Nick Symmonds -"I'm Tired of USATF AND IAAF CRIPPLING OUR SPORT"
I've been sitting in on the new Facebook group created by Olympian and 4-time US Champ in the 800meters, Nick Symmonds, 'I'm tired of the USATF and IAAF crippling our sport' for the past few days like a fly on the wall. It's been fascinating watching the flood of support pour in as word of the group and it's message spread virally. As some top US runners joined the cause, notably Anthony Famiglietti and Amy Yoder Begley, there's been a conspicuous absence of some of the biggest US names in the sport supporting the cause (at least publically on the page). As commentator extraordinaire Toni Reeves brilliantly pointed out in his letter 'Dear Nick Symmonds' posted on his blog and on the group page: "Shoe company contracts for the very top athletes helps restrict the possibility of overturning the current system. With that money in hand, they don't have to compete often, and it makes no sense to opt out of a system which rewards them personally. This, in turn, removes star-power from any revolt, thereby neutering it. It would require a large defection of top name athletes to a viable alternative to convince the powers to change. And there is no viable alternative."
Nick Symmonds' primary concern is allowing all athletes to profit from sponsorships that want to promote their brand on the athlete's uniform or body, which the USATF and IAAF forbid at all meets that fall under the governance of IAAF's rule. Basically, all meets that a sponsor would want televised exposure for are off-limits. Since the group page went public a few days ago, the page has currently grown to over 5000 members and has become a home for many more grievances that are aimed squarely at the USATF and IAAF. Notably, the ridiculous rule of removing Paula Radcliffe's 2:15 WR in the marathon due to having 2 male pacers. It was this absurity that seemed to have pushed Nick over the edge and put his own neck out to make a change. I'd like to see all of his fellow professional athletes show the same courage and verbally back his cause. That means you, Ryan Hall. That means you, Kara Goucher. That means you, Galen Rupp.
For too long it seems there has been a bunch of injustices done to the athletes who make up this great sport. Let's not lose sight of who is truly responsible for being the torch-bearers and trail blazers for the next generation of US runners. This is Nick Symmonds, Anthoney Famigilieltti, Amy Yoder Begley, not the Board of Directors at the USATF and IAAF.