Saturday, June 23, 2007

National Championships: Open Competition, Day 2


In the men's 100m final of the 2007 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships Tyson Gay scorched the last 25m of the race to win in a time of 9.84. That such a fast early-season time was run into a .5mps (1.1185mph) headwind is every indication of what's to come later on this season, especially at the World Championships in Osaka: Tyson Gay is going to rewrite the 100m history books in 2007.

As for ESPN2's coverage of the meet, I can only say that it was hardly worth the hour I invested watching it. Truly mediocre. I've never seen anything as bad as what I saw last night. I've seen more exciting golf coverage. It's not that yesterday's events were boring – far from it. Shalane Flanagan kicked some serious butt like she always does. Torri Edwards' impressive comeback must have felt as good to her fans as it did to her. Watching Bernard Lagat outkick an overconfident Matt Tegenkamp just two hours after winning his 1500m semi-final was good theater.

Trouble is, the producers who covered yesterday's meet either don't know a thing about track & field, or else they are having to kowtow to the ESPN executives and "marketing gurus" so completely that they are powerless to cover a meet the way its supposed be covered. There's no other explanation as to why they can't seem to devote any more time to the coverage of a 5000m race than they can for a 100m race.

I really shouldn't be surprised. If you go to ESPN's website and try to find the link to their Track & Field page in their main menu, your search is going to be futile. You would think they could at least throw a link to track and field at the bottom of the "More +" dropdown menu, but I guess there wasn't any room left after they added links to the Bassmaster Tournaments, Cricket and Lacrosse pages. No, instead you're going to guess that ESPN's online coverage of track and field can be found on the Olympic Sports page and then wade through the yacht-racing coverage to find an article about track and field. That's the same kind of contempt they show for the sport in their TV coverage as well.

I urge every reader of Finish Line Pundit who cares about Track and Field to e-mail ESPN/ABC TV at this link and tell them how disgusted you are about their pathetic broadcast of the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships last night. Feel free to direct them to this post so that they can read an evaluation of their failing performance. They need to know that they are one of the main reasons there is little interest in this sport anymore in the United States.

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