World Track Meet Seems Headed for L.A. : Major Event May Be Held Here in 1991--or More Likely, 1993

Times Staff Writer

Those who follow track and field politics consider Los Angeles the second choice as the site for the 1991 World outdoor championship meet, but say that the city may have to wait only two additional years before it plays host to the most prestigious meet other than the Olympics.

The 21-member council of the International Amateur Athletic Federation, the governing body for track and field, is expected to award the 1991 meet to Tokyo at its meeting this weekend in Rome.

But the council also is expected to vote to hold World outdoor meets every two years instead of every four years, in which case Los Angeles would be the favorite for 1993. Other candidates for the 1991 meet are West Berlin and Perth, Australia.

"If it's not going to be in Los Angeles in 1991, then I'd think we'd be in contention for '93 or even '95," said Will Kern, The Times' special events manager. He will present the city's bid to the council Sunday.

"If you're going to do something like this, you need as much lead time as possible. It's not just another track meet."

Also on the council's agenda will be the possible acceptance of professional football players who have applied for reinstatement in track and field. IAAF President Primo Nebiolo of Italy said that among those players are Ram wide receiver Ron Brown, Dallas running back Herschel Walker, Chicago wide receiver Willie Gault and San Francisco nose tackle Michael Carter.

Hurdler Renaldo Nehemiah was reinstated last year but only after saying that he no longer will play pro football. He was a wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers.

Dr. Leroy Walker, president of The Athletics Congress, which governs track in the United States, said he expects the council to rule that current professional players will have to make the same concession before they can be reinstated.

Los Angeles was the early favorite for the 1991 World meet but lost ground to Tokyo because of the Coliseum Commission's indecision over whether to retain the track. When the Coliseum Commission reached a compromise with the Raiders that assured that the track will remain, Los Angeles resumed its pursuit of the bid.

The intensity of Tokyo's bid was evident at the World indoor meet earlier this month in Indianapolis' Hoosier Dome, where a majority of the signboards around the track were rented by Japanese sponsors.

"They've got bags of money, and they know how to do things right," Kern said of the Tokyo bidders.

But Kern said that the IAAF also has encouraged the Los Angeles bid because of the success of the track and field competition at the Coliseum during the 1984 Summer Olympics.

The World outdoor meet was first held in Helsinki in 1983, with the second scheduled for this summer in Rome.

Nebiolo said recently that the outdoor meet probably will be held every other year after 1991 to match the World indoor meet. The second World indoor meet has already been awarded to Budapest in 1989.

If there are World outdoor meets every two years, Nebiolo said, the World Cup track and field meet will be discontinued.

Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World