IAAF President Seb Coe: ‘We've got to find as many Usain Bolts’
IAAF President Seb Coe suggests the track and field season can be extended and the World Championships can be shortened in order to make changes to the sport, according to an interview with BBC.
“There isn't enough athletics. That's the problem. We kid ourselves but there isn't enough athletics,” Coe told BBC. “We go from September through May, where frankly there's not a lot to be talking about or writing about We have to remedy that. We've got to look at how we can extend the season probably into climates where you can compete. We've got to develop those markets. We've got to make sure that the athletes go head-to-head much more often than they do. When you have agents and managers at the beginning of the season saying, “Well you know, our guy is just going to have a quiet year this year.’ That's a bit like Barcelona selling season tickets and saying, ‘Well Messi may play in one of every dour games.’ You don't do that.”
The double Olympic champion is looking to possibly shorten the world championships as soon as five years from now. Last year's world championships in Beijing were held over nine days from Aug. 22–30. Track and field will be contested at the Olympics from Aug. 12–21.
Coe is in his first year as IAAF president since being elected as the head of track and field's governing body in August 2015. Since taking over, Coe has addressed many of the sport's issues, including corruption within the IAAF, systemic doping by Russia and other countries as well as cover-ups and money laundering to officials within national federations.
Coe also addressed the lingering problem that will face the sport upon the retirement of its stars like Usain Bolt or Mo Farah. Earlier in the week, Bolt clarified that the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro will definitely be his final Summer Games.
“We've got to find as many Usain Bolts as we can and it's not a conveyor belt,” Coe said. “We could be having this conversation in an American bar amongst boxing writers in the 70s and saying ‘What on earth is going to happen when Ali goes? After Ali there's Hagler, Hearns and Sugar Ray Leonard. They do come through. Bolt is a genius. What we need to do within the IAAF is to make sure that people know as much and are excited by the David Rudisha's and the Valerie Adams' that come through and are extraordinary athletes. That isn't going to be easy.”
London will host the 2017 world championships with Doha, Qatar, and Eugene, Ore., scheduled for 2019 and 2021, respectively.
- Christopher Chavez