This is Coffee For Larry, Special Sunday edition, May 28, 2023.
We are in Los Angeles, at the wonderful UCLA Guesthouse, a superb hotel on the UCLA campus, with quiet rooms so I could do my recordings.
Our topic today:
1. The LA Grand Prix was two tremendous days of competition.
2. As Karen Locke noted, the women’s shot put, and men’s shot put, giving us Maggie Ewans WL/PB of 20.45m, and Ryan Crouser’s WR of 23.56m, were true highlights that, most unfortunately, many did not get to see.
3. MRs were established all weekend; the Men’s 1,500m was broken twice! The iconic Steve Scott had set the 1500m record in 1977, and it was broken on Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
4. some meet management challenges could be overcome if USATF brings in a team that knows how to manage elite meets, all fixable. Most items were addressed but should be fixed prior to year 2.
5. Despite no promotions until 2-3 weeks out, 4,000 paying fans on Friday and 7, 249 paying fans on Saturday, at average cost of $50 a ticket. RunBlogRun suggests $50 gets a family of 4 into Drake in 2024.
6. Incredible media attendance, with young media and traditional print and digital in attendance. Next year, hope for electrical power strips for all seats, backup wifi, and perhaps some water and sandwiches.
7. Mixed zone was quite good. I did 41 interviews, and that was with some athletes just going through.
8. Clayton Murphy, annoyed that the Men’s top 800m was not on the big broadcast, goes out and kicks butt, running his best race since prior to Tokyo 2021.
9. Mondo Duplantis worked for his money, signing autographs, taking selfies, and coming by and chatting with media from major newspapers, and digital and modern social media.
10. Sam Kendricks, as always, was articulate, thoughtful, and timely. Glad that the Olympic medalist and two time World Champion is back vaulting. And congrats on Sam and his lovely wife had their first child, Alistair.
11. Presser, while early, was well-attended on Friday. Ajee’Wilson, Sam Kendricks, Sha’Carrie Richardson, Mondo Duplantis, Christian Coleman and Brooks Andersen, emceed by Carrie Tollefson, were a big hit.
12. Bobby Kersee was featured in LA Times in an excellent story by Adam Greif. Bobby reminded us that he is, while an excellent coach, being dragged, kicking, and screaming into the elite sport. His removal of Sydney McLaughlin, Athing Mu, and Rai Benjamin damaged the meet’s ability to fill seats.
13. The absence of Sha’Carri Richardson after a 10.90 heat was due to cramping in the heat. The absence of Marie Jose Ta Lou, after a 10.88 heat, was also due to cramping. The perfect storm of Aleia Hobbs, Sha’Carri Richardson, and Marie Jose Ta Lou from final on LIVE TV is a major reason why terrestrial TV absolutely hates giving track live TV when last-minute changes are not communicated.
14. Max Siegel, to his credit, came to the media tent and gave us five minutes with answers out of the realpolitik answer book, which is what he is supposed to do. He might be annoyed with Bobby Kersee or Sprinters not showing up for a final, but he has to remain cool; that is why sponsors like him.
15. My take? The LA Grand Prix had many fine moments; most of the challenges are fixable and are under meet management. USATF is in a shake-down cruise, and they did a great job in gathering media and pushing many athletes through the mixed zone, hotel management, feeding hungry athletes, and keeping them non-stressed and paid, which requires a different skill set. RunBlogRun encourages USATF to outsource teams that can make this not something I feel obliged to write about.
16. NB Outdoors, June 15-18, 2023, www.nbnationals.com (sponsored)
17. Register for the Peachtree Road race, which closes June 4, 2023! www.atlantatrackclub.org/peachtree (sponsored)
18. For your performance running shoes, please check out www.brooksrunning.com. Brooks Running has been a long-time sponsor of RunBlogRun.
19. Fibersport USA has been with RunBlogRun for a year now; please check them out when you need track & field equipment at www.fibersportUSA.com.