The USATF Champs opened with a bang, not a whimper.
My five takeaways from July 6, 2023:
That NBC Sports just does not get it. The network that has paid billions for Olympic rights just blew off the number two sport on the Olympics, one year out from the Olympics. Does that make any sense? NBC had given USATF a TV window, and for various reasons, one was World Athletics “national champs” winder, and two was that the Performance group wanted the event on July 6-9 to ensure performances at Budapest. NBC could not see a way around it, including running non-live coverage. So, Peacock and CNBC were options, as was paying for USATF.TV streaming. My beef is this, it took away from my ability to give our readers great stories on the sport.
Sha’Carri Richardson is a worldwide phenomenon. Sha’Carri ran 10.71 and did close down twenty meters from the finish. Her personality, her focus, and her emotion are seen by young fans around the world, and Sha’Carri thrives on the relationship.
Noah Lyles is a worldwide phenomenon. Noah gets it; he must promote himself and race exceptionally to get noticed. And he does both well. His documentary film coming to Peacock soon. That is why NBC’s move was just so self-destructive.
Sydney. McLaughlin-Levrone is a worldwide phenomenon. Sydney’s opening foray at 400 meters was transcendent. She communicates well, she looks fantastic on TV, and she is a fearless racer. Again, how much would the WR holder in the 400m hurdles have helped build interest in Paris 2024 if USATF 2023 was on prime-time?
The 10,000-meter races finished in exciting sprint finishes! The 25 Lapper is a brutal chess match. If you screw up your pace, you lose. Both of these races started off slow, and finished in brutal sprint finishes, exciting a crowd that loves track and field.