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how about first 3 don't go from the Olympic Trials?

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  • Daisy it is about the local comps. If you cannot generate local interest you will not get international coverage. That is why folks in the US did not get a lot of track coverage, and more swimming

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    • Originally posted by Smoke
      Daisy it is about the local comps. If you cannot generate local interest you will not get international coverage. That is why folks in the US did not get a lot of track coverage, and more swimming
      As far as i am aware there has never been much local interest in track and field in the US. What the fans in the US seem to love is seeing their stars kicking butt at the international level once every four years. In my opinion it matters little how good the trials are if the stars are not performing at the games themselves.

      The trials are an overture not the event. Without the main event the overture does not exist. At present the main event barely exists, as presented by NBC, so to worry about the overture seems a little like worrying about the decor on the titanic.

      Alternatively the sport is so niche that the only thing that counts now is to court the few fans that enjoy the sport at the local level. Are we at that point now?

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      • Originally posted by Daisy
        Originally posted by Smoke
        Daisy it is about the local comps. If you cannot generate local interest you will not get international coverage. That is why folks in the US did not get a lot of track coverage, and more swimming
        As far as i am aware there has never been much local interest in track and field in the US. What the fans in the US seem to love is seeing their stars kicking butt at the international level once every four years. In my opinion it matters little how good the trials are if the stars are not performing at the games themselves.

        The trials are an overture not the event. Without the main event the overture does not exist. At present the main event barely exists, as presented by NBC, so to worry about the overture seems a little like worrying about the decor on the titanic.

        Alternatively the sport is so niche that the only thing that counts now is to court the few fans that enjoy the sport at the local level. Are we at that point now?
        What about the indoor meets in the 60's-80's? I'm sure gh and others can detail/list them much better than I can (I went to the Examiner Indoor Games when I was 8 or so, just before it folded), but there were top level meets in:

        Vancouver
        Seattle
        Portland
        San Francisco (Daly City, to be precise)
        Oakland
        Los Angeles (up to 3-4 per year? LA Times, Sunkist, Long Beach)
        San Diego (2 per year: Michelob, and something else)
        Albuquerque
        Dallas
        Houston (Astrodome)
        Kansas City
        Chicago
        Cleveland
        Philly
        Boston
        New York (Millrose, Meadowlands, AAU)
        College Park, Md
        Toronto
        Ottawa
        Saskatoon
        A couple more in Canada I can't remember

        These allowed casual fans to see a great meet in their town at least once a year. And I won't even get started on college duals and such.

        I'm not saying we can go back to this. I don't see it happening, but it's wrong to think there wasn't a "local" meet fans could attend every year.

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        • dl is quite right. As I've said numerous times, anyone that hasn't already done so should pick up an old volume of T&FN--say, 1958 or 1961 or pretty much any other year in that period--and go through it carefully to see HOW MANY meets were reported. Every major city had an indoor meet (or two!) and there were a number of relay carnivals and good invitationals (many on the West Coast, but not all). The sport DID have a true public following back then--believe it or not. It was a very different situation from what we've seen in the last 25 or so years.

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          • Originally posted by kuha
            The sport DID have a true public following back then--believe it or not. It was a very different situation from what we've seen in the last 25 or so years.
            All this was before the NFL and NBA and NASCAR came into its own in the public consciousness. Their growth has been at our (and boxing and horse-racing, etc.) expense. I don't think it was a case of our 'losing interest' as much as their successful marketing.

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            • Originally posted by Marlow
              Originally posted by kuha
              The sport DID have a true public following back then--believe it or not. It was a very different situation from what we've seen in the last 25 or so years.
              All this was before the NFL and NBA and NASCAR came into its own in the public consciousness. Their growth has been at our (and boxing and horse-racing, etc.) expense. I don't think it was a case of our 'losing interest' as much as their successful marketing.
              Yup, that's pretty much taken for granted. I was just contesting the idea that t&f had "never" had much of a public audience. Historically, that's just not true.

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              • Originally posted by kuha
                Yup, that's pretty much taken for granted. I was just contesting the idea that t&f had "never" had much of a public audience. Historically, that's just not true.
                Shall i rephrase it to never in living memory? :twisted:

                But point taken, i was not really meaning never but thinking more of the professional era, c. 1983 onwards.

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                • Originally posted by Daisy
                  But point taken, i was not really meaning never but thinking more of the professional era, c. 1983 onwards.
                  The professional era started in 1978 (actually late 1977).

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                  • Originally posted by malmo
                    Originally posted by Daisy
                    But point taken, i was not really meaning never but thinking more of the professional era, c. 1983 onwards.
                    The professional era started in 1978 (actually late 1977).
                    I guessed as much, I went with the arbitrary first world championships as the start of a new era of open payment. Was 78 when the trust funds started?

                    Comment


                    • Under-the-table professionalism is as old as the sport is, of course; remember that it was money charges that drove Paavo Nurmi out of the sport prematurely.

                      If you want a seminal moment on when the tide really began to turn, it's Mexico City '68, with the adidas/Puma war in full swing and the famous stories of athletes getting shoes stuffed with cash.

                      By the early '70s, when the Pacific Coast Club and other clubs started full-summer tours of Europe, there was enough money available that many of the top athletes no longer had to have real jobs. Those guys were pros in all but name.

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                      • Originally posted by Daisy
                        Originally posted by malmo
                        Originally posted by Daisy
                        But point taken, i was not really meaning never but thinking more of the professional era, c. 1983 onwards.
                        The professional era started in 1978 (actually late 1977).
                        I guessed as much, I went with the arbitrary first world championships as the start of a new era of open payment. Was 78 when the trust funds started?
                        No. Athletics West. We were the first openly paid track and Field Athletes. Until then there was a dark market of shoe contracts and race payments. Once AW went public, the rest of the shoe companies escalated this new-found bidding war for athletes. Some of the contracts that people had were way out of scale with their credentials, it was that crazy. The Trust fund thingy was ridiculous from the start. Literally a joke. The money that made it into those funds and the prize money races that supplied them was a mere drop in the bucket - I'd guess perhaps less than a tenth of a percent of the available money in the sport ever made it to trust funds, and I might be generous with that number.

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                        • Originally posted by dl
                          What about the indoor meets in the 60's-80's? , , , there were top level meets in:

                          Vancouver . . .
                          Toronto
                          Ottawa
                          Saskatoon
                          A couple more in Canada I can't remember
                          You've omitted two that had a pretty good run--Hamilton and Sherbrooke. There was also a meet in Edmonton, one in Montreal, and I think perhaps one in Winnipeg as well, but they were not around quite as long.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by gh
                            Under-the-table professionalism is as old as the sport is, of course; remember that it was money charges that drove Paavo Nurmi out of the sport prematurely.

                            If you want a seminal moment on when the tide really began to turn, it's Mexico City '68, with the adidas/Puma war in full swing and the famous stories of athletes getting shoes stuffed with cash..
                            I watched Clancy Edwards put $8000 in his shoes before boarding a plane. In those days payments were made in cash and in American dollars. I once asked Dwight Stones if he ever had "C-note heel lifts," his response was "you bet."

                            The money that was earned in track and field in the PCC days paled compared to what was being earned when the road racing scene exploded in or about 1976. I may be off by a year, but I think that first prize-money race was the Cascade Run-off in 1980.

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                            • I could be wrong, but I have a vague recollection that the IAAF did not approve permit any payments to athletes until 1982. If I'm right, then everything before then must have been under the table. This is not to say that it didn't exist.

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                              • Originally posted by tandfman
                                I could be wrong, but I have a vague recollection that the IAAF did not approve permit any payments to athletes until 1982. If I'm right, then everything before then must have been under the table. This is not to say that it didn't exist.
                                You are incorrect. It was out in the open that we were being paid at AW. Everything else, meet payments, etc, was all under-the-table, all of it known to the IAAF, which could easily match Captain Renault word-for-word in the feigned shock department.

                                As far as the Trust Fund goes, I think you may be right when that happened, 81 or 82. You pretty much had access to all of the funds anyway, so it was a superfluous intermediary.

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