>Two very interesting news items in this morning’s headlines…
Larry Rawson, the (T&F) “Voice of ESPN” for its 30 years of existence, will no longer be part of the broadcast team for USATF’s series of indoor and outdoor meets.
While Rawson has been replaced by Ato Boldon for meets such as the Millrose Games, the Reebok Boston Indoor Games, and the Penn Relays, he will still have a presence on ESPN this year at the SEC Indoor and Outdoor Championships, the NCAA Indoor Championships, and major marathons in Boston, Chicago, and New York.
It remains to be seen as to whether Rawson chose this, or if it was chosen for him. I suspect the latter. He’s only been kicked off the air for broadcasts run by USATF; ESPN still wants him. The decision must have come out of Indianapolis, and based on some of Doug Logan’s remarks late last summer about changing the style of TV coverage, I wouldn’t be surprised if it came from the top. (Or maybe even higher?)
Stars of NFL Championship Games spanning the last three decades will trade in their cleats for spikes in the Super 60 at the 103rd Millrose Games.
A new event highlighting the track speed of some of the NFL’s most recognizable Super Bowl heroes, the Super 60 is expected to feature the New York Giant’s Super Bowl XLI hero David Tyree, ex-Chicago Bear wide receiver and world-class sprinter/hurdler Willie Gault, and Atlanta Falcons’ Super Bowl kickoff return star Tim Dwight.
This kind of attempt to broaden spectator appeal is just what track needs, and indoor track is good at. This is no Chris Johnson/Usain Bolt circus, but rather a real race featuring very fast men with years of track experience. More ex-footballers are likely to be added in the next week or so.
Management of Millrose has been taken over this year by Norbert Sanders and his Armory Foundation, at the behest of Logan. Mark Wetmore’s Global Athletics group had been in charge for the previous four years, and had been blamed for the falling popularity of the meet. The real problem is that GA is a national operation, and the multi-tiered format of Millrose (pro, college, high school, age group) requires management with connections to the NYC community as was the case under Howard Schmertz. Sanders has his detractors, and it’s unlikely God himself could return Millrose to its glory days, but it sure looks like he’s trying and thinking creatively. We need a lot more of that.