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By Larry Eder.  I love track and field. I have loved it since I was 14 and Father Ralph Passerelli, S.J. told me to go run six miles. I ran about two, walked a half mile, finished another mile an one half, and some how got the shower at De Smet Jesuit High. I noted that my white Kmart special sneakers were now pink from the blood oozing from my feet. I thought I had stigmata!

And that is how I fell in low with our sport.

So, 52 years later, I had to cancell going to the USATf Indoor in Albuquerque, and was going to watch it on TV. But NOOOOO, No NBC, No Peacock for Friday. A paywall on USATF.TV for the national championships. Damn, I forgot that NIKE was giving USATF $23 million or so a year. Why would they want us to watch the event? Why would NIKE, who will lay off two percent of their work force because they are not selling enough running shoes, not DEMAND that USATF start earning its money, and help build the audience in the sport?

On Friday, February 16, 2024, we had a superb day of indoor track and field, after tremendous meets at NB Indoor GP (Feb. 4) and Millrose Games (Feb. 11).

Grant Holloway continued his nearly ten year indoor racing streak with no losses, and sets a WR of 7.27 over the 60m hurdles. Grant had told me, in the lobby of the Lenox post NB Indoor, that if he could get a great start, he would go 7.32-7.33. Well, he ran 7.27.

Tia Jones equals the WR of the 60m hurdles in 7.67, a week old record by Devynne Charlton, breaking a WR set sixteen years before by Swedish hurdle goddess Susana Kallur. Two WRs in one week in hurdles? Think 60m hurdles for women is tough. On in final , Tia won, and ran 7.68, her second best time EVER.

Grant did not run final, he had a bye. Trey Cunningham, silver medalist in Eugene 2022 in 110m hurdles goes 7.39, second fastest time of year, with Daniel Roberts at 7.47.

Men’s pole vault has two guys battling at 6 meters. Chris Nilson wins, 6.00 meters, Sam Kendricks, 5.95m.

Chase Jackson, two time World Champ, Olympic champ (yep, her maiden name was Chase Ealey) sets WL.

In 3,000m, Elle St. Pierre wins 3,000m, totally dominating the race. In the Men’s 3000m, Yared Nuguse ran 26.10 for 200m last lap, with Olin Hacker challenging Nuguse.

Oh, and Tara Davis Woodhall leaps 7.18 meters, third best performance global all times, #2 in US only behind Jackie Joyner Kersee.

But the programming Einsteins at NBC decided, no Peacock, NO NBC, no MSNBC. TV is not rocket science, but NBC is in a dying biz, and they do not have the money to loose an audience, but they did this in 2023 US Champs, and now, this.

Saturday, the two hours was superb. 45 minutes talked about the Friday day of records.

On Saturday, Ryan Crouser threw 22.80m, in his first competition of the year.

In the 800ms, Allie Wilson won, in a huge upset, and had all of America crying as she told of loosing sponsor, and moving to coaches who got her, the Begleys in Indianapolis. If I was adidas, I would sign her up once again, sometimes, my friends at the three stripes need to think out of the box. Addy Wiley was second, a new adidas pro, leaving Nia Akins, USA champ Indoor and out to third.

In the Men’s a newly confident Bryce Hoppel wins the 800m with Isaiah Harris in second, just like 2022.

In the women’s PV, Katie Moon, Olympic champ, World Champ twice is the best women vaulter in the world. She won at 4.80m (oh, and NBC, put up metric and English measurements, because it totally annoys the hell of me). Sandi Morris took second, and looks likes she is healthy and back.

In the women’s 1,500m, Nikki Hiltz defended their title with a masterful last lap (so cool, so fast) and Emily Mackay was second.

Cole Hocker pulled off a Matthew Centrowitz impersonanation in winning the 1,500m, with Hobbs Kessler holding off Henry Wynne by .05 of a second!

The final two events were why I almost forgive NBC, the 60 meters. Aleia Hobbs, NR holder, won in 7.02 from training partner, Mikiah Brisco in 7.05.

In the men’s race, Noah Lyles and Christian Cantwell were there, Noah, fastest of year at 6.44, and Christian, fastest EVER in 6.32. Well Christian gets out great, Noah gets out okay, and starts that accelerating, at ten meters, in 7th, 20 meters in 6th, 30 meters in 4th, 40 meters in 3rd, and at 50 meters, in 2nd, then, the amazing TV moment, Noah Lyles takes the win, in WL 6.43, and Christian in 6.44, and Noah tells Christian how he has looked up to Christian, knowing that until he could beat him, he was not going to be who he could be.

TV moments, great job, to Lewis Johnson, and NBC team for Saturday broadcast, Trey Hardee was excellent on field events with Paul Swangard. Ato Bolden, Sanya Richards-Ross and Kara Goucher were superb.

My beef is with NBC management and USATF and NIKE for putting up with it. Want to get more programming? Just buy some TV ads.

Anyhoos, the 2024 USATF Indoor Champs was one of the finest indoor meets that I have never attended. And over the past 40 years I have been to a few, but what living heck is NBC thinking? Do they want numbers down for Paris Olympics like they did with Budapest World Champs, the best I had been to in 15 World Champs?

Shame on you, NBC. 

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