Malaga money and Snyder candidacy: Big news on WMA worlds

Gary Snyder (in blue) listens at 2009 General Assembly in Lahti, Finland.

Rex Harvey is thinking big — hoping to get more elite USATF masters to 2018 Malaga worlds. Our national masters chair wants to adopt the kiddies’ “No. 1 track team in the world” motto for masters. But this could cost USATF $200,000 — to subsidize travel and reward medalists — and it’s a long shot. At the same time, former masters national chair Gary Snyder has formally announced his candidacy for president of World Masters Athletics. The vote will be at Malaga’s General Assembly. Snyder has a good shot. Here’s the $$$ news out of the Ohio annual meeting, courtesy a report from the Executive Committee: “Harvey discussed the plan to move Team USATF to the top of the medal table at the 2018 WMA Championships in Malaga, Spain, next September. The premise of the plan is that the U.S. has the best talent in the world but getting our best athletes to the World Championships inhibits our overall success there.”

The report continues:

The plan has three components – “Championships Facilitators,” financial support for those ranking in the top six in the world in an event, and awards for medals. The role of the facilitators is to work with athletes likely to be competitive for medals to help ease their way to Malaga by demystifying the championships and international travel.

Financial support for athletes ranking in the top six in the world is proposed to be $400, $350, $300, $250, $200, and $100 depending on the ranking with a maximum total per athlete of $1500.

Financial awards for medals is proposed to be $400 for gold, $200 for silver, and $100 for bronze, again with a $1500 maximum per athlete.

The World #1 plan has been presented to top USATF staff and they have endorsed it but are unable to fund it within the organization’s current budget. However, they have pledged to work with the MTF leadership to seek outside sponsors to fund the plan, which has a price tag of approximately $200,000.

In a press release dated Tuesday, Gary’s bid for WMA was announced:

Gary Snyder, former USA Masters Track & Field Chair for ten years until
this year, announced his candidacy for World Masters Athletics President. Snyder’s candidacy was endorsed unanimously by the USATF Masters Track & Field and Long Distance Running Joint meeting, chaired by new MTF Chair Rex Harvey, at the USATF Annual Meeting this weekend, and Snyder also thanked LDR Chair Mary Rosado.

Snyder said that he “hopes to continue the same civility and productivity in WMA that he was proud to achieve during his tenure at USA Masters Track & Field.” He added that he “will work to expand the mission of athletics for life — lifetime fitness and health through training and competition throughout the world — for WMA.” The election will be held during the WMA meeting at the World Masters Athletics Championships in September, 2018.

Other news out of annual meeting:

After a lengthy process to establish the actual membership of the Masters Track and Field (MTF) Committee last Friday morning, that afternoon bids were presented to host the 2020 championships. Baton Rouge, LA, was the sole bidder for the indoor meet, which was unanimously approved and will be held March 13-15, 2020 at Louisiana State University. The facility will be the same one that was used as a warm up area and emergency track during the 2017 outdoor championships.

Two bids were received for the 2020 outdoor championships – one from Greensboro, NC and the other from the Niagara Association in upstate New York. Originally the MTF Executive Committee had expressed an interest in having the 2020 outdoor national championships after the WMA Outdoor Championships, which will be held July 20-August 2, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Both of the potential sites had difficulty securing facilities in August because of fall sports on the campuses that would host the meet – North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro and Brockport State in Brockport, NY.

After the presentations there was a lengthy discussion in the committee meeting and a substantial majority of the delegates voted in favor of having the meet in July, prior to the WMA meet in Toronto, likely July 9-12, 2020, ending only eight days before the WMA meet begins.

However, because of questions about the facilities in Greensboro and the lack of detail in the Niagara Association bid (and the fact that site visits had not been conducted prior to the Annual Meeting in either Greensboro or Brockport), the Committee decided to postpone the decision. In the next several weeks site visits will be conducted by the Championships Games Subcommittee, both bids will be resubmitted on up-to-date bid application forms (which the National Office has not yet finalized), the Executive Committee will examine the site visit reports and the formal bids and make a recommendation to the full MTF Committee.

At that point a full report will be sent to those who were delegates to the Committee in Columbus and a full MTF Committee vote of those eligible to vote in Columbus, will be taken electronically. The intent is to complete this process prior to the indoor nationals in Landover, MD in mid-March.

Jeff Watry, Co-Chair of the Combined Events Subcommittee received the David Pain Award for Distinguished Service to the Masters Track and Field Community. Watry has organized the stand-alone combined events championships for many years, now focusing on the indoor meet held annually in Kenosha, WI.

The Combined Events Subcommittee also announced that it had reinstituted its combined event athlete of the year awards, now known as the Rex Harvey Award to honor long time masters decathlete Rex Harvey, one of the greatest masters combined event athletes of all time. This year’s winners were Jeferson Souza among the men and Vicki Fox among the women.

At the Jesse Owens Banquet on Saturday night Sabra Harvey was honored by USATF as Masters Athlete of the Year based on her nomination by the Masters Long Distance Running (MLDR) Committee. This recognition alternates between MLDR and MTF, with MTF’s Athlete of the Year honored in even numbered years and MLDR’s Athlete of the Year in odd numbered years. Both committees are seeking to have both athletes recognized by USATF each year in the future.

The MTF Committee operates under a set of Operating Procedures first adopted in 1994 and updated/revised annually or bi-annually from then until 2007. For the last ten years, however, the MTF Operating Procedures have not changed at all.

Therefore the task before the MTF leadership was to update them, make them clearer and more precise, bring them into compliance with current USATF policies and procedures, and create a living document that can be used as the MTF Committee charts a course for the future. The 2007 version was 11 pages long; the draft revision presented in Columbus is 32 pages! However, most of the additional verbiage merely bring more precision to the document.

There were, however, a handful of substantive changes. Perhaps the most substantive was the creation of a new Communications Subcommittee to include the functions previously overseen by the Media and Organizational Advancement and Promotion Subcommittees and by the social media and website coordinators. The thrust of the new subcommittee will be to bring all of these elements together in a coherent and coordinated way so that MTF presents itself both to masters athletes and the world at large with a common look and feel.

During the annual meeting Media Subcommittee Chair Bob Weiner and Communications Task Force Chair Sandy Lee Triolo made presentations of their visions for MTF Communications (Triolo had been appointed by MTF Chair in August to head up a Task Force to envision a new approach). Now that the revised Operating Procedures have been adopted the next step in the process will be to solicit applications for the chair position of the Communications Subcommittee.

The Inclusion Subcommittee replaces the Diversity Subcommittee and is charged with undertaking activities to establish and maintain an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for athletes, officials, volunteers and spectators.

To empower athletic development, competition, fitness, friendship, sportsmanship, and volunteerism, the Inclusion Subcommittee is to provide or enable education and advocacy for MTF policies that sustain foundations of a diverse and inclusive culture across all dimensions of diversity including but not limited to age, race, sex, gender, gender expression, class, geographical location, national origin, educational background, marital status, parental status, disability, income, sexual orientation, creed, and levels of athletic ability. It is chaired by George Melichar.

The new Operating Procedures were adopted on Saturday, December 2, and took effect at the close of the Annual Meeting on Sunday. Some additional proposals for changes will be taken up next year and forwarded to the USATF Law & Legislation Committee in 2019 (the next time USATF’s Operating Regulations can be amended). Among those changes will be an increase in the number of Active Athletes on the MTF Committee (currently 20).

In other news from the Annual Meeting, the MTF Committee adopted a resolution calling for creation of a task force to examine club practices recruiting athletes from other clubs and another calling for a task force to look at the role of coaches during MTF championship meets. MTF Chair Rex Harvey will be appointing those task forces in the near future.

In addition to the formal business of the annual meeting, USATF President Vin Lananna spent about 20 minutes speaking and taking questions and stayed to watch the World #1 presentation. USATF CEO and COO Max Siegel and Renee Washington also visited with the Committee and Siegel spoke and took questions for about 15 minutes.

He reiterated his commitment to working with the MTF Committee to find funding for the World #1 project and noted that he had added $50,000 to the MTF budget, allowing MTF to eliminate the $25 surcharge on entries for national championships. MTF Chair Rex Harvey expressed the thanks of the masters community to Siegel for following through on the commitment to outfit Team USATF Masters in Toronto in the latest national uniforms – a sentiment that was echoed by many of the athletes in attendance.

Finally, while Treasurer Carroll DeWeese did not have a 2018 proposed budget to present because it is still being negotiated with the National Office, he did announce that it appears the total figure will be significantly higher than in the past, above $200,000, nearly a 50% increase over 2017. A motion was adopted empowering the Executive Committee to approve the 2018 budget as soon as it can be presented.

With a very large agenda, it was inevitable that some business would not be finished in Columbus. The major item of unfinished business is the adoption of the revised All American Standards. The Executive Committee will be tackling that issue early in the new year!

Print Friendly

December 5, 2017

9 Responses

  1. em - December 5, 2017

    That will be 3 yrs in a row… Masters Indoor Nationals will be held on a flat track. Forget about any relay records. Very lame.

  2. Mike Travers - December 6, 2017

    Hey ’em’ – Would you rather we not have any indoor championship? Because thats the alternative. That would be lame.


  3. Milan Tiff - December 6, 2017

    Hey, Rex; why not just make Olympic proven, card carrying, Championship athletes, exempt from National and local fees. And you may see an enflux of the type of athlete your looking for in world domiinance in Master Athletics.

  4. Michael D Walker - December 7, 2017

    “em” – have to agree with Mike Travers, a flat track is better than no track or meet. Of course, I do the jumps so flat is always preferred.

  5. E. Grant - December 7, 2017

    I disagree with that, Milan. They need to pay these fees just like the rest of us. It would be nice to have some, but to do that will be unfair to the masters who are already showing a good representation for our division.

  6. Milan tiff - December 8, 2017

    Sorry E. Grant. Didn’t mean to offend, but was trying to defend the population of Masters who enjoy the sport as a form of Health, Exercise, and Recreation. I was only suggesting an alternative to Rex’s proposel of offering praise money to attract the ellite athlete. Which will slowly and eventually eliminate that population from World Competitions.

  7. em - December 8, 2017

    Well, since we ran part of the outdoor championship indoors at LSU, perhaps we can run the indoor championship outdoor. Could be warm enough in Baton Rouge.

  8. Terry Parks - December 8, 2017

    I thinking giving a little money to those who win medals and are the top in the world recognizes the fact that you don’t reach these levels without some serious investment of time and money.

    Anyone can participate at the WMA meet which I think is great and encourages participation. So giving a small amount of money to the super elites simply recognizes their investment of time and money and I see no disincentive. I have yet to win an individual WMA World medal, but that never stopped me from trying. Winning a medal would be great and a little cash would be a nice bonus and truly appreciated by many.

  9. Milan Tiff - December 9, 2017

    Ken. I think this issue needs to be opened up to discussion. Betweeen those who are thinking about making the transition from Olympic and those who are enjoying the sport as a World wide gathering of friendship, leisure, and recreation. ( I’m wondering what Bernard Lagot and Ken Collins are thinking about the Masters program. )

Leave a Reply