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European Athletics To Be Staged Every Two Years After 2010


arwebb

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The Diamond League gives Americans a chance to see Usain Bolt in the United States. The United States is a superstar driven nation in regards to its sports. Look at Tennis. It's top superstar is Roger Federer, A Swiss. Everytime Federer plays in the United States (usually the US Open, but he's also competed in a few smaller events in the United States), he gets a loud reaction from the American crowd. Granted, the crowds also want to see the Williams Sisters and (to a lesser degree) Andy Roddick, but they pay to see Roger Federer. Federer has been featured in commercials for Gillette Razors in the United States.

Bolt doesn't run in the United States all that much, although he did last weekend at the Penn Relays. He's going to run one of the Diamond League Races in New York in July. The more Usain Bolt runs in the United States, the more well known he's going to be in the United States. The IAAF sees the Diamond League as a chance to expose their biggest star in Bolt to one of the largest sports audiences in the world in the United States.

The Diamond League also provides exposure to USA Track and Field, who is trying to repair its image from a decade ago when everyone except Michael Johnson and Maurice Greene was suspended for doping. USA Track and Field has some very talented athletes such as Jeremy Wariner, Tyson Gay, Sanya Richards and Allyson Felix, but none of them have the star power of Usain Bolt. It gives USA Track and Field a chance to have a home-grown American superstar, much like USA Swimming has with Michael Phelps or much like what basketball has with Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

That's the main reason behind the Diamond League. If it works, perhaps one day the United States will host a World Championships in Athletics, which they have never hosted.

So as long as the Americans are happy it's all right then?

Yes, the US should have a flagship meeting - but no need for two of them to be in the top tier of events. I'd have kept it to the traditional Golden Four, with one in the US, one in Asia, and two more from elsewhere. I'd have then set up a higher profile second tier of events (a "Silver Series") with around 12 events to complement the Golden League, and then similarly to tennis stipulate that top athletes must compete in a certain number of these events too.

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