Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Sports Media,Ryan Hall and Missed Opportunities

A few months ago I lamented in a post about the lack of coverage given to American distance runners these days. I referenced back to the 50's and 60's when this wasn't the case. Well, this past Monday afternoon we witnessed a tremendous marathon run by Ryan Hall. He placed fourth at the Boston Marathon,running a time of 2:04:57. The winner ran 2:03:02 to set a new world record. So, if you do the math,Ryan finished 1:55 behind the winner. Oh yeah,he also ran the fastest time ever for an American in a marathon. For those of you who follow running, would it be an exaggeration to say it was the best marathon by an American male since the days of Alberto in the early 80's? I don't think so. It was a flat out phenomenal run. Predictably and sadly,there has been minimal coverage of Ryan and what he did in the sports pages. It was noted as a kind of sidebar feature to the winner's profile in the biggest state newspaper I read. Apparently,the preferred stories still lie in covering the pro sports whose seasons never seem to end and rehashing the nuances of the Nascar race held this past Sunday.What a missed opportunity by the media. It was a great effort by a personable and engaging American runner. What makes this lack of coverage all the more discouraging is that this is yet another missed opportunity for kids to read about someone who is not a whole lot older then them, running, and running exceptionally. It's another lost opportunity to cover an athlete who just might inspire our youth to take up this sport that we love. Some of the internet running sites should not be immune from a little criticism either. A few of the bigger ones seemed to focus more on the second place finish by American female Desiree Davilia than Ryan's race. The reality is this, no matter how good her run was, she finished 7 minutes off the world record while Ryan was 1:55 behind. And please,before anyone calls out the PC police, I am in no way disparaging Davila's run. It was a great day for American distance running, now if only the media would write more about it.

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