Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Why don't athletes compete?

Collapse

Unconfigured Ad Widget

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Why don't athletes compete?

    OK, I know some athletes aren't big on the indoor season ... or running consecutive weekends ... or whatever. But I still don't understand why track and field athletes, who suffer tremendously from underexposure, don't compete more than they do. Best comparison is boxing, where the big-ticket fighters have only 1 or 2 bouts a year, then go underground.

    Some of these indoor meets in 2009, for example, are a joke. Other than the Big Three American shot-putters, most of the other events seriously lack involvement from the top athletes from Beijing, and even those who didn't qualify for Beijing. Tyson Gay, Walter Dix, Bolt, VCB, Wariner, Felix, etc., etc., etc., where are they? Do they make THAT much money where they can sit home and pick and choose? Are they that "worn out" from competing last season (even after 6-7 weeks off) that they can't run a 55-meter dash (for the sprinters)? Are they that fearful of injury or tiring themselves for the outdoor season or not "peaking" for the Worlds?

    Bigger question: Why don't their sponsors demand they compete more often, if only to justify the sponsorship?

    An NBA player plays 60 minutes a night, then practices for 2 hours the next day, then does it all over again with games and practices, and when you toss in all the travel, he does more in 8 months than the typical track athlete does in 2 years, so it can't all be about fatigue, fear of injury, etc.

    Also, if these meets aren't offering enough scratch (that's money), what's the option for athletes? Sit at home and make nothing?

    Why don't others follow the example set last year by LoLo Jones, who competed heavily last indoor and outdoor season and still was at her best when the OTs and Games rolled around? (Having said this, Lolo is nowhere to be found in 2009 so far.)

    As usual, track and field is the big loser when this happens. Sorry about the rant, but when I saw the lineup for Millrose (pathetic) and Boston, I skipped the meet on TV and watched Kobe and LeBron instead. So much for the Olympic carry-over.

    Surely, someone with more knowledge of track than myself can weigh in here and defend the athletes, which I'm assuming most readers of T&FN will do.

  • #2
    Compared to many American distance runners, the schedules of the sprinters you mentioned look positively packed.

    Comment


    • #3
      Nobody is a bigger 'sprint" nut than myself. I couldn't care less about the 60. It means....0! When Jerry Sims and Craig Wallace can run the same time as Bob Hayes, Jimmy Hines...........

      Comment


      • #4
        Not wanting to be difficult here, but 6-7 weeks off puts you in a position where you have to start from scratch. No world class athlete stays in top competitive shape year round. Human physiology tells us at least two things. First, ample rest is required for optimal performance. Second, those NBA guys are not working as hard as you might think.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Why don't athletes compete?

          Originally posted by vip
          An NBA player plays 60 minutes a night, then practices for 2 hours the next day, then does it all over again with games and practices, and when you toss in all the travel, he does more in 8 months than the typical track athlete does in 2 years, so it can't all be about fatigue, fear of injury, etc.
          In the last 1/3 of a season, NBA players are actually less fit than in the first 1/3. Their vertical jump is lower, they have less muscle mass, and their joints are aching, due to all that pounding their bodies take during the season. But a T&F athlete needs to be in peak shape in the last 1/3 of the season, not beaten up and worn out.

          If they gave the defending champion NBA team a guaranteed spot in the following year's playoffs, and made playing regular season games optional, I guarantee you'd see them cut down the number of games they play by at least half, in order get themselves in top shape and stay healthy for the playoffs. Or at least have their top guys skip half the games.

          The injury equation is also different. A player can be injured for 2 months and still get paid their full salary, and the rest of the team picks up the slack. An injured T&F athlete doesn't get paid (except for endorsements) while injured, and the injury often sets them back to the extent that the rest of their season is subpar or completely ruined.
          Also, if these meets aren't offering enough scratch (that's money), what's the option for athletes? Sit at home and make nothing?
          Competing costs an athlete money. They normally have to pay for their own travel and accommodation (and maybe bring their coaches and other support staff, etc.). So if a meet isn't paying them enough in prize money and/or appearance fees, it's often more profitable to stay home.

          Competing also hinders their ability to stick to their training program. They can't train on race day, and they can't train really hard on the day before the race either.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Why don't athletes compete?

            I do echo your sentiment. I love the indoor season as much, if not more, than the outdoor equivalent and would love to see what VCB anc co. who are skipping the season could do. But, I guess their training programmes which have brought them success outdoors are designed with training during these early months of the year, rather than travelling and racing. They then may prefer to open their outdoor season a bit earlier than most athletes who've competed on the boards would. That's just surmising, though.

            Originally posted by vip
            (Having said this, Lolo is nowhere to be found in 2009 so far.)
            .
            Well, not quite. She's raced in Glasgow and Stuttgart over the past fortnight, running a WL in the latter.

            Comment


            • #7
              I would posit that the indoor season began dying when they instituted the outdoor World Champs. Before that there was only one major outdoor worlds every four years so in the other three there was no huge peaking reason not to compete regularly indoors. Now we have outdoor world champs three out of four years. When was the last time we had a significant indoor meet in California? In the '70s there were four or five big CA indoor meets every year.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Why don't athletes compete?

                Originally posted by vip
                Some of these indoor meets in 2009, for example, are a joke. Other than the Big Three American shot-putters, most of the other events seriously lack involvement from the top athletes from Beijing, and even those who didn't qualify for Beijing. Tyson Gay, Walter Dix, Bolt, VCB, Wariner, Felix, etc., etc., etc., where are they? Do they make THAT much money where they can sit home and pick and choose? Are they that "worn out" from competing last season (even after 6-7 weeks off) that they can't run a 55-meter dash (for the sprinters)? Are they that fearful of injury or tiring themselves for the outdoor season or not "peaking" for the Worlds?

                Bigger question: Why don't their sponsors demand they compete more often, if only to justify the sponsorship?

                An NBA player plays 60 minutes a night, then practices for 2 hours the next day, then does it all over again with games and practices, and when you toss in all the travel, he does more in 8 months than the typical track athlete does in 2 years, so it can't all be about fatigue, fear of injury, etc.

                Also, if these meets aren't offering enough scratch (that's money), what's the option for athletes? Sit at home and make nothing?
                1) Yes, those you mentioned ARE making that much money where they can pick and choose. In general, the ones you see running in EVERY indoor meet are not. Typically the elite sprinters and moreso the highest paid are running in only 1 or 2 indoor meets, if that.

                2) No one truly cares about indoor. Angela Williams won WCs in the 60. Where'd she place at the US Trials? Indoor doesn't make the sponsors money, outdoor and the exposure it draws does. Other than hurdlers who rely on rhythm, indoor doesn't do a ton to make or break a short sprinter.

                3) Outdoor meets pay very little in the US. Indoor meets don't pay more. The ones who aren't running (or not running a lot) are not hurting for money and are in a position to pick and choose. As previous mentioned, many have had plenty success without running intensive indoor scheds. VCB hasn't run indoors for the past 2 seasons...making it a 3rd this year. I doubt she's "missing out one bit." When was the last time you saw Bolt on an indoor track? Fraser? Kerron Stewart? Tyson? Allyson Felix? Merritt? Wariner? I think you see where I'm going...

                Its pretty simple...by and large, most sprinters don't NEED indoor for anything more than a little tune up if even that. I'd say they don't owe those who "truly love" indoor anything and owe it to themselves to do whatever they think will line them up for the most important season, outdoors.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Well said sprintblox. To add to that, T&F really tests the limits of human performance. The NBA does NOT. Even though a race is only 60m long, the athletes burn at 100% of their ability and may be sore for days afterward. More recovery is required for distance races. Also a short taper is required if an athlete wants to preform well and not be "flat". That cuts into training time.

                  The top athletes most likely get paid appearance money and/or travel, but the 2nd tier and below are on their own.

                  An Olympic or WC medal is worth a lot of endorsement and appearance money plus prestige, and that trumps the periodic prize money from racing frequently. That is why El G. only raced something like 5 times in 2004, but won the gold medal. He had to be fully fresh and ready to throw down 100% of what his body was capable of. 98% doesn't cut it at that level.

                  Steve Scott told me and some friends that he raced too much and thinks he could have run faster and achieved more in terms of international placing if he had raced less. The "race whenever, wherever" mentality of yore is gone, except to those who are just running for a paycheck and no real plan for glory...

                  BTW: I disagree about the quality of meets. Boston m-mile was very good, pole vault was good, w-3000, w-5000, all good competitions, fast times and good marks. When records are challenged and races are fast and close, how can you say it is poor quality?.
                  [/quote]
                  In the sun with a popsicle, everthing is possible

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bad hammy
                    I would posit that the indoor season began dying when they instituted the outdoor World Champs. Before that there was only one major outdoor worlds every four years so in the other three there was no huge peaking reason not to compete regularly indoors. Now we have outdoor world champs three out of four years. When was the last time we had a significant indoor meet in California? In the '70s there were four or five big CA indoor meets every year.
                    No, the indoor season started dying a good 10 years before the WC. The attrition rate in the '70s was heavy.

                    Big-city meets that existed when I started during the 1969-70 indoor season that were gone just 5 years later (with nothing comparable replacing them):

                    Boston KC
                    Calgary Stampede
                    Boston AA
                    Athens Invitational (Oakland)
                    Seattle Invitational
                    Astrodome Invitational
                    Ft. Worth

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by gh
                      Originally posted by bad hammy
                      I would posit that the indoor season began dying when they instituted the outdoor World Champs. Before that there was only one major outdoor worlds every four years so in the other three there was no huge peaking reason not to compete regularly indoors. Now we have outdoor world champs three out of four years. When was the last time we had a significant indoor meet in California? In the '70s there were four or five big CA indoor meets every year.
                      No, the indoor season started dying a good 10 years before the WC. The attrition rate in the '70s was heavy.

                      Big-city meets that existed when I started during the 1969-70 indoor season that were gone just 5 years later (with nothing comparable replacing them):

                      Boston KC
                      Calgary Stampede
                      Boston AA
                      Athens Invitational (Oakland)
                      Seattle Invitational
                      Astrodome Invitational
                      Ft. Worth
                      I refuse to deal with facts . . .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        the top euro athletes do compete in euro indoor meets

                        it's healthy enough over here...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          There are, I think, two factors that combined to help kill off most of the U.S. indoor meets.

                          The first was that the Europeans basically ignored the indoor version of the sport until the '80s, so before that, travelling groups of European stars could be counted on to come over and do the U.S. Circuit. But in the ’80s there was a significant surge in building of banked 200m tracks in major European cities, a move that has left the U.S. far behind. So why would people want to come here and compete on an inferior oval? And similarly, if there was good competition to be had in Europe, why wouldn't some good Americans defect that way?

                          And somewhere in roughly that same time period, the value of the U.S. dollar against European currencies took a monster hit. All of a sudden, the dollar amounts being offered to Europeans couldn't bring them here and the amounts European promoters owning suddenly strong currency could offer to U.S. stars took some of them over there. There was a marked drop in the talent available on these shores.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Indoor meets have gone down. There is no motivation for the top athletes to compete in them. US meets pay chump change, which is probably why Lolo is running overseas. Some athletes feel they need indoor, most feel they don't need it. Plus, there is no indoor Olympics and there is not much coverage of Indoor World Champs. It just doesn't matter anymore. The medals are even crappy.

                            Six to Seven years ago you could go to Millrose and Boston and find all the top athletes. The 60 was hot, the hurdles were hot, the 200 was fast, and the top quarter milers battled for the inside lanes coming off the turn. I don't think todays contract pay much in bonus money for indoor meets. They used to, but I don't think they do anymore.

                            The face of track and field changes so much now. We never used to know who would dominate from year to year. This used to not be the case. As long as "so and so" was still running, you knew they would win.

                            Distance running is different. American distance runners are just now able to compete with other countries. Most still compete in indoor meets, plus Mark Wetmore has a lot of Distance runners, and Millrose is known for it's distance events.

                            I watch these meets because I'm a supporter and fan of track and field. But they sure are not as exciting as they used to be.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It's a shame really if the indoor season is fading. I really love the indoor season here and going to the meets is quite a different experience from the outdoors. There's a special atmosphere.

                              For one thing you're much closer to the athletes - it's more intimate, it's easier to see what's going on during a busy programme. Even if you are the other end of the track from the high jump you can actually tell who's jumping, even if you have to crook your neck to see the scoreboard. It's a lot more noisy in a good way and warmer and dryer if you've got a climate like Britain with lots of wind and rain.

                              Ok, you may not get all the big names, but in some ways it's more fun for a spectator than the outdoor meetings.

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X