The LA Grand Prix was a superb meet with some complications. The LA Grand Prix shows the promise of the meeting and the frustrations of many in the culture about how the meet was managed. RunBlogRun was Live in LA, and here are ten deep thoughts about the meeting.

The athletes continue to show that the sport has great stories to tell and great performances to write about. It was a fascinating meeting from the beginning of the events on Friday night until the Men’s 100 meters on Saturday; the meeting kept our attention.

Getting ready for your race, LA Grand Prix, photo by Larry Eder

The meet was only marketed in the three weeks before the meet, and yet, 4,000 fans paid $50 ticket price on Friday and 7,249 on Friday. I spoke with the fans and enjoyed their love and affection for the sport. If we actually promote the sport and charge human prices (our fans are mostly middle class), say $50 for a family of 4, we could fill up the stadium.

Clayton Murphy, USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix
Gold Label track & field meet
May 26, 2023, Los Angeles, USA, photo by Kevin Morris

Valerie Allman set a discus record at the LA Grand Prix. The Olympic champion is an icon. Valerie loves her event, yet many fans do not get to see her event. We need to change that. Valerie is a wonderous story; her talent and affection for her event must be seen.

Valerie Allman, USATF Distance Classic
track & field meet
May 26, 2023, Los Angeles, USA, photo by Kevin Morris

The World Record by Ryan Crouser was the highlight of the meet! Ryan Crouser is a shot putter and a bass fisherman. His story is understandable to most Americans, a guy who loves fishing and loves throwing a sixteen-pound steel orb. Give Ryan some love on TV, and have some fun with him.  Ryan gave us a fantastic interview, and he always does, when some athletes still have no clue that when they do not speak to the media, their stories remain unknown.

Ryan Crouser, USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix
Gold Label track & field meet, photo by Kevin Morris
May 26, 2023, Los Angeles, USA

The distance races, 5,000 meters, steeplechase, and 1,500 meters, gave many a chance to compete. From Abdi Nur, who did a great impersonation of Lasse Viren, falling down and getting up. Abdi Nur is a wonderful example of what is wonderful about our country, with such exciting new stars. Emily Lipari took the 5,000 meters, as the distance pocket rocket showed some serious wheels in winning the 5,000 meters and breaking Lynn Nelson’s 1987 Meet record.

Morgan Beadlescomb, USATF Distance Classic
track & field meet
May 26, 2023, Los Angeles, USA, photo by Kevin Morris

The pole vault, both Women’s and Men’s, are huge events in our sport. Katie Moon, Sandi Morris, and Alysha Newman entertained on Friday with so little light. On Saturday, several thousand stayed to watch Sam Kendricks and Mondo Duplantis clear 5.91 meters on Saturday at the end of the meet. This reminded me of Sergei Bubka clearing 19-6 at Bruce Jenner Classic in 1995, with 4,000 fans at the meet after all other events were done.

Sam Kendrick and Mondo Duplantis, Drake Stadium, photo by Wendy Shulik/Wendy City Video

A great success by USATf recruiting new media. The USATF comms team brought in young photographers and media specialists, including TikTok influencers. My only caution is that USATF needs to understand that traditional media (print and digital) are doing day-to-day coverage, and perhaps, in 2024, we have increased energy stips, redundant wifi, and some cold water and sandwiches. The media tent was totally full. Bravo to USATF. Again, the issues here can be fixed, and that needs to be noted! USATF got the best media coverage at the event ( I met with a German newspaper writer, global news services, key photographers and media services).

The photographers at the finish of the 100 meters, LA Grand Prix, photo by Larry Eder

Bobby Kersee is a brilliant coach and a pain, but he’s our pain. I love this guy. His heart is on his sleeve, and he always protects his athletes. I first chatted with Bobby in 1994 at the USATF meet about Ben Johnson, and he was painfully honest with me. The meet was fantastic, but the media focus on athletes who were not there could have been spent on athletes who actually competed. Bobby Kersee is responsible for several Olympic and World Champs medals each and every championship. I would just like Bobby to help focus his energies on building this meet. It would sure be nice if he could play better with others ( I am not making this one up, Sister Edward Mary wrote that about me at St. Blaise on my report card).

Bobby Kersee and Bob Brisco, co-founders of USATF LA Grand Prix, photo by Web MD

What happened in the women’s 100 meters? Sha’Carri Richardson pulled out with a cramp, and Marie Jose Ta Lou, but why were no lanes filled with other athletes? USATf needs to be ready for situations like this before NBC totally loses its composure (rightfully) about screwing up a near-perfect ending to a live meet. I observed  the producer in front of the blocks absolutely lose his composure(but professionally) and still get the race off but with 2-3 lanes open? What is this, a junior high meet? Hell, there would not be open lanes at a junior high meet.

Sha’Carri Richardson, USATF Los Angeles Grand Prix
Gold Label track & field meet
May 26, 2023, Los Angeles, USA, by Kevin Morris

The Men’s 100 meters ended the meet in style, and 777,000 people watched the meet on a Memorial Day weekend. The meeting must succeed. LA 2028 needs a buildup of five to eight meets each summer across the US at a high level. Christian Coleman drew the fans to the TV broadcast finish, and he delivered, even if he did not win. Fans want competition and could care less about time. Give them competition and athletes who show up at races!

Christian Coleman, 2022 USATF Indoors, The Podium, photo by Kevin Morris