Eugene (Netavision): The American public had enough to cheer in the restroom at Eugene. USA tops the medal stats superbly with only one day left of the competition.
But while the atmosphere has been very good at times at Hayward Field, athletics has a long way to go to compete with America’s biggest sports.
American athletics legend Michael Johnson talked a lot about the topic during the World Championships.
It’s clear that athletics wasn’t good enough to promote itself.
– Let’s take Cristiano Ronaldo or LeBron James. Great athletes and great personalities. Let’s put them in a sport that doesn’t have massive marketing, a sport that wasn’t built to be an amazing, world-renowned product that’s on TV all the time. Then no one will know who they are, says Johnson in a BBC debate.
It’s not about the athletes, their performance, or their personalities. This is not what makes this sport so incredible.
Instead, Johnson thinks it’s all about marketing the product and how it’s presented.
The product sucks in terms of promotion, says Johnson.
– There might be a problem
Last week, Nettavisen spoke to several Norwegian athletes in Eugene about their interest in athletics.
Many agree with Johnson that sports have a way to go in the United States compared to more popular American sports.
Among those who are more involved in this topic are the pole vaulters and brothers Sondry and Semen Guttorsen.
It’s American football and basketball that get the most attention. This applies both in college and professional. It’s another problem for athletics that they have to fight with these sports in the United States. Here there is a maximum of 20,000 in the stands, while in a regular college game there are as many as 100,000 in some of these matches, Sondre Guttormsen tells Nettavisen.
However, he points out that in the United States you find most sports athletes and that he does not feel that the interest is particularly greater, for example, Norway.
He should make people understand what we’re doing
Guttormsen believes there are many things that can be done to increase interest in athletics in the United States and around the world.
Like Johnson, Guttormsen believes the way the product is presented is key. He believes that technical exercises such as pole vaulting in particular have potential for improvement.
– There is probably a lot to do. Television production is important to get people to understand what we do, understand the rules and not make it too difficult. Get good graphics, so people are interested. There is a lot you can do there.
– When there is a competition for height, it is important to be able to keep track of who is leading, and what is required for him or her to win a medal. If you’re constantly showing one jump, showing some races and some spectators, you may have forgotten who the gold medal contender is. I think, above all, television production has the potential for improvement, says Sundry.
He is supported by his younger brother Simin Guttorsen.
I have complained myself a lot about how the Diamond League and the World Championships in general show a little bit of technical training. It’s hard to follow. I myself have to sit with the results on the page to be able to control. Then I can imagine that those with a little less interest in athletics than me struggle more and don’t fully understand what’s going on, Simen Guttormsen tells Nettavisen.
He believes that it will be important to the interest to create a better television experience for viewers.
Guttormsen says they have tried to provide feedback to officials, but not much is being done at the moment.
– Maybe we’ll try to talk more, but I don’t know if they’ll do anything about it. Perhaps if someone higher up in the system complains a little more, we can hope for some changes. The streaming services seem stubborn and like to do it the way they do, but if it continues like this, there won’t be much progress in the sport, unfortunately. Younger brother Guttormsin says, maybe they should do something about it.
It is doubtful whether they will have time to do something before the next competition. The last day of the restroom will be on Monday night, and the program will include the final in the pole vault.
Norway participates in the final with Pål Haugen Lillefosse and Sondre Guttormsen.
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