Those are the last three dates on which USATF named a host for one of its biggest events: the US Olympic Marathon Trials, which were awarded to Houston, Los Angeles, and Atlanta, respectively.
Today is April 29, 2022. Not only do the 2024 Trials not have a host; no city has even announced an intention to bid. That doesn't mean no one is bidding -- we've been told Orlando is interested -- but we're not where we were four years ago, when USATF was touting Atlanta, Chattanooga, Austin, and Orlando as finalists for the 2020 Trials.
Why is that? After reaching out to USATF multiple times to check on the status of the 2024 Trials and hearing nothing, we took it upon ourselves to investigate. And what we found is this: the current model, where a race organization volunteers to host the event in its city and assumes all of the costs, is unsustainable.
We spoke to smart people in the industry like Atlanta Track Club CEO Rich Kenah (organizer of the 2020 Trials), Houston Marathon race director Brant Kotch (race director of the Houston Marathon), and Sound Running impresario Jesse Williams, and they all told us the same thing: if the current model isn't fixed, we could one day reach a point where no one is interested in hosting the Olympic Marathon Trials.
"My biggest fear is, it seems like every time we do this, less people bid and more people are aware of how hard this is to pull all this off and be profitable," Williams says. "Every time that happens, we’re running the risk of getting to a situation where there’s no bid. And then we’re a whole different situation. I mean, imagine a sport where nobody wants the Trials. That’s not good. That’s scary.”
The good news is, it doesn't have to be that way. There are smart people in the sport who have ideas on how to fix the event. Check out our piece to read all about them.
Yalemzerf Yehualaw's marathon debut was a smashing success, Hobbs Kessler's outdoor debut was just as Nick Willis predicted, you can win $2000 if Fred Kerley doesn't break the 100m world record, Karsten Warholm turned down $30,000 to run Pre and Brittany Brown ran 10.66 for 100m.
The 4 x mile world record is taking center stage with Cole Hocker and Cooper Teare coming up short in Oregon, and the On team giving it a go this weekend at Penn. Prediction contest here.
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