One of the big questions people asked after this year’s world championships is how track and field would move on without Usain Bolt. The legendary sprinter, who has been the headline name in the sport for the last nine year, is now officially retired. It is not just his performances that the sport needs, but the void created by his entertainment skills will be even harder to fill. Directly after the World Championships IAAF President Sebastian Coe told the Daily Mail that personalities have slowly become a rarity in track and field and we need more characters in our sport. I couldn’t agree more. Read more
Last month I brought to light a proposal for European Athletics to transform the decathlon and heptathlon into a new event: the octathlon. In criticising the plan I noted that it failed because European Athletics doesn’t have a clear idea of what they are trying to fix about the multi-events in the first place. Unlike European Athletics, decathlete Tom FitzSimons has a clear idea of the issues facing the multi-events and as a guest on his podcast this week we chatted about some ways to help the sport. Read more
In an era when coaches are searching out more and more objective data to evaluate training, master coach Dan Pfaff has been using more and more subjective data to assist him. Subjectivity has been given a bad reputation lately, but it offers many advantages to coaches: it is cheap, it is easy to implement, it saves time, and can often times be more accurate. On this episode of the podcast Pfaff joins us to discuss the role subjective feedback plays in his training. Plus, for track fans, we discuss some of the failure of the Diamond League’s new rules for field event athletes. Read more
The latest buzzword in athletics is innovation. Our sport seems to have taken on the Silicon Valley mantra “innovate or die”; if we keep the status quo we will become irrelevant. This is true to some extent, but if we look at how it is implemented our sport is often just changing for the sake of change and not necessarily making our sport better. The latest bright idea out of the establishment is a new change to the Diamond League:
In the horizontal jumps and throwing disciplines, all participants will now have three attempts, and only the top four at that stage will have a further three.
Benn Harradine is the Australian record holder in the discus as well as an Olympic and World Championship finalist. You can learn more about him and read his entertaining blog on his homepage or find him on twitter at @bennharradine. He is also well known for his creative competition kits (see below) and innovative ideas to promote the sport. Martin Bingisser is a hammer thrower, Swiss national coach and founder of HMMR Media. He blogs regularly here on HMMR Media and you can also find him on twitter at @bingisser.
Our sport has a problem: the Diamond League is banal and familiar. Every competition whether viewed live or through the truncated telecast, is predictable. Similar events with similar athletes wearing similar uniforms, just in a different venue with a slight increase or decrease in performance. That is the Diamond League as we know it. Read more
I am writing a piece for next week about how the Diamond League can improve presentation, but as I sat down to watch the last meet of the series tonight I once again got frustrated that, despite being a track and field event, the hammer throw has been excluded from the sport’s premier league. First and foremost this means we do not get a chance to showcase our extraordinary event to the world. But for that athletes it also means they lose out on a big payday. On Twitter during the meet Finnish hammer thrower Fredrik Fröberg laid it out in simple numbers: Read more
One month from today the IAAF will elect their next president. Two candidates are vying for the position: Lord Sebastian Coe and Sergey Bubka.
Both Coe and Bubka have stellar resumés that will surely push the sport forward. But sometimes it is a bit difficult to see the differences between them. Read more
After the first year of the Diamond League I wrote some very simple suggestions to improve the league as a whole, such as a consistent day on the sports calendar or more head-to-head matchups. Track and Field News again wrote about the need for the latter point this month. But now it is time to talk about how the field events can be improved in the series.
Patrick Magyar is the most powerful track and field figure in Switzerland and one of the most connected worldwide. As the director of the Weltklasse Zurich meet and CEO for the recent European Championships, he helps guide the sport in Switzerland. He also is working on the international level as the vice chairman of the Diamond League. He puts together a good meet, I’ll give him that, but I must say I do not feel entirely safe if the future of the sport is in his hands. Speaking to the German magazine Leichtathletik last week, Magyar didn’t hold back his thoughts on the future of athletics:
Long qualifications, competition procedures, complicated events – how do we want to have athletics in future? Must all events be held? We cannot avoid discussions about deleting some elements.
Earlier in the week we began our training talk with Vésteinn Hafsteinsson. Hafsteinsson runs the Global Throwing team and was best known the personal coach of 2008 Olympic discus champion Gerd Kanter. The first two parts of our chat centered on training and technique. For this final part we look a little at the politics of track and field and a few issues that are keeping the throwing events from growing even further.
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