Seb Coe: Track and field needs more U.S. meets

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Seb Coe, president of track and field’s international governing body, urged for more one-day track and field meets in the U.S. to reconnect American fans with the sport that is mostly contested, at the top level, in Europe.

“You are the powerhouse of track and field. You have been for a long time,” Coe, the 1980 and 1984 Olympic 1500m champion for Great Britain, told Mike Tirico on Lunch Talk Live on NBCSN on Friday. “But we also need to have the opportunities for American athletes to be earning their crust, to be performing in front of great crowds and audiences in the U.S. At the moment, it’s rather European tilted. So I’m hoping that we can really start developing more one-day meetings in the U.S., which is what you had in the past.”

Coe hopes those meets can be developed between 2022, when the U.S. hosts the world outdoor championships for the first time, in Eugene, Ore., and the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics.

“It’s really important for our sport to have a foothold, more than a foothold, in the U.S.,” he said. “Look, you are the largest global sports market. Athletics needs to be there.”

Currently, one of the 15 annual Diamond League meets is held in the U.S. — the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene. The U.S. also had a meet in New York City that was taken off the calendar after 2015.

Meanwhile, Americans earned more than twice as many golds and total medals as the next-best nation at the most recent Olympics (2016) and world championships (2019).

“When I was competing a long time ago, there did seem to be more opportunities for U.S. athletes to be competing on domestic soil,” Coe said. “I would just like to see more opportunities for those athletes to earn a living domestically, and maybe we’ve all taken our eye off the ball a little bit here. We’ve got a strategic plan that we are working our way through at the moment, and a very key indicator there is to try to reconnect more American fans with track and field. … I think it’s not that difficult to reconnect, but I think we’re all going to have to work a little bit harder at that.”

MORE: Ato Boldon’s Tokyo Olympic track and field storylines in 2021

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Finn Christian Jagge, 1992 Olympic slalom champion, dies at 54

Finn Christian Jagge
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Finn Christian Jagge, the surprise 1992 Olympic slalom champion, has died at age 54, according to Norway’s Olympic Committee.

Jagge’s wife, Trine-Lise Jagge, posted on Facebook that he died of an acute illness.

Jagge, then 25, won the slalom at the Albertville Games in Savoie, France, stunning defending champion Alberto Tomba of Italy. Jagge had the fastest first run by 1.07 seconds and relegated Tomba to silver by .28 of a second after the second run. Tomba was going for his fourth straight Olympic gold medal.

Jagge’s father won a Norwegian record 42 national tennis championships. His mother competed in Alpine skiing at the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, according to Olympedia.org.

Jagge won his first Norwegian national title at age 18. After knee and back injuries, he won seven World Cup slaloms in the 1990s, retiring in 2000.

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Posted by Trine-Lise Jagge on Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin, Olympian, world champion snowboarder, drowns in spearfishing accident

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Alex “Chumpy” Pullin, an Olympian and world champion snowboarder, drowned while spearfishing on Australia’s Gold Coast on Wednesday.

A police spokesperson said a 32-year-old man, later identified as Pullin, was unresponsive when taken from the water and died despite receiving CPR from lifeguards and emergency treatment from paramedics.

The accident happened at Palm Beach around 10:40 a.m. local time. Pullin had been diving on an artificial reef when he was found by a snorkeler.

“Another diver was out there and located him on the sea floor and raised the attention of nearby surfers who sought lifeguards to bring him in,” police said. “He didn’t have an oxygen mask. We understand he was free diving and spearfishing out on the reef.”

Pullin competed in Olympic snowboard cross in 2010, 2014 and 2018 with a best finish of sixth. He won back-to-back world titles in 2011 and 2013. He carried Australia’s flag at the Sochi Olympic Opening Ceremony in 2014.

“We are all in shock today as one of the most beloved members of our close snow sport community, Chumpy, has sadly lost his life in what appears to be a tragic accident,” Snow Australia CEO Michael Kennedy said in a statement. “He was a mentor to so many of our younger snowboarders, giving up his time to coach and provide advice to our future Olympians. His loss will be felt right across our community.

“We know it won’t just be here in Australia that Chumpy’s legacy will be remembered, but throughout the international snowboarding community. It wasn’t just his ability to deliver results that will be missed, but his leadership and the path that he laid for so many.”

His parents owned a ski and snowboard shop in the Australian Alps, where Pullin began riding at age 8. Older friends gave him the nickname “Chumpy,” and it stuck.

Pullin, who spent time as a frontman for the surf-reggae band love Charli, often brought a guitar with him while traveling for competitions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.