Barefoot Revolution

Feet Collage

If you are an fan of Track and Field, show your support by Tweeting “I support Olympic Athletes #SolesForSoul.”  And if you are inclined, please include a photo of your bare feet.

Sometimes it’s important to look at history to get a better understanding of where we are going. Of course future generations can always make drastic changes that create unintentional results, but most of the time flaws in the system are easily fixed with minor corrections. In 1978 the late Senator Ted Stevens wrote a piece of legislation resulting in a major change that created an organization to govern and oversee the Olympics in the United States so that this movement would not fall victim to cronyism and corruption and brutal competition for control amongst the NCAA and the AAU.

The Amateur Sports Act of 1978 provided a clear charter for the USOC. Furthermore, it declared the newly minted organization the steward of all things Olympic in the United States, including ownership of the name “Olympic” and “Olympiad” as well as oversight of all current and future national governing bodies. The act went on to say that the USOC will not receive federal or state funding. It will be run like a business. Whether intentional or not, the bill made one important provision to ensure the protection of athletes’ rights – 20% of all voting board members and committees must be active athletes. It’s unclear in my research as to how this provision impacted the initial structure of the USOC, but it did seem to encourage a committee based organization structure. A massive board of 123 members (I have, also, seen 124) plus a 20- member executive committee oversaw nearly every aspect of the organization. The convoluted mess of an organization chart seemed befitting for a non-profit with a mission to aid amateur athletes across dozens of sports and hundreds of events. As one might imagine, this organization suffered many setbacks. It was not designed for efficiency.

In 1984 Peter Ueberroth aggressively recruited sponsors for the Los Angeles Olympic Games. These games were the first privately funded Olympics in history. Mr. Ueberroth was so successful that the LA organizing committee ran a $250 million surplus. I’ve heard it said from multiple people LA’s success saved the Olympic Games. This new model provided the framework for the International Olympic Committee’s Tiered Olympic Partner program. These two evolutions changed the entire nature of the Olympic movement. The brand now had the money befitting such a storied and important movement.

Revenues continued to grow, but the organization didn’t mature with the growth. Complex business deals most likely overwhelmed the volunteers and athletes in charge of oversight, allowing for those in charge to wield more power without an intelligent check and balance. It didn’t take long before corruption and cronyism ran rampant throughout the USOC and many of the national governing bodies. As a result In 2003, a senate committee recommended ”drastic, far-reaching ” changes in the USOC. At the top of the list, the 124-member board should be cut to 9.

The staff, to be led by a chief executive, would run the show, reporting to a slimmed-down board of directors dominated by independent members of the “highest character and integrity,” and with “significant professional success and commitment to public services.” The volunteers would be largely reduced to a debating society, and that at a once-a-year assembly.

LA Times, Alan Abrahamson 6/20/2003

After the dust settled, the USOC looked and acted very differently. Yes, it’s a lot more efficient as a business, but something is missing – it’s SOUL.

The money involved in the Olympic movement is staggering. Many of the revenues are already locked in thanks to the revenue sharing agreement with the IOC. That agreement awards the USOC 12.75% of all television rights; that’s 12.75% of $4.38 billion between 2014 and 2020. It’s asinine to imagine a volunteer capable of managing even a small portion of this business, let alone an athlete with zero business experience. It does require true professionals to run this organization who have honed their respective crafts over years. But it’s equally asinine to assume that someone from another professional sports or for-profit business can begin to understand the purpose of the USOC. By no fault of their own, these outsiders can’t help but exploit athletes in the name of the “greater good.” This business is not about enriching the coffers of the USOC or earning your bonus. It’s about enriching the experience of the Olympic hopeful and providing support to the Olympian. The volunteers got that. So while they failed miserably at the business side, they would fight viscously for their cause, OUR cause. Admittedly, some were crooks, but even the crooks had soul.

As I sit here writing this, I’m fuming over the latest fumble by these “professionals.” Just this past week you announced that all athletes must wear USOC sponsor footwear on the awards podium. Do you know that most apparel sponsors of Olympic athletes place value on even the remote chance that one of their athletes will wear their shoes on the podium? Did you know that this rule diminishes the value of every US athlete in the sport of track and field? Are you prepared to compensate the athletes and the sport of track and field should sponsors begin to cut already tight sports marketing budgets?

This rule will have a long-term impact on Olympic athletes in the US, because these non-Olympic partners pay athletes when you don’t. The Adidas, Asics, Brooks, Li-Ning, New Balance, Nike,Reebok, Saucony, and Under Armor’s (and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few) are there for us when you’re not. No, I know you think you’re there for the athletes, but you’re not. These sponsors and the NCAA provide most of the direct support to athletes. Without their commitment to these sports, few athletes would be able to continue past high school.

It’s my hope that this doesn’t mark the start of an increasingly aggressive plan to restrict athletes’ rights. It’s my hope that it’s not too late. There are countless examples of tyrants exploiting the weakness of a large, fragmented groups incapable of defending themselves. That’s why it’s important for athletes’ organizations to grow in size, scope and influence, because if the powers that be are left to their own devices they will take full ownership of all aspects of the sport including the athletes.

As I wrap up I hope that you all see this isn’t about the soles we wear. It’s about the soul of the Olympics. The spirit of Olympism speaks about the struggle, but it doesn’t mean you have to make it more difficult for the athletes.

To track and field fans and my fellow athletes, I hope you’ll join me in posting pictures of your bare feet online as a sign of solidarity (on Twitter using hashtag #solesforsoul).  Bare your soles for our soul.

 

Comments

  1. Adam,
    This is dead on. I’m been involved since the late 70’s helping athletes reach their goals. Back then as today on of the biggest impediments to training was money and sponsorship’s. I thought it odd then, but even stranger now that it is still an issue. Back then working with athletes one of their biggest anxieties that were non competition related was how can I train, eat like I am supposed to and pay the rent. Over the years while things are still tight for many restrictions have made it slightly easier. However with the economy in its current state and dollars harder to come by, it is critical that athletes are able to have control of their destiny. I believe in oversight on both sides. I don’t want to see athletes exploited by sponsors or governing bodies. I know the fight isn’t just about shoes either. Swimming and other sports are facing the same restrictions. It would be curious what would happen if every athlete announced that they would not ware any USOC gear stepping to the podium. Would they take the medals away? It would have to start now of course to build pressure. If everyone said I’m going to stand barefooted, would the solidarity force the change? Part of the issue would be for the athletes sponsored by one of the approved companies. If they were to act as one, they too would be voiding their contracts. This creates a problem in uniting athletes unfortunately. And that perhaps is the underlying issue and the reason athletes have rarely had control throughout history. Athletes have made gains I’m not disputing that, but the power rests on the shoulders of others who traditionally have looked upon athletes as participants in the games which are put on for TV and those able to afford tickets. Athletes will have to unite along with others who believe in athletes first. Until that time perhaps, just perhaps being barefoot will have to do.

  2. I haven’t seen the official release on the sponsor-compliant footwear policy. Does it require athletes to wear official sponsor footwear on the podium, or does it prohibit non-official sponsor footwear on the podium? If it’s the latter option, then having an athlete receive his / her medal barefoot could be a good way to make a statement and draw attention.

    • Adam Nelson says:

      That’s a good question. If I’m not mistaken, I believe it’s a mandate to wear the official sponsor gear. It’s a business. And the USOC has a legal monopoly to run it as they see fit. Athletes used to have a lot more say in the decision making process, but I fear that this marks a trend towards exploitation of a defenseless group.

      • In terms of being a monopoly, I tend to view the NFL as an old Soviet-style dictatorship: remember when Johnny Unitas dies and Manning and a couple other QB’s were going to wear black high-tops? My God, the wrath of the NFL came down on them so fast you would have thought those QB’s had planned a terrorist attack.

        It’s sad to see how the IAAF, IOC, even USATF act. Don’t they see that more sponsors mean more money and more interest???? Besides, what real athlete eats at McD’s or dirnks coke everyday…..

  3. As the female winner of the first professional road race in June ,1981 (Cascade Runoff in Portland OR sponsored by Nike) I immediately received a ban from the sport. 4 days after the race I signed a contract with Nike on a table napkin at the Peachtree Road race in Atlanta for $400 a month. In 1982 I was selected to represent New Zealand in the Commonwealth Games in Australia and was required to wear Adidas uniforms. You were given your numbers to sew on the uniform ( yes that long ago) so I sewed mine on my Adidas uniform, showed to team officials and then promptly took it off and sewed onto my Nike uniform. They didn’t know until it was too late. I won Gold and refused to wear the Adidas warmup on the podium. In fact I chose to get up there in my Nike race outfit. I took a lot of flak over this from the media and my National federation but I was loyal to the people paying my bills. Sadly Nike didn’t return the favor. I was with them 12 years but they weren’t interested in keeping me on after that . I speak to kids all over the country and purposefully never mention Nike and have taken them off my resume because everyone assumes I am independently wealth and can do things for free. A sad commentary on our sport.

    • Adam Nelson says:

      I understand. I, and many other athletes, have similar stories, so I’m truly empathetic. Unfortunately, we rely on third parties to “professionalize” our sport. Sponsor companies have completely different goals than a professional sports league. For them, it’s about maximizing exposure for the products they sell.

      For what it’s worth, even this shot putter knows of the great Anne Audain. Your performances and your courage as a trailblazer for “professional” athletes are inspirational.

      Adam

    • Ann

      I read your book and raced in Boise. You are truly one of the great pioneers in women’s running.
      Thank you!

      Amy Begley

  4. I suggest that all the athletes wear size 22 shoes at the ceremony so that their feet look ugly.

  5. Bob Guild says:

    Great post Adam!
    Do you know what prompted this new rule? Having been a runner & coach & meet official & fan for 40 years, I realize that the AAU, and now the USOC often times solve “problems” that don’t need solving. I wonder what the pressure was for them to come out with this policy, other than the obvious one that they are the USOC and every athlete must represent the USOC well and do what they say.

    BTW … sad to see you not make the team, but what a World Class post competition interview with your World Class wife! It has been a pleasure following your exploits, and I hope you remain in the sport as an ambassador, mentor, and all around good guy. I can still hear you & the rest of the SP crowd grunting at the 2004 OT in Sacramento!!!

    • Adam Nelson says:

      Thanks Bob. That’s part of the problem. We have no direct line of communication with the people who make the decisions at the USOC. This is a situation where the USOC has the authority to act unilaterally against an otherwise defenseless working class. From a business perspective, it’s in their (the USOCs) best interest to limit athlete input and voice. Their margins on their product are phenomenal – virtual free labor will do that. Could imagine what the NFL, MLB, or NBA would pay their athletes if there were no players’ unions? Probably something similar to what the USOC offers – as much as $25k for a gold medal.

      On the other hand, the USOC leadership is quite good a negotiating for their own benefit. According to an article by Phil Hersh, there are 83 employees earning over $100,000 per year at the USOC. The CEO, Scott Blackmun, secured over $900,000 for himself. My real concern isn’t how much they pay themselves, but how little they choose to share with the athletes who build the brand on which pays them.

      Adam

      • Bob Guild says:

        Adam,
        You have really hit the sweet spot with your Barefoot Revolution post. I love the various comments your post has sparked. As a lifelong T&F fan, runner (of moderate talent) and coach, who grew up in what I consider the Golden Days (graduated high school 1972 in SoCal), I have the same dreams we all have … that Track & Field in the USA would once again be a first rate venue for our first rate athletes. I am a totally biased fan(atic) – yes, I have 95% of my T&FN back issues since 1972 – here are some random thoughts;

        1. What is the draw of Track & Field. T&F is the purest of all sports. Who can run the fastest? Throw the farthest? Jump the highest? It doesn’t get better than that. You noted that apart from the Olympic movement, the SP & 10k have little in common … but if you get back to pure sport, who can run fast, throw far, jump high, then they have everything in common. On a side note, when I was in high school (distance runner), we ended the meet with the relays, and we always entered a foursome of milers & 2M vs a foursome of SP/DT in the 4×110. The sprint teams would kill us both, but at 4×110, the SP/DT dudes would beat us as much as we would beat them. Plus it was a blast for bragging rights!

        2. Where are we now? or .. What is the present landscape of sports in the US? The top tier is dominated by the Big Four team sports. A set schedule with a post season, climaxing in the Championship Game. There is a fan base that comes from the team in your area, whether they are perennial contenders or not, who is on the team, etc. Then there are second tier sports, some team, but most individual. Tennis comes to mind because, along with T&F, it is a sport of individuals, and has a long season with various championships.

        3. Where, and when, is the global center of gravity of our sport? Right now, it is Europe, Jun-Aug. It is true that Apr-Jun is primarily a US emphasis, but because most of our top athletes are post college, the collegiate season doesn’t have the impact or visibility it once had.

        4. What does the T&F season look like, and is it marketed in a fashion designed to reach both the casual fan and the fanatic? It used to be there was a season (dual meets), a post season (Sierra League, then CIF-SS), and a Championship Meet (CIF, State meets, etc). Same in college. Now, in college, it’s some invitationals and Regional qualifying that just doesn’t engage a fan base. Fans love it when they know if “their” team is good or bad, and will they be the Champions this year? T&F doesn’t give it to them. Again, part of that is due to the individual nature of our sport, especially at the pro level.

        4. What is the pay structure? That’s a biggie. Again, we look at tennis, where the top names are (comparatively) bajillionaires, while those outside the top tier struggle for a living. Team sports are better defined, because their contracts, while partly incentive based, give the athlete a sense of financial stability, which in turn, allows him/her to train without holding down a second job. How I wish there was some structure in place, beyond what is presently done, to bring financial stability to our professional T&F athletes.

        5. Governing organization(s)? Unfortunately, governing organizations throughout the years have done everything BUT the two most important things … (1) take care of their most precious resource, THE ATHLETE, and (2) present the sport in a manner designed to showcase THE ATHLETES.

        One of my pet peeves, beginning with Coe/Ovett … lack of head to head competition. Part of that is due to the nature of our pay structure. Lose to a competitor, and your “value” at the next meet goes down. But could you imagine Federer & Nadal refusing to enter the same tournament (other than the Majors) for fear their “value” would go down if they lost? In this, you & the SP gang have led the way … no fear of meeting each other on a regular basis.

        Fans in any sport want to see the best going at it hammer and tongs on a regular basis. Think Evans vs Smith vs Collett vs Matthews in 400 in the early 70’s. Or you & Cantwell & Hoffa & Armstrong & Whiting today. If only …

        Anyway, I hope your efforts bear fruit. I am moving back to Sacramento after two years in South Africa, and would love to make a difference in some way, if it is possible. Keep up the good work!
        Bob

  6. Pat Connolly says:

    Great article, Adam! The history of governing bodies exploitation of athletes is long and tragic. Just a two examples:

    Jessie Owens, when forced to stay in Europe to compete and make money for Brundage et al, had to forfeit his “amateur” standing and could never compete again.

    In 1960 the US men’s T&F team was sent to Europe just before the games to compete (make money for AAU) in a meet in Switzerland then hearded onto a long train ride for Rome where many of the favorites to win–Harold Connolly, Ray Norton, John Thomas had lost their edge and the gold.

    In the early 1970s Harold and I along with other top athletes organized the UAA (United Amateur Athletes) to stand up for our rights but we were co-oped by the AAU when they put token athletes reps on their board. Now professional track and field athletes need a union of their own…..please show us old amateurs that you do have soul and stand for something other than greed.

  7. Miinus2 Movement™ says:

    Respectfully Mr. Nelson I disagree with the assertion that participants in the sport of Athletics have little control over “our” sport. The Olympic Brand was a carefully orchestrated strategy by a group of individuals with a vision to stimulate growth for a multitude of reasons. Their objectives no less honorable than the men who continue to develop the NBA and NFL brands but find themselves in the position of having to negotiate with their employees (athletes & coaching staff).

    Some years ago while training in southern California a well known sprinter speaking to a teammates said he would not compete in a race that did not pay his fee of $100,000. He explained this was his reason for not competing in the United States of America. Later prior to the Olympic Games I saw a commercial featuring Maurice Green and Marion Jones asking for support from the American public. These individuals rarely seen competing in the USA asking for support on behalf of Olympic athletes was no difference than the special interest groups that ask for donations for an obscure cause at the exit of Whole Foods Market. In marketplace of sports entertainment the athlete must deliver a product other than “support me because I have sacrificed and trained hard for four years”. Athletics has slowly and painfully diminished into a sport with little relevance due to an inability to develop the brand of Athletics to the American consumer. The athletes themselves have not campaigned for the American dollar like the sprinter I mentioned previously.

    The market potential in the USA far exceeds any capital gains generated in Europe and Asia. Yet the corporate culture prevails and athletes in kind export American product where the easy money is. I have spoken with several athletes over the years and some recently, which the common theme is “Show me the Money”. Imagine if you will, an innovative group of Independent Athletes developing a marketing platform for small business to advertise products and services at an affordable price. The men and women who have a dream to create a sports drink that will rival Gatorade or let people know about their accounting services require assistance also. Such people deserve no less support than an Olympic hopeful, or an aspiring World Champion. When will the day come talented athletes combine experience and skills to become market makers?

    Take the first step Mr. Nelson and gather those who travel across the pond to reinvest their prize money and time into supporting small businesses here in the United States of America. Tell your co-athletes to think for a few minutes about how they can support business start-ups, small business growth and job creation. Job creation for the ex-collegiate athletes and fellow students that are waiting for a business to be recognized so it can grow. Instead of devoting time to mundane tweets or pointless Facebook chatter, tell your fellow athletes to visit their local/regional Small Business Administration (SBA) office and ask about the people that need advertising or marketing support. Draft contracts with these small business so both parties are sufficiently compensated when a good strategy brings in the cash. Failure dropped upon the USA economy and with that fortunate circumstance the door of opportunity opened for those to which success was out of reach. The Independent Athlete (small business/sole proprietor) not the Corporate Athlete will create jobs in the new age of sports entertainment.

    “America has always been a creator” by LL Cool J

    So Mr. Nelson let us see what USA Track and Field Athletes can create.

    • Adam Nelson says:

      Yes, the Olympic Brand has been carefully managed since the 1980’s. And they’ve done a great job with it. It’s the second most powerful brand in sports, falling behind the World Cup in recent years. However, the movement has not just evolved over the years. It’s completely morphed from a cute, international non-profit spreading good will through athletic competition into a multi-billion dollar business. It’s continued do so by selling the legacy of the Olympic experience to generation after generation of Olympic hopefuls – hard work, dedication, and years of commitment will lead you to Olympic Gold. I get it. I’m a 3 time Olympian myself and fully appreciate it.

      However, the Olympic movement is changing. US Athletes are expected to run their Olympic preparation just like the USOC – as a private business. Some athletes are able to reap more rewards from the system than others because they compete in events that hold a higher inherent value. Incidentally, those events are the 100, 1500 (mile) and Marathon. The less your event resembles one of the big three the lower your initial market value. The scenario is slightly different in other Olympic sports, but the fact remains that we are all fighting for dollars from the same pie. A pie that was baked by the large governing bodies of the Olympic movement or the international federations without input from intelligent athlete representatives.

      You’re right. Athletes do sell out for competitions in Europe. Why? Because it makes good business since for a resource limited individual to work off the platforms that are already in place. Is it short sighted? Probably, but you’re asking an already cash strapped athlete to double down on opportunities that don’t exist in the US. Meets in the US fail for a number of reasons, but mainly because the primary stewards of the brand of track and field never reacted to the growing presence of professional football, basketball, baseball, golf, hockey, tennis, etc. Furthermore, we allowed these sports to steal our intellectual property such as “world’s fastest man”, “world’s greatest athlete,” etc. How often do you hear a tv announcer saying that’s one of the fastest people in the world on that field? Horse crap. That’s one of the fastest people in football. There’s a BIG difference. In business, if you don’t respond to a competitive threat it will defeat you. That fact alone reveals one of the greatest flaws of the industry. The system was never intended to run a professional sport.

      Athletes have tried to seize control on a number of occasions. Every attempt has been unsuccessful, because ultimately the Olympic movement sanctioned the “professional” athletes and banned them from international competition. Unfortunately, the perceived value of our sport is tied to the Olympic Games. But guess what? Things are changing. Social media empowers the once voiceless athlete to make a market. It’s ruffling a lot of feathers in the process, because it’s allowing the athlete to connect directly with the small business and activate locally. This could be a game changer for Olympic sports in this country as it might disrupt the market enough to free a larger number of athletes from the economic necessity of international competitions.

      I agree that the independent athlete will lead the way, but the system is beholden to the large corporate purse strings that pay our collective bills.

      Adam

    • It’s interesting that in many of these conversations, the one method of making money that’s not being discussed is competition-based money. All these ideas are great, but they only serve to reinforce the public image that T&F is an amateur (in every sense of the word) sport. It’s hard to convince outsiders, i.e., potential new fans and customers, that the training, dedication and skills of a professional T&F athlete are the same as an NBA player if they see athletes going on TV asking for donations. It makes T&F look like a quadrennial charity instead of a professional sport.

      Athletes don’t sell out to go to Europe – they’re following the job market! Ichiro didn’t sell out Japan to play in the MLB, he just went to where the best competition and the best money is. Europe and Asia is where T&F is most lucrative and most appreciated, so the question should be why does anyone (other than road racers) stay in America? It’s not “why have we lost them,” but “what have we done to keep them?” Looking at the competitive opportunities, we’re not doing a good job giving athletes a reason or incentive to stay. I can’t think of any other sport where issues of creative sponsorship have become such a focus of discussion. Other sports take for granted that you either (a) get a fixed salary for competing in a league, or (b) have a play-for-pay system supplemented by sponsors. As I’ve written before, take a look at tennis – outside of the icons (Federer, Nadal, the WIlliams’) the bulk of athletes’ take-home pay is their tournament winnings. Their sponsorship deals complement and are proportional to said winnings. What T&F lacks – from the perspectives of athlete finance as well as the credibility and prestige of the sport – is a professional circuit that offers financial incentives for athletes and sponsors alike. This circuit could be a league where athletes receive an actual salary (unlikely for an individual sport – again, see tennis or golf), or a professional circuit. Yes, there is the Diamond League, but the events are too few and far between – both in time and space. An American professional T&F circuit would build the profile and visibility of the sport; engage sponsors, fans and athletes; and give professional T&F athletes the opportunity to do what professional athletes do – make a living through competition.

      Bringing this back to the original post, the NGB and international governing body system cemented the amateur infrastructure of the sport, and as both of you pointed out, promptly fell behind the rest of professional sports. Under normal circumstances, the USATF / USOC would have paid for their mistakes (remember the American Basketball Association? US Soccer League? Vince McMahon’s XFL???). Unfortunately the combination of the prestige of the Olympics (especially in T&F), the guaranteed exclusive perpetual existence of the USOC and the constituent NGBs under the OASA, and the international cartel-like operations of the international bodies (IAAF, IOC) completely stymie any attempts to change the system from the inside or the outside. As long as these groups are the gatekeepers to success and money – via competitions and access to sponsors – there’s really not much we can hope to do besides continue on the dead-end brainstorm of more creative ways to garner small-scale sponsorships. Adam is dead-on about the game-changing opportunities we have in front of us now, because athletes and their advocates are able to communicate directly with fans and sponsors – the people who ultimately hold the dollars. If you want proof that we’re going in the right direction just look at all the restrictions Locog has about use of trademarks – not just the shoes, but the french fries, use of social media within Olympic Village, use of Olympic-related words by local London businesses. They recognize the power potential, and their fear is apparent. What they fear the most is what we want – to sever that link between sponsor and governing body and transfer that financial power into a link between sponsor and athlete.

      • Adam Nelson says:

        Great points George.

      • Miinus2 Movement™ says:

        There are literally millions of people in southern California that understand track and field athletes compete professionally; they just don’t do it in the United States of America. Competition based money will not be available if there is not an venue and audience to convince investors the sport is worth the effort. Anyone that believes the governing bodies of will capitulate to pressure from second tier athletes , well I have some Groupon and Facebook stock to sell you.

        Every sports that enjoys a major audience today “garnered small scale sponsorships” in their early years. Yet sponsors are not really difficult to attract for sports franchises that offer the public a memorable experience. Tens of thousands of Californians love track and field, ask anyone living in the Los Angeles. What prevents them from attending a track and field event is the 1.5 to 2 hours sitting in traffic sucks for a moderately fun sports event.

        The current format USATF offers is fine for Oregon Ducks or Jamaicans at the Penn Relays, but the American sports tourist demands more from the sport of Athletics than the European and Asian markets demand. It is hardly necessary to engage in “dead-end brainstorming for more creative ways”, considering the major leagues and Division 1 Universities managed to upscale their sports facilities to secure some market share. There are numerous options available starting with overhauling how track and field is presented and delivered to the American consumer.

        • Adam Nelson says:

          I couldn’t agree with you more.

          The events in track and field are only staged together because of our Olympic Legacy. Seriously, what does shot put really have in common with the 10k other than we share the same stadium? It’s likely that had the Olympics never been started and the concept of an athletics stadium been advanced, we would have a lot fewer events or maybe even separate venues for the various groupings of events: sprints, jumps, throws and distance.

          • Miinus2 Movement™ says:

            The project I envision proposes using mobile devices as the primary method of distribution. Imagine if you will Athletic events that can be followed with the same frequency as Major League Baseball (2 or 3 events each week), attendance at the venue is not necessary. Track and Field fans can view their favorite athletes throughout the week on their mobile device.

            I am a sprinter, however I see greater value in the early stages with the field events because of the target demographic. If you are interested Mr. Nelson, check into building a venue in which the primary athletic attraction is for throwing events. I believe a 4 to 6 acre site would suffice, what is critical is the theme and what sort of experience will draw in interest from children, young adults and senior citizens. Example would be to partner with a restaurant chain:

            YUM! Brands, Inc., together with its subsidiaries, operates as a quick service restaurant company in the United States and internationally. It develops, operates, franchises, and licenses a system of restaurants, which prepare, package, and sell various food items, as well as operates Chinese casual dining concept restaurants. The company’s restaurants specialize in chicken, pizza, and Mexican-style food categories. It operates approximately 37,000 restaurants in 110 countries and territories under the KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell brands, as well as approximately 450 casual dining concept restaurants in China. The company was formerly known as TRICON Global Restaurants, Inc. and changed its name to YUM! Brands, Inc. in May 2002. YUM! Brands, Inc. was founded in 1997 and is headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky.

            A group of athlete should be able to construct a deal with such a company if an ideal location was proposed. There are plenty of investment firms that could help put together a deal and help raise the money. Olympic athletes would not be necessary to sustain the business model because most Americans typically forget about the athlete anyway. The major league athletes are present in local communities on an annual basis, people know where to find them when they have money to spend on something fun.

            I don’t wish to overstate the possibilities with the sport of Athletics, just tired of track and field athletes chasing after a happily married woman. Leave her with what she has (World Championships & Olympic Games) and invest in what is available (the United States of America).

  8. Neill Clark says:

    Adam: I have long admired your athletic accomplishments but your insight, wit and intelligence are equally impressive. Have you or your fellow athletes that are affected by the IOC’s prohibition on athletes promoting their sponsor during the Olympics if that sponsor is not an Olympic sponsor, contacted antitrust counse? . If not, you should consider it. Athletes affected by this rule might have potential claims aganist the IOC, London Organizing Committee and the Olympic Sponsored companies for engaging in a horizontal conspiracy that has the effect of supressing the value of non-Olympic sponsored athletes’ contracts.

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