In high school I loved track and field . The one sport where at times I felt at ease with myself. However once I got bitten by the martial art’s bug . That was it I was smitten. Track and fied though was the regimen that gave me strength and power to build my body. OK so there are some who’ll say lifting weights’ll go a long way as well . And I for one wouldn’t disagree with that at all.
But of all the track athletes I’ve seen over the years . And it’s been a considerable number even given the exploits of Usain Bolt at the Beijing Olympics. Where it can be said even though he was overshadowed by the exploits of Michael Phelps there in Beijing. Phelps’ own shortcomings since then has been tabloid fodder for the dailies acrosss the world. Somewhat ironic given the fact that Bolt as a Jamaican would be the one you would consider more likely to be taking a hit from a bong. But there again it’s somewhat disdainful to tar everyone with the same brush. No not really as Phelps was being an ass to begin with !
Back to the point of this piece. As alluded to track and field is a sport that I love tremendously and still do. However the sport itself here isn’t given the coverage that it’s normally accustomed to getting in Europe and in the Far East and on the African continent. Here however you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who could tell you the name of the members of the US men’s relay team on the 4x100m team in Beijing. As I said the sport isn’t really given any due attention until the Olympics . And even then it’s got to be because there’s a chance that there’s a competitor and contender that the country actually cares about. US Track & Field (USATF) does a poor job in getting the sport connected to the public at large. And the coverage the sport gets is merely a passing one here in the US.
At the collegiate level is primarily where the sport garners much of the attention and the interests of the public be enlarge. To say nothing of which many of those athletes are looking to take it to the next level on the professional circuit. Top track stars can make quite a decent living but when measured against that of the more high profiled sports . It pales into insignificance. However the likes of Bolt can make a decent sum when measured the added benefits of appearance money for certain high profiled track meets and the attaining of records. But it’s the off track earnings that can be enormous. And Bolt having garnered three gold medals in Beijing including the sprint double of the 100m and 200m in world record times made a name for himself around the globe. The third was added in the men’s 4x 100m again in world record time. And if anything he’s now the most recognized track athlete in the world. Something of a great accomplishment considering that before Beijing he wasn’t that widely known within the sport at the international level.