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Lananna Elected President of USA Track and Field Following Joyner-Kersee’s Withdrawal

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Vin Lananna was elected USATF President after opposing candidate Jackie Joyner-Kersee withdrew from the USATF presidential election Thursday afternoon. Photo: Image of Sport

Vin Lananna has been elected President of USA Track and Field (USATF) following fellow candidate Jackie Joyner-Kersee’s withdrawal from the race.

The 63-year-old, who served as the United States’ head coach at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, replaces Stephanie Hightower, who is stepping down after eight years in office.

The election was scheduled to take place tomorrow at the ongoing USATF annual meeting in Orlando, but it is no longer necessary after Joyner-Kersee – a former long jumper and heptathlete who won three Olympic gold medals while competing for the US – ended her candidacy.

“I am excited to serve as President of USATF,” Lananna wrote on Twitter.

“We are so fortunate to have JJK as the iconic figure for our sport.

“She is a class person.”

Lananna is the President of TrackTown USA, which has been responsible for multiple national championships and the 2014 World Junior Championships.

It is also overseeing the organizing of the 2021 International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championships in Eugene.

In March, Lananna denied that the IAAF was presented with a “now or never” deal before awarding Eugene the event in April last year without the city having to go through a bidding process.

The IAAF decision, which came five months after Eugene had been beaten to the 2019 World Championships by Doha, has been widely criticized, not least by athletics representatives from Gothenburg who had planned to bid for the 2021 Championships this year.

All but two members of the 25-strong IAAF Council body, strongly urged by the then IAAF President, Lamine Diack, voted for what was described as “a unique opportunity that may never arise again, whereby public authorities, the private sector, the National Olympic Committee, NBC and a particularly enthusiastic public are joining forces.”

Joyner-Kersee - a former long jumper and heptathlete who won three Olympic gold medals while competing for the US - ended her candidacy for the president of USA Track and Field. Photo: Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle Staff
Joyner-Kersee – a former long jumper and heptathlete who won three Olympic gold medals while competing for the US – ended her candidacy for the president of USA Track and Field. Photo: Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle Staff

In his new role, Lananna will be responsible for the Board of Directors, which will work to set policies and guide the direction of USATF.

“Because of my experiences in both the grassroots of the sport and the business of athletics, I felt compelled to help bring about a shared vision, and, as a result, a more united and stronger USATF,” he told Pole Vault Power.

“I want to be a voice for stronger associations, increased money and opportunities for elite athletes, additional support for our youth and officials, and more resources directed towards all aspects of the membership.”

In her last address as President of USATF, Hightower thanked the organisation’s leadership and constituents for the significant progress made since taking office in 2008.

Citing collaboration and determination for the success of USATF athletes and growth of sport overall, Hightower reflected on recent successes.

“These last eight years, USATF has done more than merely talk about leading,” she said.

“We’ve raised revenue, improved athletic performance, gotten out in the community…and by taking on those objectives we’ve led this organisation into the future and while we’re proud of our accomplishments, we have so much more to do.”

Also elected by acclamation was Mike Conley to the USATF High Performance Board, and Len Krsak to the USATF Board of Directors.

USATF has also announced a historic eight-year partnership with NBC Sports Group that provides the latter with the exclusive media rights to USATF’s live, elite-athlete competitions through to 2024.

Every year from 2017 through 2024, NBC Sports will present at least 18 hours of live USATF event coverage, with a minimum of eight hours per year on the NBC broadcast network.

NBCSports.com and the NBC Sports app will stream all linear content as well as additional digital-only USATF programming.

NBC Sports’ commitment to USATF properties, such as the USATF Indoor and Outdoor Championships, is in addition to its coverage of the 2020 and 2024 Olympic trials and Olympic Games.

It is the longest and most comprehensive agreement ever between the two parties.

“NBC Sports’ commitment to USATF’s live media properties elevates our profile on all fronts, from competition to the bottom line,” USATF chief executive Max Siegel said.

Gary Zenkel, President of NBC Olympics, added: “We are pleased to continue our relationship on a long-term basis with USA Track and Field under of the leadership of Max Siegel.

“This historic eight-year agreement is a tribute to the longstanding success of American track and field athletes, who earned 32 medals and 13 golds in Rio.

“We look forward to helping build more stars through the next eight years in the lead up to both Tokyo 2020 and the 2024 Games.”

NBC Sports will also televise USATF’s annual Black Tie and Sneakers Gala, which includes the USATF National Track and Field Hall of Fame induction and the presentation of special awards to athletics’ legends and leading contributors.

By Daniel Etchells

Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz

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