INDIANAPOLIS - USA Track & Field this week proposed that the
world's two sprinting powerhouses challenge each other in a unique,
dual-meet format that could see some of track and field's superstars
match up like never before.
USATF has formally invited
Jamaica to engage in a home-and-home series in 2009 that that will pit
the two nations' sprinters and hurdlers against each other in
head-to-head, team-scored competition.
As described in a letter
hand-delivered on Saturday morning by USATF CEO Doug Logan to Jamaican
NACAC Area Group Representative Neville "Teddy" McCook, the meets would
feature male and female athletes in the 100, 200 and 400 meters;
100/110m hurdles and 400m hurdles; long jump; and the 4x100, 4x400 and
sprint medley relays. One competition would be in the United States,
with the other taking place on Jamaican soil. Dates of the potential
challenge meets are proposed for May and June.
"It was obvious to everyone that with the rise of your country's great sprinters and
hurdlers, a compelling rivalry between Jamaica and the United States
had developed," Logan wrote to McCook. "These competitions would offer
a means to showcase our phenomenal strengths to the NACAC region and
the world, as well as offering each of our nations' fans the chance to
see the very best competition track and field has to offer, on home
Logan delivered the letter to McCook at the NACAC Cross
Country Championships, held Saturday at Chain of Lakes Park in
The proposal comes on the heels of World
Championship and Olympic competition in which American and Jamaican
sprinters dominated. At the 2007 IAAF World Championships in Osaka,
Americans won the men's 100, 200 and 400 meters, sweeping the longer
race, as well as the women's 200, both relays, women's 100 hurdles and
men's 400 hurdles. Jamaica won the women's 100, as well as numerous
silver and bronze medals. All told, an American or Jamaican won 10 of
12 medals in the men's and women's 100 and 200 meters and went 1-2 in
three of the four relay events.
At the 2008 Olympic Games in
Beijing, it was Jamaica in the driver's seat. Led by global athlete of
the year Usain Bolt, Jamaicans won the men's and women's 100 and 200
meters, including a sweep in the women's 100. Bolt broke the world
record in the 100 and 200, and the 4x100 relay on which he ran third
leg also broke the world record. Jamaica won the women's 400 hurdles in
Olympic record time with the United States second, while Americans
swept the men's 400m and 400 hurdles, won two medals in the men's 110m
hurdles and took gold in the women's 100 hurdles. Collectively, USA and
Jamaica won 11 of 12 medals in the 100 and 200; 16 of 18 in the 100
through 400; and five of six medals in the 400m hurdles.
Please see below for the full text of the letter from Mr. Logan to Mr. McCook.
I was among the millions of captivated observers in Beijing who watched
as Jamaican short sprinters dominated their events at the Olympic
Games. It was obvious to everyone that with the rise of your country's
great sprinters and hurdlers, a compelling rivalry between Jamaica and
the United States had developed. This rivalry showed signs of ramping
up at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and began in earnest in 2005
when Asafa Powell broke the men's 100m world record. Whether it has
been Powell-Gatlin, Campbell-Felix or Bolt-Gay, it has been these
rivalries that have captivated the imaginations of track fans the world
As the IAAF indicated when it announced its new Diamond
League, it is rivalries and head-to-head competition that will do the
most to increase the popularity of track and field around the world.
And of course, our sprinters are not ready to concede Jamaican
dominance. Let us not forget that less than two years ago, it was the
United States on top of three of the four short sprints and both sprint
relays at the 2007 World Championships.
We have all seen how
wildly successful and popular USA vs. The World at the Penn Relays has
become, thanks to the USA-Jamaica rivalry at this event and the
good-natured "competition" between our countries' fans at Franklin
Field. All these factors lead me to believe that feeding the
USA-Jamaica rivalry would be a thrilling addition to the Athletics
schedule, not just for our athletes and fans, but for global Athletics.
behalf of USA Track & Field, and with the greatest excitement, I
propose a USA-Jamaica Challenge that will pit our countries in two
head-to-head, home-and-home team scoring competitions in the spring of
2009. I would ask that you convey this challenge to the esteemed
President Aris and General Secretary Gayle of the JAAA. The concept of
this challenge is briefly outlined as follows:
Dates: Projected to be in May and June, nations' schedules permitting. Sites: One in the east or southeast United States; the other in Jamaica. Events: Men's and women's 100m, 200m, 400m, 110/100mH, 400mH, long jump and 4x100m, 4x400m & Sprint
Medley Relays. Competitors: 3 or 4 per country in each individual event and 2 teams per country in relays. Scoring: Cumulative scoring meets. Financials: To be discussed following preliminary agreement to compete. Television: Conceivably 2 one-hour live shows, either stand-alone or as part of USATF Visa Championship Series show(s).
I think you'll agree that these competitions would offer a means to
showcase our phenomenal strengths to the NACAC region and the world, as
well as offering each of our nations' fans the chance to see the very
best competition track and field has to offer, on home soil.
I earnestly thank you and your country for entertaining this
challenge. We have before us a tremendous opportunity to serve the
sport, our athletes and fans. I am hopeful that through good planning
and promotions, we will be able to stage these potentially
ground-breaking meets. I eagerly await your reply.
Warm personal regards,
Douglas G. Logan General Secretary and Chief Executive Officer
About USA Track & Field
& Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field,
long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF
encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the
most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and
junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult
runners in the United States.