by Rod O’Donnell - After a year unlike any other in American history, there were many positive things that occurred in the sport of track & field, proving once again that those who are involved in it are special people.

1. Despite many delays, cancellations, last minute policy changes, and inconsistency in how to control COVID our coaches and participants adapted, and thus they saved our sport from severe damage. Life lessons had to be applied to accomplish such success.

2. The OHSAA and OATCCC should be commended for moving the State Meet to new locations, in trying to provide a first class experience for the athletes. The Division III site left much to be desired, but the event still drew the largest crowd of the three meets. On a negative note, it is inexcusable that The Ohio State University does not cooperate and allow their outstanding facility to be used at a reasonable cost for the Divisions I, II, and III championships. Depriving the athletes the opportunity to compete in the beautiful venue named after one of our greatest Olympians, who symbolizes everything that is good, is completely unacceptable; Jesse Owens had the courage to show Adolph Hitler that his absurd race theory was completely wrong, and denying our young people the chance to compete in the stadium named for him is disrespectful to this great man and Ohio native. Each time that I pass his statue at the main entrance, I pause to give thanks for him. Our high school athletes deserve the opportunity to do the same.

3. One only had to be in attendance at the Division III team awards ceremony and hear the huge crowd of followers from Minster chant the names of the coaches, athletes, and mascot, to understand the importance of track and field to this community and the 5100 fans from small towns across the state at the meet on Saturday.

4. Clemson and William & Mary have changed their plans to discontinue men’s track, by reinstating the sport. CONGRATULATIONS to all of those who voiced their opinions, took action, and influenced the results.

5. Kudos to NBC Sports for its coverage of the Diamond League meets. Exposure of our sport to the public is vital if it is to grow and prosper.

6. Speaking of TV coverage, the NBC Network coverage of the Olympic Trials during prime time was outstanding. It gave the average fan who may not follow or understand track and field the opportunity to watch and enjoy our sport, get to know its participants, learn about events, and witness the drama, emotion, and passion that our athletes experience. Commentators Leigh Duffey, Paul Swangard, Olympians Ato Bolden, Sanya Richards-Ross, Kara Goucher and University of Cincinnati Alum, Lewis Johnson, have given viewers both an educational and entertaining experience. We should all thank them and the network for a job well done.

It is fantastic to have our sport back where it belongs. Support it, and love it, because it deserves it.

Yours in track,
Rod O’Donnell

Editor note: Article was published in the print RUNOHIO before the Tokyo Olympics which saw a number of outstanding Track & Field performances.

Read more of Coach O’Donnell’s articles on www.runohio.com  

2020 OHSAA State Cross Country Championships -  http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/news/134-keeping-track-by-rod-o-donnell-2020-ohsaa-state-cross-country-championships  

Keeping Track - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/173-keeping-track-2 

COVID 19 and Sports - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/news/120-keeping-track-covid-19-and-sports-by-rod-o-donnell    

Life Lessons from Cross-Country - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/10-life-lessons-from-cross-country-updated-2020       

Critical Time for Cross Country and Track & Field -  http://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/96-track         

Facts - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/100-keeping-track-facts      

Track - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/67-keeping-track        

Football and Track & Field - http://www.runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/78-keeping-track-football-and-track-field       

Marc Bloom’s Amazing Racers - http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/features/43-keeping-track-marc-bloom-s-amazing-racers-by-rod-o-donnel 

College of William & Mary – http://runohio.com/index.php/news-features/news/121-keeping-track-college-of-william-mary-by-rod-o-donnell     

Take care and I hope to see you at a race soon.

Matt McGowan