When Janet Wagner walked into the Albuquerque Convention Center Friday, Feb. 21, she thought she was just accompanying her son for packet pick-up at USA Indoor Championships. To her surprise, a spur of the moment decision ultimately presented her with a dream of a lifetime.
Wagner decided to register USA Track & Field Rewards, a USATF program that allows fans around the world to connect, compete and be rewarded for interacting with the USATF brand and partners across multiple media platforms. As fans accumulate “wings” for interacting with USATF, they unlock new levels of rewards and start earning wings immediately upon joining the program.
“We had gone back to the hotel that Friday, and cell phone rang,” said Wagner. “I didn’t answer because I didn’t recognize the number. Once I realized it was from Indianapolis, I called right back thinking it might be the USATF National Office.”
The call Wagner received was indeed from a USATF representative, and that staff member was calling to congratulate her on winning the ultimate two-day, track & field fan experience at USA Indoors.
On the first day of her ultimate fan experience, Wagner had the opportunity to select USATF gear, view the opening of USA Indoors from the NBC Sports production truck, watch her son compete in the 35-lb weight throw and watch the entire meet trackside on a raised platform next to coaching and track & field legends.
Wagner, a master’s thrower, also met four-time Olympian, discus athlete Aretha Thurmond. “It was a thrill to be able to see a female thrower of that caliber in person,” said the ultimate fan as Thurmond went the extra mile to introduce Wagner to two-time Olympic silver medalist Doc Patton, pole vaulter Jenn Suhr, the legendary John Carlos and Dan O’Brien among others.
On her second day of the ultimate fan experience, Wagner met USATF CEO Max Siegel, and had the chance to win more gear if she correctly predicted the winner of men’s 60-meter hurdles final. Wagner selected Omo Osaghae and watched the race unfold from the long jump runway.
“When Omo won, I was so thrilled that I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I went over to him and I gave him a big hug.
“Sometimes, it’s important to take a chance. I did and it really paid off. As a track & field fan, this is interesting to me. Our sport is so wonderful that I felt like I was talking to fellow athletes, fellow participants in track & field. Talking to Doc Patton and Aretha Thurmond, it was like I was talking with friends. I think that's what our sport is all about. It’s about being a part of the family.”
Wagner has since become a USATF Rewards regular, comparing the excitement of interaction to thrill of using social media. “You want to go back and get more points and earn more wings. I haven’t even looked at prizes yet, but I just want to move up to that next level. It’s basically just a lot of fun.”
For more information or to register, visit rewards.usatf.org
About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org.