And so it became â€śWin With Vinâ€ť by total landslide â€“ every last vote for the former Long Islander who rose to coaching eminence at Dartmouth, Stanford and Oregon â€“ zero for Jackie.
Likely, JJK saw that the USATF presidentâ€™s job was not going to be a very good fit. Or that challenging Vin was an impossibly uphill assignment. Certainly, sheâ€™s done all kinds of wonderful things since her retirement as the greatest woman athlete in her sportâ€™s history â€“ maybe the best in any sportâ€™s history, maybe either genderâ€™s best in history. Her heptathlon record scores remain far-far-far out of sight for normal humans.
Her various foundations benefiting the young people under their care continue to do marvelous work â€“ but at this Annual Meeting there was just one person up to doing the work that would be needed to keep USATF and its varied constituencies heading in all the right directions.
That person is Vin.
How will he juggle all the big chores now on his plate? How will he keep everybody under the USATF umbrella â€“ meaning the elite/Olympic level athletes, the kids, the masters, the road and cross country runners, the mountain runners, the racewalkers, the officials, the rules, law and legislation committee folks, the record-keepers, and a lot more â€“ happy and smiling ?
Answer: with some degree of difficulty. But if anybody can do it, Vin can do it.
Heâ€™ll remain the chief of Tracktown USA, Eugene, Oregon, as his day job. And that, of course, means preparing for the 2020 Olympic Trials and the 2021 World Championships at a new and improved Hayward Field as primary tasks.
But if ever a man was cut out for this assignment he's the man.
Heâ€™d already earned straight Aâ€™s for the golden performance he delivered as head coach of Team USAâ€™s men at the Rio Games. (With Connie Price-Smith doing similar feats of excellence heading up the Rio womenâ€™s team.) His management style has always stressed inclusivity â€“ as opposed to those who insist on doing it all on their own and inevitably see their visions end up in disaster.
Vin is certain to surround himself with the best possible supporting cast and thus turn any remaining doubters out there into true believers. Typically, the push to make the 2021 World Championships a rousing success is well under way.
As its already-forming committee membership â€“ some on the scene at the Annual Meeting â€“ kept reminding and urging one and all: â€ťLearn how you can help Team USA shine in the eyes of the world.â€ť
â€śStop by the booth, get involved,â€ť they urged.
Needless to say, many did. Ubetcha that Vin will get them all heading in his direction.
And heâ€™ll even find a way to get all those purveyors of negativity â€“ those convinced the flagship sport of the Olympic Games can never rise above its drug- and scandal-fueled recent past â€“ to jump on his bandwagon. Somehow. And sometime soon.