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USATF Release On Home Depot (morphing into TV rant)


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  • USATF Release On Home Depot (morphing into TV rant)

    Thursday, May 20, 2004

    Home Depot Invitational fields preview
    Olympic Trials, Olympic Games

    INDIANAPOLIS – International gold medalists Marion Jones, Maurice Greene, Gail Devers, Perdita Felicien, Eunice Barber, Adam Nelson, John Godina and Meskerem Legesse are among the many star athletes from nearly 20 countries who will compete Saturday at the Home Depot Invitational, the first invitational stop on USA Track & Field’s 2004 Outdoor Golden Spike Tour.

    Now in its second year, the meet will be held at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., site of the 2005 USA Outdoor Championships and 2006 IAAF World Cup in Athletics. NBC will broadcast the 2004 Home Depot Invitational live from 4-6 p.m. Eastern Time Saturday.

    Jones will compete in the Verizon women’s 100m and the long jump, where she will face among others Barber of France, the 2003 world long jump champion and heptathlon silver medalist. In addition to the long jump, Barber will compete in the 100m hurdles against three time world champion Devers and 2003 world champion Felicien of Canada. World junior record holder Legesse of Ethiopia will line up in the Chevrolet women’s 1,500.

    An Olympic Trials preview is on tap in the ADT men’s shot put, where the top four throwers in the U.S. – and, arguably, the world – face each other. Nelson is the Olympic silver medalist and two-time world championships silver medalist; Godina is a three-time world champion, four-time U.S. champion and two-time Olympic medalist; Christian Cantwell is the 2004 indoor U.S. and world champion; and “The Still Unknown Shot Putter,” who competed in a mask at the 2003 Home Depot Invitational and set a personal record in the process, has since then won the 2004 world indoor silver medal.

    The men’s 100m also shapes up as an Olympic Trials prep race, with defending Olympic gold medalist Greene, a three-time world champion, taking on 2003 world outdoor 200m sliver medalist Darvis Patton and 2004 world indoor 60m silver medalist Shawn Crawford. Greene owns the two fastest wind-legal times in the world this year (10.02 and 10.04) while Crawford has the fastest time under any conditions (9.86w).

    Other highlights of the men’s fields include: 2004 world indoor gold medalist Savante Stringfellow in the men’s long jump; 2000 Olympic silver medalist Terrance Trammell and two-time Olympic medalist Mark Crear in the Home Depot men’s 110m hurdles;
    Olympic champion Nick Hysong, American record holder Jeff Hartwig, world leader Toby Stevenson, and 2001 world champion Dmitri Markov (AUS) in the Visa men’s pole vault; and 2000 Olympic 5th-place finisher Kevin Sullivan (CAN), two-time U.S. champion Seneca Lassiter and two-time U.S. indoor champion Jason Lunn in the 1,500m.

    Top female athletes include: 44-year-old, 8 time Olympic medalist Merlene Ottey (SLO) in the Verizon women’s 100m; 2001 world champion Anjanette Kirkland and Olympic bronze medalist Melissa Morrison in the women’s 100m hurdles; multiple U.S. champions Kris Kuehl, Suzy Powell and Seilala Sua in the women’s discus; and 4 time U.S. champions Amy Acuff and Tisha Waller in the high jump.

    The fields in the 19 elite events held at the Home Depot Invitational include three dozen Olympians from 18 countries, including the United States, Australia, Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Congo, Ethiopia, France, Ireland, Kuwait, Jamaica, Japan, Malta, Nigeria, Panama, Papua-New Guinea, Poland, Saudi Arabia and Slovenia.

    A prize purse of $140,000 is offered for the meet.

    For a full, 28-page preview of the Home Depot Invitational, visit ... MediaInfo/

    The meet begins with opening ceremonies at noon. Athletic events include:

    Men’s long jump 12:10 pm.
    Visa men’s pole vault 12:20 p.m.
    Women’s high jump 1 p.m.
    --NBC airtime begins 1 p.m. Pacific/4 Eastern --
    Verizon womens’ 100m 1:05 p.m.
    Men’s 1,500m 1:16 p.m.
    Women’s 100m hurdles 1:27 p.m.
    The Home Depot Men’s 110m hurdles 1:37 p.m.
    Chevrolet Women’s 1,500m 1:47 p.m.
    Women’s 400m 2 p.m.
    Toyota Men’s 400m 2:10 p.m.
    Sunny D Intense Sport Drink wmn 800m 2:22 p.m.
    Men’s 800m 2:35 p.m.
    Men’s 100m, presented by adidas 2:48 p.m.
    ADT men’s shot put 1:45 p.m.
    Women’s long jump 2:05 p.m.
    -- NBC airtime ends 3 p.m. Pacific/6 Eastern –
    Women’s pole vault 2 p.m.
    Women’s discus 2:30 p.m.
    Special Olympics 100m 3 p.m.
    Women’s Olympic Dev. 400m hurdles 3:10 p.m.
    Men’s Olympic Dev. 400m hurdles 3:20 p.m.
    GailFORCE 4x100m youth relay 3:30 p.m.

  • #2
    Post Carson: Eugene

    Jolanda Ceplak startet in den USA

    Die slowenische 800-Meter-Europameisterin Jolanda Ceplak hat einen Start in den USA zugesagt. Am 19. Juni will sie beim Grand-Prix-Meeting in Eugene laufen, allerdings auf den 1.500 Metern. Suzy Favor Hamilton (USA) und Yelena Zadorozhnaja (Russland) sind zwei ihrer angekündigten Gegnerinnen. ... sp?ID=5540

    The women:s 1,500m is looking as hot as the men:s mile! All you guys are missing is Szabo!


    • #3
      Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

      By my count, that timetable calls for about 15 minutes of track competition in a two hour telecast. Given the short shrift that tv usually gives to the field events, you're looking at competition occupying less than 20% of the total air time. With that ratio, it would take four hours to telecast an NBA game. Do you think anybody would watch?

      What will they do to fill up all of that time? We'll find out Saturday, but you can bet that some of it will be devoted to a lengthy discourse on the state of the BALCO investigation. This has nothing to do with the competition that they are supposed to be telecasting, but that won't stop them, and if precedent means anything, neither will USATF.

      Again, look for parallels with other sports. Do you think they pop a BALCO segment into every telecast of a Giants baseball game? Of course not. The fans don't want to see that--they want to see a baseball game. What makes these guys think that track fans would rather see a piece on Kelli White than another race or two? We wouldn't, but we don't matter to them.


      • #4
        Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

        I'm not sure I wouldn't rather see some hard-hitting piece on White than I would another warmnfuzzy "up close and personal" bit of twaddle. Since those seem to be (sigh) the only options.


        • #5
          Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

          I guess the prevailing wisdom is that the sport needs TV exposure so badly that it has to let TV call the tune on scheduling, but I sometimes wonder if presenting the sport so poorly isn't actually worse than no TV at all. ????


          • #6
            Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

            They'll have to address the KW affair (front page USA Today today!), so we don't look like ostriches, but then then need to hype the events. There's REAL action going on and this drug crap is really starting to piss me off. Beaseball and Football rolls merrily along, but WE have to wear sackcloth and ashes?


            • #7
              Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

              I can't believe they have that stupid "unknown shot putter" gimmick again. What the hell does that do for the sport? If they show him on TV we'll look ridiculous to any civilian who happens upon the broadcast.


              • #8
                Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

                and they have already said it's Hoffa again! This ranks up there with the blue foam mascot last year.


                • #9
                  Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

                  I:m with you on that one, Garry. Present a great program JIT for the USA OT - where athletes have put in years of training, competing and development work to make one of three spots to Athens. I can not imagine this nonsense surrounding the Pre Classic.


                  • #10
                    Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

                    Pre is part of the Golden Spike Tour and that means a schedule that has to be crafted to meet USATF/TV production desires. The tentative schedule


                    shows about 25 minutes of action in what will be a 90-minute telecast. That's far better than HD's 15 in 120, but hardly paints a flattering picture of the sport as one of action and excitement.


                    • #11
                      Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

                      That Pre schedule is conducive to sprint and field audiences. Yes, the women:s 8 and 15, Bowerman Mile and men:s 5 are on the schedule, but I imagine the tv fading to black and then to commercial during the Kenyan romp in the 5km, and hype, old news from 2001 and the road back to glory surrounding the Bowerman Mile.

                      Recap from earlier IAAF article:
             ... 24750.html

                      "Athens - The sport of athletics needs to restructure itself radically to appeal to broadcasters and television audiences, with events that are shorter, reliably scheduled, easy to understand and which contribute to an overall ‘seasonal drama."

                      Personally, I can do w/o all the interviews at the conclusion of every event.


                      • #12
                        Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

                        It drives me crazy when every single interviewer asks the winner (right after the race), "How do you feel?"
                        A. They are out of breath and their brain is oxygen starved
                        B. How do expect they feel about winning?

                        WHAT IF . . . you waited 5 minutes, get an interview on tape to use after the next event, and asked them
                        1. How did that go technically?
                        2. What have you been working on in training?
                        3. What are your immediate future plans?
                        4. What are your short term goals? (we already know the long term goal, duh.)

                        Interview the expected favorite if he/she lost - what went wrong? how will you fix it?

                        Let's build some emotional investment in how this person does next time. Let's have some continuity from meet to meet. The OT should be a climactic event, physically and emotionally.


                        • #13
                          Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

                          >They'll have to address the KW affair (front page USA Today today!)<

                          I disagree. USA is a newspaper and this is news. The Home Depot meet is a sports event, and their telecast should be the telecast of that event, not a show about the state of the sport or any particular aspect of it--even an important one. Again, telecasts of baseball games don't include sidebars on BALCO's ties to Bonds, and if they do, the features don't come out of the time they spend covering the game. When a college football scandal breaks, they don't cut out five minutes of action from the next game so they can tell you about the scandal. We should be no different.


                          • #14
                            Re: USATF Release On Home Depot (morphing into TV rant)

                            I jus' love that Kirkland gal. Good Luck Gal


                            • #15
                              Re: USATF Release On Home Depot Meet

                              Track coverage needs action, action, and more action. Talking heads we don't need. There are more talking heads on TV than there are rotten bananas in the banana republics. Frankly, and without delay, we need a renegade TV channel. One that will take on track and field and not do it bodily damage. One that can step outside the box and go where no TV Channel has gone before: to the guts and gears of track and field. Track is not not a soap opera. It ain't a talk show. It's a sport, and one with and a history that most sports would kill for. It needs time and more time on the air, where people can run into it and discover it, and see all the great things that the die-hard fans know are there. It's time for a TV track and field revolution. "You say you wanna revolution..."