Even for a sport that is considered the oldest in the world, 2021 has become the year for the entire world of athletics.
A group of young, charismatic stars who broke world records organized the Olympic Games in Tokyo worthy of comparisons with the gold standard of the Olympic Games, the 1968 Games in Mexico City, which were immortalized by the legendary and courageous US team, and the launch of the Kenyan Games. The dynasty of long-distance running.
Athletes such as American hurdle runner Sidney McLaughlin, shot putter Ryan Krauser, long distance runner Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands, Jamaican sprinter Elaine Thompson-Hera, pole vaulter Mondo Duplantis from Sweden and Norwegian hurdler Karslien Warholthickm helped bring back Athletes. a place for yourself at the Summer Olympics. “Best sport on a variety of marketing, broadcast and social media metrics, as well as a group record.
“This is a golden generation,” said Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics, the international governing body for athletics. “I’ve never been so optimistic about the strength and breadth of what’s going on in our sport.”
This talent gives World Athletics what Coe said is “a challenge and an opportunity” as the sport prepares for the 2022 World Cup in Eugene, Oregon, in July. meaning will take place in the United States.
The success of the Hayward Field World Championships, and the scale and depth of the event’s legacy, are critical to not only expanding the sport’s presence in the United States, but also internationally, Coe said.
“I want all of our member federations to recognize that these are not just isolated championships, you know, and then we move to another city,” said Coe, two-time British Olympic champion at 1500 meters. Friday interviews for the Orange County Register, New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. “There are some opportunities here that we cannot miss.”
The World Cup, Commonwealth Games and European Championship is the summer of 2022 vacated due to the World Cup, which was postponed to November and December due to high temperatures in the host country, Qatar. The coming summer, followed by the 2023 World Cup in Budapest, the 2024 Olympics in Paris and another World Cup in 2025 at an as-yet-to-be-spotted location, will provide the sport with an unprecedented opportunity to raise its profile.
“The opportunity that has arisen is that in fact, for the next four years, we have athletics sitting in the spotlight in the most broadcast period of the year, and if I go beyond four years, I can perhaps say that within seven years, and this is an opportunity we must not miss, ”Coe said.
At the top of the list are the World Championships (July 15-24) at Willamette Valley College Campus, known for decades as Tracktown, USA.
“We must not miss this opportunity, Eugene, Oregon, next year is an important moment for us and we must be fully aware of that,” said Coe, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee and was president of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Committee.
“Every sport wants to go to the US,” Coe continued. “It is still the most powerful sports marketing medium. Every affiliate federation I sit with is doing their best to get into the US, and for good reason. This year we have such an opportunity. I believe this is pretty much a runway until 2028, and in simple terms, we must do everything in our power to achieve greater acceptance and penetration of athletics, not only in the US, but around the world. …
“But if you create this in the USA, which is still the center of athletics, but oddly enough, you still have athletes who are famous all over the world, but can still walk their cities anonymously. We have a really important role and work to do, and in my last communication with the member federations at the end of the year, I talked about the importance for all of us to make the most of Oregon for 22 years. ”
Coe, a former global ambassador for Nike, acknowledged the argument that for athletics to truly make a significant mark in the United States, it needs to increase its presence in major American cities, notably New York and Los Angeles, two countries. … largest media markets.
Nike, the main financial sponsor of USA Track & Field, was founded by legendary Oregon trainer Bill Bowerman and former Duck dealer Phil Knight. The company, and by extension, Eugene, helped American sports get through hard times, especially in the late 1980s and 1990s. But many have wondered if the American race has become too attached to Nike and Tracktown?
Eugene has hosted the last four Olympic events, eight of the last 12 NCAA Outdoor Championships. In 2022, the rebuilt, defrauded Hayward Field, the $ 200 million home that Uncle Phil built, will host the NCAA and US World Athletics Championships, as well as the Prefontaine Classic, the world’s premier one-day competition and event. the only stop in the US on the Diamond League schedule.
So how does this sport develop in the United States when all major home events are hosted by Hayward Field’s friendships?
“This is a challenge and you are absolutely right,” Coe said. “I wish we had more options to choose from other American cities that came to our table. We didn’t, and the US Athletics must make that judgment. I think we helped in some areas. ”
Coe said his organization sees the World Cup not so much as a 10-day competition, but as a long-term development project.
“I want World Athletics to have a project-based approach to this event …” he said. “Look, it’s important to create this place in the USA. As I said to the ecosystem, which is our sport, if we can do it right, or if we can definitely get a little more activity in the US sports marketing space. then it will help us to develop sports all over the world. ”
This marketing will center around a group of athletes, many of whom are just beginning to flourish in their careers, and who, according to Coe, have already shown amazing results.
“We have a great opportunity, both with athletes (USA) and athletes from other countries, to help us get this message across,” he said. “So yes, we also have a responsibility to them to ensure that we globalize wherever possible.”
Coe is one of only two people in history and the only one since World War I to successfully defend the 1,500 Olympic gold medal. Both of Coe’s triumphs came amid boycotts, Jimmy Carter’s refusal to allow American athletes to compete in Moscow in 1980 due to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and the Eastern Bloc countries that missed the Los Angeles Games four years later.
“Eye for an eye in ’84,” Coe said.
Coe has rejected calls for a boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February this year over human rights violations in China and protests in Hong Kong. The Biden administration has said it will not send diplomats or other senior officials to the Beijing Games.
This summer, the Diamond League will host two meetings in China. Nanjing will host 2023 World Cup Indoor
“I feel comfortable hosting our events there,” Coe said.
“There is no ambiguity in my beliefs,” Coe said. “I believe in two things: sport is the most powerful social worker in all of our communities. Absolutely. He does it 24/7. He does this more efficiently than any other activity. My second main belief is that, when used correctly, it is also the most cocky among international diplomats. I’ve seen it over and over again.
“Boycotts are historically illiterate and intellectually dishonest. The only people they harm are athletes. They are asking sports to take on the hard work the government has to do, and diplomatic boycotts are a pointless gesture. So I am happy that this is included in the protocol. ”
Coe said he worked with advocacy groups as head of the London Olympics organizing committee and used his organization’s leverage on working conditions to negotiate with local organizers and government officials in host countries of the World Athletics Competition.
“But I don’t forget, like sports, and it should not be tied to the realities of global sports and confronting cultural, social and political difficulties and challenges,” said Coe, a 1990s Conservative MP. “He also should not shy away from pointing out these shortcomings. But I would say that as president of the federation and also for a time minister of government, I have much more uncompromising conversations with sports organizations and governments around the world about what I expect in terms of human rights and working conditions when building our objects than me. would never become the politician or minister who usually pursues trade deals. Therefore, I tend to think that sports exacerbate these problems.
“I live in a world of practicality, where negotiations and discussions take place at all levels. I’ve rarely seen it pay off if you raise a drawbridge and are good at deciding that we can have our bilateral agreements, and we urge to sit there in intergovernmental conversations, but when it comes to sports, we sit and dance. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.
“At the same time, it in no way condones human rights violations, but sport is not an international panacea. He cannot do the hard work that governments often shy away from, and he cannot be used as a low-hanging fruit for meaningless gestures. ”