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Covid Looms Over USATF Masters

July 23, 2022 2 min read

Covid Looms Over USATF Masters

Photo by Rob Jerome. Allan Tissenbaum and his takeoff will be a thing to watch next weekend in Lexington at the USA Track & Field Masters National Championships. Will Covid steal the marquee from Tissenbaum and other stars? Cross your fingers.

 

By Ray Glier

The USA Track & Field Masters are next week in Lexington, Ky. (July 28-31). I was married in Louisville, Ky., and have friends there and always love to visit. I’ll be there three or four nights. My family has a history with thoroughbreds, either as jockey's agents and trainers....or players. Racing of a different sort draws me back.

I'm crossing my fingers with Covid percolating again.

My friend, Don Leis, the 90-year old track & field wonder from Pasadena, is skipping the USATF Masters. His wife, Carol, asked him not to get on a plane to Kentucky with Covid surging.

You wonder who else might not show up with the virus coming back around?

One would-be attendee who dropped out said Kentucky is a hotspot for the virus, which made him change his mind about attending.

There are reports that a number of Americans who went to Finland for the World Masters came back with Covid. I know a prominent media member who is not attending because of the looming presence of Covid and his absence will be missed.

**

The track star Allan Tissenbaum stirred things up with his comments to me about USATF and what changes he would like to see with how the Masters meet is being run. I have received a number of emails and texts about his comments two weeks ago and it was mostly from athletes grateful someone of prominence, like Tissenbaum, said USATF has to get more creative with its Masters meet. I have been writing sports for 45 years and events that need to take the next step are looking for a groundswell.

We'll see if one builds in Kentucky.

There is debate about what direction USATF Masters need to go in. Many see the National Senior Games as a model. One prominent track & field star told me USA Track & Field wants to keep the purity of track. There is a carnival-like atmosphere around the Senior Games, which is a different vibe than USATF.

“There is room for both,” the athlete said.

The story on Tissenbaum was one of the most widely commented on Geezer Jock stories in the year I have been doing this. That’s good. There has to be some vigor around Masters sports to keep it healthy.


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