Last week the Diamond League issued a ruling to cut the discus, triple jump and 200 meters from their competition platform. This was supposedly an effort to decrease the length of time it takes to finish the competition, to ensure the track and field meets are more “appropriate” for TV time slots and to make scheduling a bit easier.
From a total outsider perspective, cutting the 200m makes sense to me because there is already a 100m sprint and a 400m sprint. The 200m is slightly redundant as an event and from a business perspective, it makes SOME sense to cut. The triple jump actually baffles me a bit. The triple is usually entertaining for spectators, the competitors do a good job entertaining the crowd while putting forth excellent performances. It is also a great event to watch while slower events may be happening on the track.
The discus is another event that is somewhat baffling. The international symbol for most field events is the discobolus, an iconic statue from ancient Greece where a figure is carrying a discus. Perhaps it has been cut because it is a “long” throw and can take a bit longer to complete as an event. However, people love seeing a discus fly 65-70 meters in the air, they love seeing large individuals move at blazing speeds while bringing tremendous energy and intensity. On top of that, discus for men AND women is very competitive which furthers the entertainment quality. Cutting this from the Diamond League is odd, but let’s dive further into some more potential reasons.
Why did this happen?
We need to remember a few key principles here. The Diamond League is a business. As far as I can tell, the Diamond League is a poorly run business that is controlled directly by the IAAF. They care about one thing and one thing only, a financial profit (or more likely, a way to line the pockets of the investors). My assumption is that in years past, the Diamond League has struggled with revenue, leading to the displeasure of the investors/bankers behind the project. It is VERY likely that the “cutting” of these events was forced upon the organizers by the very individuals who bankroll the entire League. By cutting the discus, it may make it easier to coordinate the remaining field events while not having to worry about any potential safety issues surrounding a longer throw.
As a former thrower and coach of numerous discus throwers, it is difficult for me to remove my emotional frustration from the situation. However, as a business owner it MIGHT make sense to remove the event. I don’t know all of the work that goes hosting discus during a shortened competition platform but I assume it can have its own logistic issues. By removing the discus, more energy can potentially be placed elsewhere toward events that can be done in a more intimate setting (pole vault, long jump, shot put). Do I agree with the cutting? No. Do I understand it? To a point, yes.
What does it mean for the sport, long term?
Throwers are doom and gloom individuals. When something like this happens, a lot of us have this knee-jerk reaction:
“The discus world is collapsing.”
“There is a conspiracy in track to get the throws out of the sport entirely!”
“It’s all the distance runners fault!”
“Our sport is DOOMED!”
A lot of us crazy throwers had these thoughts ripping through our minds. However, I have a slightly different approach to the scenario. I definitely believe