Keep Up or Get Left Behind NOT TOO LONG AGO, Christoph Harting, a 2016 Olympic medalist, made the dire prediction that unless drastic reforms could be made, the Games would be dead by 2040. It was a strong statement, and the reaction to it was swift. But people did have to admit that the image of the Olympics has been tarnished over the years. Judging scandals, doping and most recently, cities backing away from the possibility of hosting the Games are all symptoms of the fact that there’s much room for improvement in the Olympic business model. To counter the problems, the IOC last year launched its Olympic Agenda 2020, meant to help revamp the ideals of the Games and make them more appealing and accessible – as well as ecologically and financially sound. Imagine that: the oldest sporting event in the world is admitting it needs to change with the times. But realistically, that shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you look around, you’ll see plenty of examples of the evolution of sports and the way athletes have embraced them. The new and burgeoning game of pickleball and the absolute explosion of obstacle races, not to mention functional fitness competitions, are examples that immediately come to mind. While there are plenty of traditional sports that are going strong (soccer and aquatics are examples, and both are found in this issue), others have had to evolve to remain relevant. One of those is golf, as you’ll see from not one but two articles in these pages. This issue also has an interesting take on stay-to-play, as discussed by representatives of three different destinations within the same state. It’s not a rah-rah look at the practice; it’s simply an admission that any practice may not fit an event, or an area, 100 percent of the time. You’ll also find some surprising insights into the business of sports photography and some new ideas for establishing appropriate medical precautions for your athletes. As we move into spring, athletes will be looking for opportunities to travel, to compete and to shine. Savvy event owners know they will have to give those athletes something to talk about in order to gain registrations in an often oversaturated market. Just as the Olympics are doing, we can count on the industry to continue to innovate, evolve and improve to entice those athletes to keep coming back. CORRECTION In last month’s issue, we inadvertently stated that the Wildwoods Convention Center’s Oceanfront Arena was 7,500 square feet. As you can see by this photo, it is considerably larger. The Oceanfront Arena is 75,000 square feet of unobstructed space with telescopic bleachers containing seating for 6,500 people. The U.S. Futsal Northeast Championships held at the 75,000-square-foot Wildwoods Convention Center’s Oceanfront Arena in Wildwood, New Jersey.
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