Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Update/Project 30 Task Force


After much traveling and racing these past two weeks, I have gotten most of the week off from Brooks. I definitely am in the mood for some much needed rest before this next travel and competition phase.

I only have weights this week and one track workout this Friday.

I've had the pleasure of spending some quality time with my car, I spent a few hours after my last lift session detailing it. That's one of my favorite pastimes.

Later on tonight, my Nuggets are in town to play the Magic, I'm going to hit up the game, I have never been able to catch them play down here, I'm always out of town when they come to Orlando. The Magic have one of the worst arena's I've ever been in, I don't understand that, but whatever.

Another major event in USA Track and Field that I'm having trouble completely understanding is the recommendations presented by the Project 30 Task Force.

CEO Doug Logan felt that this was needed due to our "poor" performances at the Olympic Games. Which immediatley hits me as something I don't understand, there was not one Gold medal that Team USA should have won on paper that we didn't, and we got one that nobody predicted, but I guess we will over look that.

A few findings/recommendations that I feel a certain way about are:

* Excessive travel and poor long-term planning on the part of athletes, their coaches and agents appear to be the greatest controllable factors negatively affecting Team USA performance in Beijing.

To me, this is laughable. Excessive travel?, we are professionals and we all knew for years that the 2008 Olympics were going to be hosted in Beijing. This is a poor excuse. What I believe is the underlying thing here is that this task force believed that Olympians on the USA team competed too much in Europe prior to the Games. As a professional, you want to get paid for your services. You go to the Trials and pour out you heart to win a spot on the Olympic Team. I won the Trials, the most competitive competition in the World arguably and received a check for $5000. So you want us to sit at home and train for the Olympics, instead of going overseas where you can see that $5,000 check tripled in an appearance fee? I can't knock somebody who wants to take advantage of their newly acquired title as U.S. Champion and gain the appearance fees from European meets that come with that. So unless they plan on some sort of financial support like the other countries do, how can you say that because somebody wanted to capitalize upon their performance, as poor planning. Come to think about it, a lot of the Gold medal winners in the sprint events competed throughout Europe post-Trials i.e. the Jamaicans, who's trials were just as tough as ours in the sprints.

* Lack of communication between coaches and athletes, poor management of the relay pools and questions over which coaches were responsible for relays resulted in the 4x100m relay failures in Beijing.

Being on the outside of this looking in, as I was not involved in this process directly. I still feel a certain way about this. I am a firm believer that coaching had nothing to do with the 4x100m relay debacles. You can be coached very well, but things happen. If I would have fallen on a hurdle in the first round, can you blame Brooks for that? It's the individual runners responsibility to handle their business. Being present at almost all of the practices the relay had partaken in prior to competition, I saw not one day of "up to speed" practice. Who's fault is that, not the coaches. People were always sore or focusing on their individual events or whatever the excuse of the day was, and couldn't/wouldn't take part in the session. I'm very glad that I don't have to be a part of the whole "relay pool" thing. Hearing people complain about the possibility of not being on the relay because they finished 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th at the Trials was crazy. Let me go to the Trials and finish 7th, 8th place, I might not be able to get races in Europe, let alone make trips as a member of the Olympic or World Championships teams. Bottom line, blame the athletes, not the coaches.

* Inroads have been made into catching and punishing doping cheats, but more must be done to strengthen the anti-doping culture.

I can't feel any stronger about this. Drug cheats not only ruin their own image, they ruin the people that finish behind them careers. Think about the guy that finished fourth at the Trials, behind a drug cheat. He/she will never make up the experience or money they lost. Think of the Silver Medalist, who although they will get the stripped Gold Medal as a post audit, they will never get they joy of standing on the top position of the podium and hear their National Anthem played. At least USADA/WADA etc, don't sweep the drug charges under the rug like other major sporting leagues.

* American athletes as a group do not conduct themselves as true professionals, and USATF does not hold them to professional standards.

I need some more information on how they can just make this blanket statement. I don't know if this is to help us or if this is negative speak.

* Shorten the U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field to five days.

I thought that this whole report was done in order for us to send the best possible team to the major championships. With the trials being shorten to five days, I don't necessarily feel that this will impact me one way or the other, but let's think about two major athletes who are considered the best in their events. I can't imagine Bernard Lagat being able to pull the 5,000/1,500 double. Two rounds of the 5,000 and three rounds of the 1,5000 in five days? You talk about being susceptible to injury. Tyson Gay is the other that immediately comes to mind. He got injured attempting a 100/200 combo, which at this past year's trials were on the opening and closing weekends, now you want him to compete in eight races in five days. These are two of the very best in their event in America, so if the purpose of this is to send the best team, what's the likelihood that these two will be able to represent the USA in the Olympics where they have been ranked #1 in the U.S. in both events during recent times?

* Promote and foster a self-sustaining professional athletes' union.

I really hope to see this come to fruition. Several attemps that they have tried to foster in the past have either failed or not completely developed. Hopefully whomever this professional General Manager they plan on hiring will have some sort of gameplan.

These were just a few notes that I wanted to cover and I felt a certain way about. I haven't had the chance to talk to any other American runners to see what their view or opinion on the whole thing is. To me I believe they needed to find some sort of scape goat for issues that extended far beyond the track at the Birds Nest.

The thing that got me was how they put the stat out there that 3 of 8 women medalists produced season's best performances and 2 of 13 men's medalists produced season's bests. That might be the most jaded fact they found. They are comparing season's bests, which more often then not come from one-off races, to a competition which we had four rounds over the course of four days and the highest amount of stress imaginable. Payne was able to produce one of the two season's best, but his time was WELL off his personal best performance and had he been healthy last year, I know for a fact his season's best would have been faster than 13.17. Walter Dix was the other athlete, who ran sparingly last year.

That's just my two cents on this subject.......

Project 30 Task Force Quick Synopsis

Full Project 30 Report

7 comments:

LaLa said...

Love it when you get technical and passionate about the sport!

You're making it very hard not to make "I Heart D.O. The King" bumper stickers. lol

QT said...

Corporate crap exists in professional sports too eh? Sorry you have to go through this madness, such a buzz kill after an awesome trip full of wins!

Go on brush your shoulders off....

Aunt Celest said...

Very interesting, thanks for your
thoughts.
Aunt Celest

Ashley Vann said...

OMG. This dude is really tripping. Was this dude ever an athlete? But most importantly, who in the field supports him? His report if allowed to be enacted will try to control everything. I could see him scrutinizing shoe laces, if an athlete fell and lost the possibility of obtaining a medal. It's funny, but it is more scary than anything else, if this goes further. I think someone needs to form a petition or at least bring the athletes in on decisions and discussions about this matter because dude is power tripping to the ump tenth degree. Next he'll try and ban the coaches at Beijing for "poor performance." Dude needs to check the medal count. His sense will not make dollars nor increase productivity. I'm serious dude seems like a tyrant, get him out.

ejheat said...

You showed again, David, why you are so passionate about what you do and how much you care about track and field. This is why you continue to go ahead of your track competion. You are so intelligent and take the time to understand what your sport is all about and how to improve it. I really wonder how many other track athletes really took the time to read this report and actually think about how it might effect them. Probably, many of the other track athletes did not take the time to read this important document and really think about it and what effects it could really have on their lives. It goes back to a society problem that so many people have their heads in the sand today on so many issues and have no clue about what is going on around them that could have big effects on their lives. There are too many NFL players that do not even know all the game playing rules about NFL. How pathetic is this to make that much money and not even take the time to know the game playing rules. That certainly does not help you win a championship when 1 play could make the difference between winning and losing. The fact is that track and field and our society needs more people like you, David, who takes the time not only to be a true professional, but a person who truely cares and takes the time for other people, and what is going on in this world today.

I agree on just about everything you said, but getting a union just might not solve the problems. As you know, I am a baseball fan, but can not stand the MLB union. They have destroyed baseball with all these overpaid, lying cheaters, that have destroyed much of the game that I love. The sad part is now I see most past and present MLB players as cheaters because of the strong union coverup from the people running the union and owners of MLB. MLB will never be the same again and so many records are tainted now. If they did not have a strong union like they had, then maybe we would not have gotten into years of players thinking they would never get got cheating taking all those horrible performance enhancing drugs and steroids and lying about it, as well as, all the horrible stuff that happened in clubhouses and off the field in MLB. So, I am not sure track having a union will solve their problems. It could cause more problems. I am so glad that you feel so strongly about the punishment for cheaters taking all these horrible performance enhancing drugs. I know, David, that you do everything the right way through hard work, practice, heart, and incredible dedication to your sport. I am so glad and proud of you that I can watch you perform and know and trust that 100% of all your times and records are true by you competing the right and honest way. Also, the fact that you said not to blame the coaches and that athletes need to be accountable for their own actions is such an awesome statement by you, David. So many athletes and fans these days always want to blame the coaches for athletes failures. It is about time athletes start blaming themselves for their failures, start being accountable for their own actions, and stop being so self-centered and selfish. Athletes with talent,heart, dedication, hard work, and doing all things the right way is what wins championships with dignity and honor. Coaches can not get inside athletes bodies and help them perform and win. Coaches can only prepare them for their situation and motivate them to do their best. I could go on and on about this entire situation.
If we had more athletes like you, David, doing everything the right way on and off the track,field,court,ice,pool,etc.,we would not have all these bad issues to deal with ruining the good and positive things that people and athletes like you, David, do in your sport, community, and so many peoples lives. I would do anything for you despite all my bad health issues, and do my best to see you perform live in person again on that track over those hurdles because you do everything the right way, and the way you have helped me through so many of my bad days have meant so much to me and will continue to be so much help to me during my difficult times. I will do whatever I can to help you be the best, but the bottom line is that you have to go out on that track and perform your best to win. This is the bottom line because me and Coach E said so!!!!

Eric

Jalana said...

Two cents worth?, that was a whole dollar's opinion at the least.

I think this is my favorite post I've read on here. I've always wondered what your thoughts were on the track pro status in the U. S. vs overseas. So thank you.

C Lo said...

I mean seriously, could your body be any more perfect?