Mastersathletics.net dead? Huge loss to sport if reports are true
The most serious and comprehensive masters track statistical site in history has closed. Shut after seven years. That’s the word from an Eastern European friend, with access to other sources. Masters Mole 377(c)2 wrote me in late October 2013: “All masters athletes are probably extremely disappointed to learn that Martin [Gasselsberger] has given up maintaining his wonderful website: mastersathletics.net. As we all know, this site is the best (most accurate and comprehensive) online source about masters athletics statistics, with all-time and annual ranking lists. It is understandable that he probably got tired of (and fed up with) moving ‘mountains’ for nothing, doing HUGE free-of-charge work every year for preparing these detailed endless statistics. What for? Several ‘Thank you very much, Martin! You are doing a great job!’ per year.” In fact, visitors from 197 countries have viewed Martin’s site, whose map of pages inspires awe.
My source further wrote:
Maybe the solutions are two:
- finding a sponsor, who can motivate Martin to continue his work; or
- finding another volunteer who will continue his job.
Otherwise masters athletics will lose a very precious information source.
I’ve written to Martin many times, but got few replies. My source writes:
So the secret to get a reply from Martin is to write to him in German, and to be patient about the reply (1 week, 2 weeks, ….). If you know a German-speaking friend of Martin, you may ask him/her to establish a contact. Letâ€™s hope he will change his mind. Otherwise, i.e. if his site â€śstopsâ€ť, it will be a disaster.
I introduced mastersathletics.net in a September 2006 post:
Today in the IAAF Lounge I discovered a European-based stats site that has the potential to advance the masters movement as much as, uh, us. Itâ€™s called mastersathletics.net and it features records and seasonal rankings not seen anywhere since, uh, us. But enough snarkiness. This page is a player, with sharp design and serious content. The cool part is site founder Martin Gasselsberger of Austria appears not to give a fig for WMA niceties. Heâ€™s updating world age-group records on the fly, not waiting for Sandy Pashkin or other WMA muckymucks to deliver their royal blessings. In other words, Martin is trying to offer a genuine set of world masters records as they happen â€” not years after the fact.
When some folks posted comments critical of the early site, Martin himself responded:
hello ken hello to all!
about track and field:
at first i have to say it is my hobby and so i put first the running records online. BUT i work hard on it that 2007 most of the field records are online. unfortunatley i have not as much time as i need.
it is my passion (thank you to my girlfriend (design and technic) and in a foreseeable time a complete website (track and field) should be online. i am grateful for each suggestion.
with best regards
(i speek english not very well so i hope you understand what i wrote)
A little later, Martin added:
ps: about the question â€śIs this website commerciallyâ€ť
this site is not commercially only over the google advertisement i hope that i can finance at least the server place.
im just interested in sport (generally mastersathletics) and thats the only reason why i made this website.
In recent weeks, several masters tracksters have noted the lack of 2013 rankings on Martin’s site. So I’m afraid the first reports were true. Martin has pulled the plug.
An Australian wrote me: “Hate to think the service has fallen into abeyance (or worse). … I am probably wishing for too much, but his data collection methods/software should be sold/given to WMA? WMA is the obvious location for this service rather than from a highly motivated individual.”
Agreed. But WMA would have to deal with the embarrassing fact that Martin’s records contradict WMA’s. In other words, Martin’s site includes legitimate marks that WMA has overlooked, ignored or rendered ineligible under subjective technicalities.
I’ve cited mastersathletics.net dozens (if note hundreds) of times since 2006 and rely on it to settle record debates, look up dates of birth and research blog posts. He even maintains a YouTube archive of videos. Its demise would be a serious blow to our sport.
Although one can find Martin’s site “mirrored” on archive.org, the site should at least be preserved on its present server.
According to this domain-name registry, Martin is the sole figure behind the site. The name registration expires in July 2014. (That means if he doesn’t pay to renew, anyone can grab the name â€” but not the content.)
The domain mastersathletics.com.au is a legit site, however â€” used by Queensland Masters Athletics Association.
So what’s next? Might someone in WMA reach out to Martin and cut a deal? Might some Sugar Daddy offer to subsidize the site? Might Martin consider a paywall â€” subscription access to his site? That’s been done before.
I hope Martin himself responds. We need him.