Once again, I’m going to spend the whole column looking at one single issue.
What did we learn this week?
We may have an answer to the “where?” problem.
Earlier this week I noted the Spire Academy in the Cleveland suburb of Geneva and its grand plans for top-of-the-line training and competition facilities. It already has an 8-lane 300 meter indoor track facility with seating for 5,000 and first-class pro-sports style spectator amenities, the kind you just can’t get at any other indoor track.
Spire already has an 8-lane track in a football/soccer/lacrosse/whatever stadium, with seating for 10,000 (including luxury boxes), but the turf field precludes holding throws inside it. This year a second track facility will be opened, meeting all IAAF specs, and it appears this one will be for track and nothing else. And they’re also going to add a dedicated cross country course, in the style of those at Indiana State and Wisconsin. Michael Johnson will host a high-performance training center at Spire. This place is massively serious about all sports, but unlike most places it isn’t treating track as a bastard stepchild.
So, what is the “where” problem I speak of? It is “where in the USA is there a suitable site to host the IAAF World Championships?” As things stand right now, there is none.
We have stadiums with large seating capacities, and we have stadiums in major metropolitan areas, and we have facilities that are IAAF Class I or II certified (or can be), but the Worlds require all of those together, and that we don’t have. And that’s only one issue.
Husky Stadium in Seattle, with its 72,000 seats,