Lady Sportsball Runners Hold Hands To Protest Nike, Evil
Normally, red-blooded American sportsball fans pay attention to track and field every four years for the Olympics, and even then, we just stick to the 100M dash, long-jump, and maybe the decathlon. You know, events Americans might win. There is almost never any reason to pay attention to something like the woman’s 1500M and 3000M races at (what was it called?) U.S. indoor national championships, which took place last month in Albuquerque.
But apparently something kind of awesome happened two weeks ago at this event that no one except hardcore track fans notice until Deadspin wrote about it today: Athletes in the 1500M race staged a protest against Nike monkeying around with the results of the previous day’s 3000M results.
The scene was unprecedented: seven runners walking off the track hand in hand, in quiet protest against their own governing body. The women had just run the 1,500-meter race at the U.S. indoor national championships on Feb. 23 in Albuquerque. The day before, the winner of the 3,000-meter race, Gabe Grunewald, had been disqualified by one of the most powerful men in track, Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazar, for supposedly interfering with one of his athletes. How Salazar managed the feat is still unclear, but to fans and to other runners it was obvious what had happened: The people who really run the sport had prevailed upon the people who nominally do to change a result in their favor.
The ghost of famous American Nazi/sportsman Avery Brundage and the walking corpse that is Brent Musberger must be outraged. Sport is sacred and should never be politicized with protests. Especially when the protest might affect USA Track & Field’s bottom line. Nike funds like 45% of USA Track & Field’s budget so, you know, they get to bend the rules however they want whenever they want because sportsball meritocracy!
Seriously though, kudos to the women of the 1500M U.S. indoor championships for demanding that the integrity of their sport be placed ahead of the politics of its governing body.