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  • Writer's pictureJack Mullaney

Bring the Diamond League Back to NYC

The 2015 adidas Grand Prix in New York City was the last time I attended a track meet as nothing more than a fan. A couple months later, I would escape a full-time finance job in the corporate world for an operations internship with the track team at the University of Minnesota.*

But the casual relationship I had with the sport wasn't the only thing that would soon change. It was also the last time the Diamond League's schedule would include the meet, held on Randall's Island at Icahn Stadium. In 2016, New York would be replaced by Rabat, Morocco on the calendar.

I thought about this as I looked through the entries for this weekend's New Balance Invitational, hosted by the Ocean Breeze Athletic Complex on New York's Staten Island. Though I've never been to Ocean Breeze, it frequently is brought up in conversations as a place that's, well, not the easiest to get to.

The same could be said for Icahn Stadium. The closest subway station is the Harlem - 125th Station at the intersection of Park Ave and 125th Street. From there, you walk east on 125th (also called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd) across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge which traverses the Harlem River, down a flight of steps, through a park, before arriving at the track.

The trouble is, it's about a one and a half mile walk. I should know. I did it.

The other trouble was, the meet was held on a Saturday afternoon in June. It was hot and humid, and the sun was beating down onto the track. I remember being soaked in sweat.

But here's the thing: the stands were packed, and the stars were out.

Just look at a list of event winners. It included Usain Bolt, English Gardner, Wayde van Niekerk, Ajee Wilson, David Rudisha, Ben True, Joe Kovacs, Tori Bowie, Tyson Gay, Sharika Nelvis, David Oliver, and Sandra Perkovic. If you really want to reminisce, most of the Dream Mile fields from that year would go on to become household names in the NCAA.

So yes, it was hot, and yes, it was hard to get to. But it was a really good meet. And in a market like New York, I feel like there was incredible potential for it to grow and increase exposure for the sport. However, in doing research, I can't find anything about why World Athletics axed it from the calendar.

If you know, leave a comment. Otherwise, if you're listening, World Athletics, let's bring it back.

*Not really an "escape" if financial freedom is your only motivator. For me, it (clearly) wasn't.

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