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

How About a Real World Championships?

Jan 23rd, 2019
11:32 am PST

It’s funny that one of the first things written about the sport in 2019 is about the addition of mixed relays to the World Relays event and to the World Championships. Funny, ha ha, in that they are being added ostensibly to make the events more interesting for “fans”. 

How about we make the World Championships really interesting by having it be about THE BEST track and field athletes in the world? My point being that it’s time to have a true world event and not the knock off of the Olympics that we’ve been running since 1983. The Olympics were created as a “feel good” global competition. As such, EVERYONE gets to send athletes – regardless of how good they are. The result is that the first half of each event is spent “eliminating” individuals that really have no shot in the competition! 

That’s great for the Olympics, but it’s time for us to have a championship that focuses on what’s exciting about track and field – head to head competition. So, to that end, I propose a Worlds where annually the top 32 individuals in each event are invited for the ultimate showdown/meet. No byes. No previous champion, Diamond League champion (worthless in most cases), or any other made up you get a free pass individuals. Pick a cut off date and the top athletes on that day are given the opportunity to compete in the World Championships! 

Would put our best athletes on the track (and field) during the season to get this year’s marks. There would be a reason for athletes to compete early season. Especially if the “tie breaker” for athletes with identical marks is their next best mark – or even third best if that’s what it takes. At the same time it would eliminate some of the brutal national meets that get rid of a lot of the world’s best talent BEFORE Worlds. Ensuring that the biggest meet of the season is truly the hottest competition of the year! 

Will some nations dominate events? Yes they will. But if you have 6/7 of the world’s best in an event then you should. Will some nations get left out? Yes, but THAT is what the Olympics are for. The World Championships will then become like those for soccer and basketball where the truly best are competing. Three rounds of exciting competition in every heat. The potential for “upsets” in every race. Our sport is at its best, when our best are competing. This is how you make your biggest meet of the year exciting.. Not by mixing up men and women in competition. 

Worlds would immediately become must watch TV. Wall to wall action. No days off kind of competition. And by the way, invite the top 32 relays as well. More exciting than boy girl boy girl. IF the goal is truly to make Worlds better and more exciting, this is the way to go. 

CAS Needs to Get This Right

Jan 5th, 2019
7:45 am PST

Perhaps the most important decision for the sport this year, will be made in March when the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) makes a ruling on the Caster Semenya case.  This matter has been ongoing for the better part of the 20-teens, with the IAAF ruling Semenya ineligible to compete because of testosterone levels much higher than those of women Read More...

Ten Predictions for 2019

Dec 31st, 2018
8:55 am PST

I'm going to start the new year right. One, I'll be posting more. Not as much as I used to because I'm coaching. But a lot more than I have since my illnesses/surgeries. That said, I'm going to start with my predictions for 2019 - the first being that it's going to be a fun year for track and field. We've got a whole lot of new talent all over the track (& field) and many will be competing in their first World Championships Read More...

Six Matchups I’m Looking Forward To in 2019

Nov 24th, 2018
3:32 pm PST

  Ok. The 2018 track season is well behind us now as cross country and marathons dominate the landscape. As a matter of fact, the indoor season is right around the corner, which means that many athletes are already back grinding in preparation for the first of the upcoming three Championships ahead in this next major cycle Read More...

Bring Back the 100

Aug 19th, 2018
3:27 pm PST

Two of the sports most exciting events are the "mile" and the 100. I put the mile in quotation marks because there are two versions of the mile. In addition to the actual mile, there is the 1500 meters, often called the metric mile. That's actually kinda cool, because it provides some flexibility when meets are being put together Read More...

Pulling Up the Last Leg of 2018

Aug 10th, 2018
7:21 pm PST

This has been a very interesting season. We knew that it would be, given that it's an off year and off seasons are usually marked by change - and 2018 has seen lots. As a matter of fact, we're looking at a nearly wholesale revamping on the men's side. I can't remember this great a reboot since BALCO laid waste to the landscape back just after the turn of the century Read More...

The Sprints New World Order

Jul 22nd, 2018
2:53 pm PST

The "Old Guard" is officially gone. It took a long time as athletes have longer careers than in the past, but it still happens. The athletes that have dominated the world stage since 2004 have finally given way to the new generation of sprinters and hurdlers. When the next championship cycle begins in 2019, there will be a slew of new young athletes taking the podium Read More...

Future NOW

Jul 7th, 2018
1:23 pm PST

The US sprint corp has been aging for some time now. The world has been mourning the retirement of Usain Bolt, but the truth is that America's best for more than a decade are right behind him. Consider that our top sprinter last year, World Champion Justin Gatlin, was 25 years old. Remarkably his title came 13 years after his Olympic title in Athens! Our global medal hopes have been in the hands of Gatlin, Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay, LaShawn Merritt, Sanya Richards Ross, Wallace Spearmon, and a few others for well over a decade Read More...

Is Coleman the Heir Apparent?

Mar 14th, 2018
7:50 am PST

Christian Coleman has had a blazing indoor season. He opened with a WR 60 meters of 6.37 that had no chance of rectification because electronic blocks weren't used. He then proceeded to cruise 6.4s, on his way to the US Championships. There he shut down on 6.47 and 6.43 heat and semi before crushing the WR with a 6 Read More...

Usain Bolt v Carl Lewis

Nov 6th, 2017
11:51 am PST

A recent comparison of Carl Lewis v Usain Bolt by Michael Johnson - and the ensuing online discussion - has prompted this post. In part because I disagree with Michael, and in part by the direction of the online discussions themselves. I'll start by saying that for me, the conversation is about a comparison of the two athletes, NOT a discussion of which is the GOAT Read More...