Former Oregon Track and Field star Nick Symmonds has some interesting ideas for the future of track and field. Here are some changes Symmonds would like to see:
[gn_quote style=”1″]“This holy, virgin image of track and field as this pure, untainted sport vanished a long time ago,” said Symmonds. “Today’s culture doesn’t appreciate the subtle nuances of the men’s 1,500 meters.
“I wish it wasn’t that way. I wish everyone appreciated what (U.S. 5,000- and 10,000-meter runner) Galen Rupp was doing and what I’m doing, but that’s not necessarily the case.
“Pop culture has a short attention span and likes booze and gambling. Why don’t we give ‘em an abbreviated meet — like this meet is perfect. It’s two-and-a-half hours with something always going on.
“I’m about as diehard a track fan as you’re going to find and I don’t want to sit out under the sun for eight hours to watch a really slow, poorly run track meet.
“I certainly don’t want to do it on a Saturday afternoon without a beer in my hand.”
“As for the gambling,” Symmonds said. “I understand that’s a lot more aggressive.
“But look at Zurich (the Weltklasse meet on the IAAF’s major-league Diamond League circuit). I would argue that it’s the greatest non-championship meeting in the world. You walk in, you get a booklet with all the stats and odds for all the athletes. You go to (a betting kiosk) and put down (on an athlete) and you’ve got a horse in the race.
“Maybe you pick an underdog, and you’re cheering as hard for that underdog as you’d be cheering for (Jamaican superstar Usain) Bolt out there.
“Because, if you’ve got a little bit invested in there, it’s a lot more fun, carefree attitude. Let’s not make track and field this serious thing where you feel intimidated by the athletes, you’re out there haveing fun with them.”[/gn_quote]
Symmonds is not the first track star to try and incorporate gambling into the sport. It’s been long-discussed for years and seems like it is nearly a reality. It could certainly spark more hype/talk for events and is a reality.