreed that having more head to head competition and getting people to compete more is right in principle so I totally understand where the IAAF is coming from.
There has been a lot of criticism about this on social media which I find odd when they haven’t confirmed details about how it will work. But I guess some people just want to moan for the sake of moaning.
Also one needs to remember that any proposals would need to be approved so I think we can discount any idea of major countries like USA; Britain; Germany; Kenya etc. not having control of who/how to select teams.
Let’s hold fire until the detailed proposals are out there.
Third attempt at posting (I hate the captchas on this board!)
As well as Runningfree’s very valid criticisms, I can see some additional issues.
Wil it tend to dissaude athletes from doubling events? If they need to get their ranking up in event A by competing in X events, will they also be able to do so in event B? This could mean smaller countries lack representation is some events they currently don’t.
Who will be the gatekeepers regarding entry into the qualifying competitions?
Regarding the proposed qualification system for major championships, All Athletics has been given the contract.
For many years they’ve produced their own weekly world rankings. You can see the rankings for 2017 here. I imagine they will just tweak this existing system rather than reinventing the wheel?
Whilst I’m not a subscriber of all-athletics.com I’ve ascertained some of how the calculations are made.
First of all, each event has a minimum criteria in terms of how many times you have to have competed in the calendar year to get on the rankings. I think it’s 5 performances for most events. However, indoor performances are counted as is the World XC Championship for the 10,000m ranking. It’s lower for combined events and endurance events where the opportunities to compete are fewer (e.g., 3 performances for 5000 & 3000SC and 2 performances for 10,000). Performances at similar distances can also count towards your ranking, e.g., 1000m for an 800 runner.)
Secondly, the scores used for ranking are averages (I think, for events below 10,000m, it’s the average of your best 5 scores.) The score for a single performance is weighted heavily towards the time/height/distance achieved, scored on the IAAF scoring tables. Then points are added for placing and the level of the meeting.
So, for example, for most events 1st in the Olympics or Worlds gets you 300 points, whilst 8th gets 150 points. First in a DL meeting gets 170 points vs 80 for 8th. First in a World Challenge meeting gets 100 points with 8th getting 40 and first in an EAA meeting gets 60 with 8th getting 25 etc etc.
There’s more detail on this page and the pages linked from it.
Will it help build a narrative across the season? I don’t know. It’s not a straightforward calculation that is being made so the more casual fan will undoubtedly be left baffled by it. Also, as it stands, with a minimum number of performances requirement it would mitigate against anyone making a late run for the major championships like Dina & Almaz Ayana did last year.
Regarding national championships & auto-selection by finishing Top 2 or 3 I don’t see it making much difference. The only thing that changes will be “do you have a ranking in the top however many by the end of the qualifying period” instead of “do you have the standard by the end of the qualifying period“.
Incidentally Steve, you’re not alone. I’m with you on many on the proposed changes. Whilst I’m no spring chicken any more, I’m significantly younger although I’m not part of the ‘attention-deficit generation’ this stuff seems to be aimed at.
Coe’s suggesting cross country could return to the summer Olympics in 2024
Surely that could only happen at the expense of the 5000 and 10000 track? And as a summer spectacle, to me it loses some of its appeal, though I would have to accept that for a lot of the world dry featureless XC is what they understand XC to mean.
EDIT just read the article – he suggests including it in the Winter Olympics, which would chime with my expectations of XC and not risk diminishing the summer running programme.
Well spotted Larkim, that’s the last time I take Wesley Bottons word for it!
The 2024 Games in Paris would be a "fitting time" to reintroduce cross country to the Olympic programme, according to IAAF president Sebastian Coe. Cross country was last included on the programme at the 1924 Games, also held in Paris
— Wesley Botton (@wesbotton) January 23, 2018
Including cross country in the Winter Olympics would make much more sense of course and would do a lot to improve the year round coverage the sport needs
Having said that, I see on another site (https://www.fastrunning.com/running-athletics-news/world/calls-for-cross-country-to-become-more-extreme-and-edgier/11524 )
“The 2024 Olympic Games in Paris would be a fitting time to see the return of cross country to the Olympic programme,” said Seb Coe, who also participated in Sunday’s Cross de Italica.”
So I don’t know which to believe!
From the horses mouth (i.e. IAAF)
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