If I could change the rules…


SPIKES asked three US track and field stars, Jenny Simpson, Will Claye and Queen Harrison, to tell us what they’d change if they were in charge of the sport for the day.

Jenny Simpson, 1500m
Change: Get the public involved

"I’d like to see an accountant line up in the 100m just to show people how incredibly fast the athletes are. It would have been good to see some high school kids up against Dwight Phillips in the long jump or Jesse Williams in the high jump.

"This would give people a much better idea about just how exceptional these athletes are. I don’t know if this would practically apply to every event, I’m not sure the crowd would really want to see a non-top athlete finish a 10,000, but it could add a really fun element to the sprints and field events.

"Can you imagine me up against Valerie Adams in the women’s shot? It would be hilarious. I think I could only throw the shot about four inches beyond my fingertips. It would give added perspective just to show how gifted and skilled these women are."


Will Claye won triple jump and long jump bronze medals at London 2012.

Will Claye, long and triple jump 
Change: NBA-style draft

"A professional league of teams with each teams able to draft the athletes. Each team would have two athletes per event and one athlete could be substituted if he/she is not fit that day. Eight teams would compete per meeting and the team that accrues the most points across the meeting would win. It would be say, ten points for a win, eight for second, etc. The teams could come from across the globe: in the US, Jamaica and Europe.

"The draft system used across American sports would add more attention and drama to the sport. It would be a huge TV event. Imagine the interest in Usain Bolt and which team he would go to? It would be really cool."


Gifted hurdler Queen Harrison at the Moscow 2013 World Championships.

Queen Harrison, 100m and 400m hurdles
Change: Athletics TV

"Athletics is the root of all sport and I would like to see it given more exposure, particularly in the US. So why not give us our own channel? Golf has its own channel and american football has its own channel. I think people would respond to it in a really positive way.

"Athletics is an exciting sport to watch, you either win or you lose. You cannot blame offense or defense or the kicker for a defeat. People are sometimes led to believe track is not a popular sport but I genuinely think it is. It is important to get these faces in athletics out there so people know who they are.

"Top basketball players and footballers are constantly on television so people care. Having a dedicated athletics channel would help raise the profile of the sport."


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