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LetsRun.com Update on the Men's Olympic Trials Selection Process
April 6, 2006

We spoke and emailed with Glenn Latimer, Chair of Men's Long Distance Running, to get an update on the selection process from the men's Olympic Marathon Trials.

The winner of the trials is going to be announced once the formal contract is signed, possibly by the end of next week according to Glenn.

Glenn talked to us and sent us an outline on how the process worked. He indicated that there was a broad agreement among the decision makers on who the winner was. As he said, "All the bids were very similar in the quality of what they were offering to the athletes.  I can tell you that the decision was based entirely on what the athletes and coaches told us - and it wasn't even close. We had 85%-90% support for the decision which was made. From all the feedback, the dissenting voices were far less than the number of fingers on one hand."

The ultimate decision for selecting the trials was with the 6 person, 2008 Olympic Trials site selection committee. The committee is composed of Glenn Latimer, Chair Men's LDR; Keith Dowling, former elite athlete (6th 1996 USA Olympic Trials Marathon), vice chair LDR; Tony Cosey -Olympic steeplechaser in 2000 and Vice Chair Athletes- Advisory Council, USATF; Creigh Kelley - road race announcer, event manager, former Chair LDR; Scott Strand, 2004 Olympic Trials marathoner who was active with the 2004 Birmingham Trials; Hank Brown, Former Chair, MLDR Championships sub-committee, race director Crazy 8k.

The committee received formal advice from 15 other people comprised of 5 three person advisory committees representing following groups: current elite athletes, past elite athletes, media, race event directors, and coaches (you can see the members of each advisory committee at the bottom of this page). (When Glenn is talking about 85-90% agreement on the trials site, he is talking about the 15 people in the committees above and the 6 member site selection committee). While there was no formal process to solicit opinions from other current or past athletes (LetsRun.com note: in the future we'd at least like to see an email sent out telling athletes how they can give their input), the committees above represented them in the process.  Glenn said, "This process was very democratic and above all we listened to what the athletes and coaches said...This recommendation was made in mid-February 2006 after site visits to the three contenders on the Men's side (Boston, Akron, New York) and after an extensive review of the feedback reports written and oral from the five constituent groups.  We also sought input from other top athletes and coaches over the previous eight months. The three bids were very similar in what they offered the athletes. The key decision-making factors were the experience and quality of event production, and the time of year preferred by the athletes and coaches."

Below is the outline Glenn sent us on the process, followed by the LetsRun.com analysis. The role for part c), the Men's LDR Executive Committee was a bit murky to us from the outline. Glenn said, "The role of Men's LDR Executive Committee is to approve the recommendation, and they have been kept apprised of developments in the process."

January 15 - 31 2006
Concurrent Review by:
a) The chosen Advisory Constituencies :
1) Current US Elite athletes
Dan Browne: 2004 USA Olympian in the Marathon
Alan Culpepper: 2004 USA Men's Olympic Marathon Trials
Meb Keflezighi:  2004 USA Men's Olympic Marathon Trials
2) Past US Elite athletes
Rod DeHaven: 2000 USA Olympic Marathon Team Member
Ed Eyestone - 1992/1996 Olympic Marathon Team Member
Steve Spence - 1992 Olympic Marathon Team Member
3) Media/Publications
Toni Reavis:  TV Commentator and Journalist
Phil Stewart:  Road Race Management
Amby Burfoot: Runner's World

4) Race/Event Directors

Tim Murphy: Elite Racing
Scott Keenan: Grandma's Marathon
Nick Curl: Los Angeles Marathon
5) Coaches
Patricia Goodwin: Team USA Minnesota
Kevin Hanson: Hansons/Brooks Distance Project
Bob Sevene: Team USA Monterey Bay, Big Sur Distance Project
b)     and by the Men's Olympic Trials 2008 Site Selection Committee
This committee will be made up of:
Glenn Latimer - Chair Men's LDR
Keith Dowling - Vice Chair Men's LDR; 6th 1996 USA Olympic Trials Marathon
Creigh Kelley - BKB; former Chair LDR
Tony Cosey - Vice Chair Athletes- Advisory Council, USATF; 2000 USA Olympian
Scott Strand - Athlete & Coordinator, 2004 USA Men's Olympic Marathon Trials
Hank Brown - Former Chair, MLDR Championships sub-committee
Advisory Member and Liaison to the USATF National Office:
Jim Estes - USATF LDR Manager
*Fred Finke, USATF LDR Division, Chair will act as an alternate to the committee in the event that any member has a conflict of interest. 
a) ** By February 1, 2006:  Written Reports due to Glenn Latimer  from each constituency:
1) Current US Elite athletes
2) Past US Elite athletes
3) Media/Publications
4) Race/Event Directors
5) Coaches
Then Conference Calls
b) ** By February 15, 2006: Discussion and Recommendation by Men's LDR Site Selection Committee  (see above list.)
c)  Discussion and Recommendation made by USATF Men's LDR Executive Committee. (see list below) after contract approval.
  • USATF Men's LDR Executive Committee        2005-2006  (A = Athlete)
    • Chair: Glenn Latimer  
    • Vice Chair: Keith Dowling                   A
    • Secretary: Mark Winitz
    • Treasurer: Philip Greenwald
    • Rodney DeHaven                                 A
    • David Coyne
    • Creigh Kelley
    • Allan Steinfeld  
    • David Martin PhD
    • George Regan
    • Basil Honikman  
    • Clint Verran                                          A
    • Ian Dobson                                          A
    • Todd Williams                                     A
    • Pete Julian                                            A
    • Clint Wells                                            A
    • Mark Coogan                                       A
    • Chris Fox
    • Matt Gabrielson                                    A
    • Dan Browne                                         A
d) By March 1, 2006:
Recommendation forwarded to Fred Finke, Chair of LDR Division, USATF and to Craig Masback for contract preparation.

LetsRun.com Analysis: Glenn did not tip his cap one way or the other to us, but if we read between the lines we think we know who the winner is. If time of year really was an important factor in the decision, then we assume most marathon athletes would prefer a spring trials (the trials in the past have been held in January-May. The NYC date is in the fall, and while it gives more recovery for the actual Olympics it conflicts much more so with the  2007 World Champs and is a departure from how things have been done in the past). So taking NY out of the picture, reading between the lines of Glenn's comments, it would seem to be between Akron and Boston for the Trials. Boston wins hands down in terms of "experience and quality of event production." Plus not being able to sign the contract until the end of next week would mean the announcement could help kick off the media frenzy leading up to the Boston Marathon (which is on the next Monday April 17th) and get the media attention on the American men in the race. So we think the trials are going to Boston, but have had no inside info besides what you are reading.

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