1. Back in the 70’s they used to have standing long jump events at meets in Scandinavia. I’m pretty sure Al Feuerback ( a 70′ shot-putter) used to win.

    Getting US track commentary to basic levels of decency would help some too. It’s hard enough getting people to appreciate distance running; when the TV broadcast breaks away at the potentially exciting parts-and they always do it–it’s much harder.

    I don’t watch NASCAR or other car racing–do they break for human interest or commercials during exciting parts of car races?

  2. In the 80s there was an NFL speedy stars against US track sprinters thing on TV (can’t find it on youtube), including Carl Lewis and some other Santa Monica guys. 100m. The footballers blasted to the lead, while the sprinters maintained their technique, taking the lead around 35 or 40 or 45 meters, and finished well ahead while the ballers flailed. Different skill sets for different sports. They all have amazing speed (including some baseball players), its what they apply it to, and if they are willing to be knocked around or can hit a curve ball (and like being paid tens of millions dollars or prefer being paid in cool shoes 🙂 But sure, would be interesting entertainment.

    For some real entertainment: electrify the pole vault bar, light the high jump bar on fire, crocodiles in the first 25 feet of the long jump pit, lions chasing runners…real old school stuff…

  3. Brilliant.

    The average Joe needs to have some kind of reference point that hits home. My own experience….I was at the 7’s bar in Boston when the 2004 (8?) Olympics were being broadcast. Of course the the Men’s 10K final was in the middle of the afternoon. I walked to the bar and asked if they might turn to the Olympic channel (from the golf or ESPN). There was some grumbling from the regulars so I began pointing out the “players”; world champion, defending Olympic Champion, American hopeful etc. This made a small dent in their couldcarelessness. As the race progressed (interminably for the regulars), I suggested that this 6+ mile race would have a last mile close to or under 4 minutes. This got everyone’s attention. I became the idiot. “I don’t know much about running, but that’s ridiculous” announced the bartender who exchanged knowing glances from all. As the last mile approached, the pace accelerated and although I don’t recall the exact last 1600 (mile) split, it was around 4:02. The bar erupted. Even though they did not break 4, it was beyond their belief that this was remotely possible. The best part was that the crowd looked at me as if I had run that last mile. Pats on the back, atta-boys galore and hopefully they had a new found appreciation for what they just witnessed.

    1. I have a similar story. I was working at an LRS in 2008 when the Olympic 10K was on and a woman came in looking for shoes. Quite frankly, none of us wanted to help her, we wanted to watch the race, so I turned to her and started pointing out the players (the American, his best friend and training partner, the defending champ) and some of the tactics (“Notice how they get spread out briefly, and then come back together.”) Well she started to get into the race, too!

      Running, just like any other sport, isn’t boring if people understand it, but they probably need someone to explain it to them, at least a little bit.

  4. I don’t know about the comparison. The 40 is started when the guy goes. Needless to say a bit faster.

    But yes something more exciting then the Albuquerque meet. Pretty much an antiseptic version of outdoors. A pointless women’s 2 mile. And aneamic crowds. The whole meet seemed like something you watch more out of habit then anything entertaining.

    Again I don’t see why indoors can’t be in yards. Also what we’ve mentioned before…a smaller track where you actually race.

    1. Also, I think the guys at the NFL Combine get a running start in the 40.

      But to Toni’s larger point, yes, T&F should have the faster men and it would be nice to sort of “show up” the NFL by proving that.

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