Track and field needs new heroes to step up - SportsWatch - MarketWatch
Track and field needs new heroes to step up
With the Olympics near, sport fights to regain popularity
By Sara Germano
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Track and field has an attention problem: Except for the Olympic games, it can’t hold the attention of Americans.
Consider that roughly 18 million U.S. households watched track and field’s marquee event, the 100-meter final, during the 2008 Olympics. By contrast, outside Olympic years U.S. track meets on average have about 600,000 households tuning in, according to data from USA Track & Field, the sport’s national governing body.
Track and field was once one of the top sports in the U.S., with runners Mary Decker and Edwin Moses winning Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year awards in the mid-1980s. Athletes such as Michael Johnson, Florence Griffith-Joyner and Carl Lewis were among the country’s biggest stars, capturing headlines for their style and major championship wins..