Can't we all just get along?
And there it was, all teed up, ducks in a row, ready, aim, fire for surfing to finally, finally, finally emerge from the shadows and take its rightful place as World’s Best, Most Popular Sport. The Tokyo Olympic debut would, without doubt, vault it over tired, old sports like running in circles or swimming in straight lines. The “flair” and “panache” would be undeniable. Spectators would see, feel for themselves what the 8k – 10k surfing fans dotted around the world have known for years.
“You can’t script this.”
Also, “It takes a tour to make a title.”
Alas, no crowning of a new king, no naming of a new Pope, occurs without palace intrigue and in a stunning move it appears that swimmers and track + field athletes have colluded in order to keep professional competitive surfing marginalized and confusing.
USA Track & Field is joining USA Swimming in calling for the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee to push for a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.
In a letter tweeted by the USATF on Saturday, CEO Max Siegel wrote that it would be challenging for athletes to “properly train in a safe and adequate environment” amid the worldwide coronavirus pandemic.
“We acknowledge that there are no perfect answers, and that this is a very complex and difficult decision,” Siegel wrote, “but this position at least provides our athletes with the comfort of knowing that they will have adequate time to properly prepare themselves physically, mentally and emotionally to be able to participate in a safe and successful Olympic Games.”
USA Track did not provide a timeline for a postponement, unlike USA Swimming CEO Tim Hinchey, who wrote to the USOPC on Friday asking it to pursue a one-year Games postponement.
That means the sports that accounted for 65 of America’s 121 medals and 175 of its 554 athletes at the last Summer Games are on record in urging, in Siegel’s words, “the USOPC, as a leader within the Olympic Movement, to use its voice and speak up for the athletes.”
The leader of the third sport that makes up the backbone of the Olympics — gymnastics — has sent a survey to athletes, asking for their thoughts on what the USA Gymnastics stance should be.
If those surveys are made public I know what they will read.
1) Losing sexy to surfing
2) Coronavirus pandemic
It’s a shame that running, swimming and soon gymnastics can’t be more magnanimous.