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  • #31
    Again, I say that this change would not turn people into fans who are not already. To do that, you need to add tackling, a ball, and plenty of stops in the action so that we can see endless replays of the last 5 second play at various speeds with plenty of critical analysis. The best thing we've got right now is the finish of the 800m at the Olympic Trials.

    And realistically, American TV has ensured that no American has an attention span of longer that a few minutes anyway. If football plays lasted 2+min, people would stop watching. So getting people to watch CC is pretty much hopeless unless an American starts to dominate the sport on a World wide basis - as Lance did for cycling.
    In the sun with a popsicle, everthing is possible

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    • #32
      Originally posted by gh
      for those who live normal American lives, meters is by and large a completely foreign language, and Americans aren't big on foreign languages. Keep people in their comfort zone. Why is that such a difficult concept?
      Oh, NOW I get it. Make them THINK they understand it, even when they don't have a clue. Reminds me of the time I tried to explain what cricket was to someone (not that I know all that much, but compared to her, I was a World Authority). After I explained the wickets and the 360 degree field around the batter, she looked at me with complete puzzlement. So then I said, it's just like baseball with really weird rules, because it was English. So she says, "Ooooo, it's an English sport, never mind." :wink:

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Run DMC
        Again, I say that this change would not turn people into fans who are not already.
        No one's expecting any radical change. However, I honestly do think that this change would make the sport more "friendly" for such casual (but important) spectators as runners' family members and friends. And, from there, the circle of interest might continue (slowly) to expand...

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        • #34
          With all respect to the many who will disagree with this opinion, I think we are busy highlighting one of the major problems in our sport, and it is exactly the opposite of the original thesis on this thread. Yes, I am Canadian and think in both metric and imperial, and have no idea how the "average" 'Merican thinks, but I do have more than a bit of experience of the promotion or our sport, on a worldwide basis, including the USA.
          And I think good promoters could attract interest to our sport, regardless of the distances being contested. We here are the geeks who need to have everything timed and measured and gauged and converted and adjusted.
          And so we think that must the answer. In fact, the sport is about intense competition between rivals at any distance. To the average sports fan, personalities matter more than measurements, at least measurements to the nth degree, as is our wont. Our few good promoters know that, and can easily drum up interest in events such as a 1K or 2K or 3K. Get their butts in the stands first, and a good announcer will take about 29 seconds to educate them about the distance being run.
          Blaming declines in USA track & field on the metric system is just a flat out excuse to my way of thinking. There are many possible reasons, but running 10K rather than 6 miles wouldn't make my top 10.

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          • #35
            I'd also like to think that there are still a significant number of general sports fans out there who read the agate section of their paper every morning (OK, that' a fading way of life too!) and when they see "Midwest Regional XC" and before the results it says "X kilometers" and their reaction is "ugh."

            That has certainly been my reaction for the last 25 years for when at the top of virtually any meet you'll find the qualifier, "all race distances in meters." Every time I see that, I think there's a significant chunk of the population that reads that as, "move along, nothing of interest here...."

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            • #36
              Originally posted by gh
              I'd also like to think that there are still a significant number of general sports fans out there who read the agate section of their paper every morning (OK, that' a fading way of life too!) and when they see "Midwest Regional XC" and before the results it says "X kilometers" and their reaction is "ugh."
              "
              I don't know what your criteria is for "significant" but if more than 0.1 % of general sports fans read a decent amount of the agate section of the newspaper I would be shocked beyond belief.

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              • #37
                Originally posted by kuha
                As long as US runners continue to quantify their race results by "mile pace," we remain hard-wired to thinking in imperial measure. Period.
                As long as U.S. runners quantify their weakly "mileage" this only makes sense.

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                • #38
                  Originally posted by dj
                  Originally posted by kuha
                  As long as US runners continue to quantify their race results by "mile pace," we remain hard-wired to thinking in imperial measure. Period.
                  As long as U.S. runners quantify their weakly "mileage" this only makes sense.
                  Yes, very true.

                  And, for the record, MY mileage is done weakly; the good runners, I hope, accomplish it somewhat differently.... %-)

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                  • #39
                    I think all here will agree that cross country courses by their nature are not conducive to exact measurement, all runners in a race will not run the same distance and the variance in topography, surface and weather render precise time comparisions between different venues largely irrelevant.

                    Most of the US is surveyed in a system based on 5280' miles. Most of the mid-continent is surveyed in a Township and Range grid, 6 x 6 miles, Many/most towns are laid out in mile grids. I believe the average American has a very good concept of the mile.

                    IMO, expressing race distances in miles/fractions may not create more interest but it will certainly not diminish it.

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                    • #40
                      This has been a fun (sic) little discussion, but like the 1600m vs. Mile debate, who here REALLY think there's a chance in H-E-L-L it's going to change back to Imperial??!! Yeah . . . I thought so.

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                      • #41
                        Originally posted by rasb
                        Blaming declines in USA track & field on the metric system is just a flat out excuse to my way of thinking.
                        Just so we are clear, this is not an argument about the metric system and the performance of US athletes, but rather the popularity of the sport amongst sports fans.

                        And additionally, a point which Marlow was apparently not able to comprehend, no one is claiming the metric system is solely responsible for this decline in popularity - it is one of a number of factors (PEDs, other sports, bad marketing/management, no Cold War, etc.) But to say that it has had no bearing on fan popularity is ludicrous.

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                        • #42
                          I know 20 people who were or are distance runners who can't name a single distance runner from the US Olympic team. These are probably the most informed people around. Changing from metric to imperial won't change interest. If Ryan Hall had won the Olympic Marathon and Teg won the 5k and Webb won the 1500, people might start to be interested. Without wins, it will stay a niche sport with little to no interest among non runners and only mild interest among runners. Nobody knows who the athletes are, so they don't care who wins - except in the Olympics because it is "Rah, Rah, USA" then. That is, until we lose, then they don't care anymore.

                          Another much better way to get interest is to cater to runners as fans. Ever been to a road race where they announced tickets for a track meet? Me neither.

                          Also, imagine if on TV they showed the hike, broke for a commercial, then came back to show where the tackle ended up in football. That is what happens in TV coverage of distance races. Not very interesting.
                          In the sun with a popsicle, everthing is possible

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                          • #43
                            "Run DMC" Why is the Marathon 26.2mi? "

                            It isn't, it's 42.195 kilometers

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                            • #44
                              Why doesn't TFN use the official abbreviation for kilometer? Even USATF gets it right much of the time.

                              http://www.usatf.org/calendars/national.aspx

                              Simply because "K" or "k" is often used, does not make it correct.

                              Metric Abbreviations

                              Abbreviation Unit of Measurement
                              b bit
                              B byte
                              C Celsius, Centigrade
                              cc or cm³ cubic centimeter (cm³ is standard)
                              cm centimeter
                              G,GB gigabyte (GB is standard)
                              g, gr gram (g is standard)
                              ha hectare
                              K Kelvin
                              K, KB kilobyte (KB is standard)
                              kg kilogram
                              kl kiloliter
                              km kilometer
                              l liter
                              m meter
                              M, MB megabyte (MB is standard)
                              mcg or µg microgram ( µg is standard)
                              mg milligram
                              ml milliliter
                              mm millimeter
                              MT metric ton
                              t, T metric ton
                              w, W watt (W is standard)
                              kw, kW kilowatt (kW is standard)
                              kwh, kWh kilowatt-hour (kWh is standard)

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                              • #45
                                Originally posted by ed gee
                                "Run DMC" Why is the Marathon 26.2mi? "

                                It isn't, it's 42.195 kilometers
                                I always thought it was 26 mile, 385 yards . . .

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