The CHill Zone of T&F: Conway's View From the Finish Line

Bolt to run "Street Race" in Britain

Mar 18th, 2009
8:55 am PST

Apparently double Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt of Jamaica has signed on to run in a 150 meter street race in Manchester England on May 17. While some are excited about Bolt’s appearance in the city, I have to say that it harkens back to Jesse Owens racing horses following his quadruple Olympic victories in 1936.

Circumstances were quite different then, as Owens being an African American, had tremendous difficulty “cashing in” on his Olympic success in traditional ways. Then it was still difficult for Owens to get “good work” and so he had to resort to “side show” type competitions to try to earn a living. I would like to think that over 70 years into the future from Owens’ exploits, that track and field’s modern athletes would no longer have to participate in “side show” type events to earn a living.

More importantly, I would like to think that track and field as a sport would not have to resort to these types of events to market itself to the public. We have a great product. We need to stop slicing and dicing it to sell it. It is still the center piece of the Olympic Games and popular world wide. It can be sold “As Is”.

Leave a Reply