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Siegel provides State of the Sport, highlights historic performances and athlete financials


ORLANDO, FLORIDA -- USATF CEO Max Siegel on Thursday afternoon delivered a State of the Sport address that highlighted the overall health of the sport, athletic success of team USATF athletes, and growth in the areas of constituent services, partnerships and athlete income. He made his remarks at the Opening General Session of USATF’s 2016 Annual Meeting.


Pointing to track & field as the largest and fastest-growing sport on the high school level, as reported by NFHS, the grass roots strength of the sport dovetailed with a historically successful competitive year for Team USATF.


Athletic highlights of 2016 included:

  • 32 Olympic medals – the most at a non-boycotted Games since 1932

  • Record-setting 23 medals at IAAF World Indoors

  • Record-tying 21 medals at IAAF World Juniors

  • Women raced alongside men at the 50 km race walk Olympic Trials as part of the USATF Women’s 50 km race walk championships

  • 240 American athletes won a total of 181 medals at the World Masters Athletics Championships

  • Team USATF Mountain-Ultra-Trail (MUT) runners won 15 medals in four international competitions, including three team gold medals and three individual golds


Among constituents, USATF membership is at 130,000, a 30 percent increase in paid memberships over 2011. The USATF National Office is now paying directly for competition officials’ secondary insurance, providing professional liability insurance for USATF competition officials, including at non-USATF events; and in 2017 USATF will roll out a new sanction incentive program that provides financial incentives to USATF Associations for successfully managing the USATF event sanctioning program, with an emphasis on growth and risk management compliance.


Siegel recounted that USATF added four new corporate partners in 2016 in Chobani, Garden of Life, KT Tape and NormaTec, totaling 12 new business partners added since 2013.


Discussing new agreements with NBC (see related release), the Penn Relays, National Black Marathoners Association and Running USA, Siegel also previewed two new partnership announcements USATF will make next week in the community-outreach realm.


In USATF’s first partnership of this kind, USATF in 2017 will join forces with the American Cancer Society in a fundraising effort that will raise money for cancer research and USATF Youth programs.


Additionally, continuing a steady, national growth, USATF next week also will announce a new partnership with YWCA USA to make RunJumpThrow, USATF’s youth activity partnership with The Hershey Company, a part of YWCA’s national offerings.       


“We recognize the importance of partners and really try to reach out to different markets and demographics,” Siegel said. “I believe we’ve just scratched the surface as to where we can go. We have growing equity in the sports marketplace.”


USATF focus on high performance programs crucial for athlete success

The focus of Siegel’s remarks, coming at the end of the 2016 Olympic year, centered on athlete support and high performance services.


“What we’ve done over the last five years has been amazing,” Siegel said. “I’m looking forward to working with our new leadership and athletes in the future.”


USATF is collecting comprehensive resource and financial information about the high performance support side of the sport. While final, official numbers will be forthcoming, Siegel shared preliminary numbers with Opening Session attendees.


In 2016, athletes earned $6,998,604 in cash from USATF program sources, including:

  • $2,610,050 cash in prize money at USATF championship events, including Olympic Trials, Indoor Championships, road racing and cross country championships

  • $1,855,004 cash via the USATF Elite Athlete Revenue Distribution Plan, which provided $10,000 to each athlete competing at the Olympic Games and payments for medal-winning performances

  • $1,923,250 in athlete cash stipends through the USATF Tier program

  • $610,300 in cost-relieving USATF travel payments toward athlete travel to the USATF Indoor Championships and the Olympic Trials


Citing only cash generated through these USATF programs in 2016, one U.S. athlete earned more than $100,000 from USATF programs alone; 35 athletes, representing all event groups, were over $38,000; and 85 were over $25,000.


In 2016, athletes earned at least $4,445,004 in cash from other publicly available streams, including published, international prize money earned on the road and track, USOC Operation Gold grants and USATF Foundation grants.


USATF support programs also provided $2,609,930 in optional support programs, including Olympic Training Center programs, health insurance, sport performance workshops, and other Tier programs.


Combining all these broad sources, in 2016, preliminary figures indicate more than $14,053,538 in publicly traceable support sources for U.S. athletes, not including personal sponsorship contracts, appearance fees and other private income. From those resources, 28 U.S. athletes earned more than $100,000; 111 athletes earned more than $38,000; and 179 total athletes were over $25,000.


USATF support in 2016 also included $692,500 cash paid to athletes’ personal coaches for Tier Support, Olympic travel, medal bonuses and Training Center awards; and $492,000 in USATF spending on athlete medical services, testing, treatment and related programs.


“These numbers are preliminary, but they are a start in an important process,” Siegel said. “I think that we’ve achieved a lot and we have to maintain the stability of our organization… that gives us the flexibility and creative freedom to get even more aggressive to grow our resource pool. I think our entire organization is very optimistic about our ability to put track and field on an even bigger map and increase our footprint.”


Siegel closed by pointing to a photo of Team USA in Rio, saying, “this is what it’s all about.”


Follow along with USATF at the 2016 USATF Annual Meeting on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook using #USATF16. The Annual Meeting continues through Sunday, December 4 in Orlando.


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