Gebrselassie worried about future of athletics

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Gebrselassie worried about future of athletics

Unread post by zeru » 09 Apr 2014 17:10

— Surveying the state of the sport he dominated for so many years, running great Haile Gebrselassie sees a bleak future.
Despite the super-star status of Usain Bolt, Gebrselassie is deeply concerned about the shortage of elite-level events with true global appeal for fans and, just as importantly, sponsors.
"Athletics has to change a little bit, bring in new ideas, new concepts — otherwise it's going to be a just a bit boring to watch," Gebrselassie said Wednesday. "I don't know how many people are interested in just watching running for two hours — maybe soccer yes, but running we have to upgrade the situation ... attract more of an audience (and give) what they like."
While the awe-inspiring performances produced by Bolt at the last two Olympics have given a major boost to the sport, Gebrselassie thinks the Jamaican's mass-appeal could be masking deeper-lying issues that are not been addressed.
"Many stadiums are full because of him," Gebrselassie said. "What will happen after Usain Bolt, who will be the next star? How many spectators will come not just to watch (Bolt)? If you don't have Usain Bolt in the next two, three years we will be in trouble."
Few figures in the sport have better credentials to deliver such a brutal assessment than Gebrselassie, who built his reputation as one of the most complete distance runners ever by setting world records in the 5,000, 10,000, half marathon and marathon.
Though not pushing for a role himself, the 40-year-old Ethiopian is urging the IAAF leadership to address the lack of major track meets beyond those on the Diamond League circuit, and cross-country events where he gained vital experience in the 1990s.
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