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Track cameras may get too up close and personal

Qatar Athletics Worlds
Justin Gatlin celebrates winning the silver medal in the men’s 100-meter final.
(Associated Press)

If you have been watching the track and field world championships for the last week on the NBC Sports Network, you’ve seen the new innovative camera they have come up with. It’s a small camera that sits in the middle of the starters blocks for sprint events. The camera points straight up in the hope of giving us a great view of the face of the runner as they concentrate before hearing the starter’s gun. Instead, well, let’s just say the new name for it is the “crotch cam.”

“I’m not too keen about it because it’s kind of invading my private space in a sense,” Akani Simbine, a South African who finished fourth in Saturday’s 100-meter final, told the Associated Press. “Being in the blocks is one of the athlete’s sacred spaces and that’s the point where you just want to be alone and be free.”

U.S. sprinter Justin Gatlin was prepared for the cameras: “I made sure I had my lucky underwear on.”

“My friends told me the pictures weren’t very flattering,” said Dina Asher-Smith, British silver medalist in the women’s 100 meters.

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An official complaint came from the German track and field federation. It led to the competition organizers rolling back the use of the cameras, which were introduced in Doha as part of a technology push to attract new viewers. They’ve also introduced pre-race dimming of the lights and graphics being projected on the track

“We have noted some specific feedback about the block cameras, and we have confirmed we have appropriate measures in place to protect athlete privacy during the process of selecting images for broadcast,” the International Association of Athletics Federations said in a statement.

Shouldn’t he be a volleyball fan?

Writer-director Spike Lee spent $100,701 on New York Knicks memorabilia in a recent auction.

The family of late Knicks coach Red Holzman sold 35 items that netted $319,341, according to SCP Auctions, which handled last week’s sale.

Lee purchased the original net from Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals for $69,184 and Holzman’s NBA coach of the year trophy from that season for $31,517,

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Lee attended Game 7 at Madison Square Garden as a 13-year-old.

“It was a memory I will never forget,” he said in a statement from SCP Auctions. “Willis Reed coming back and the Garden went nuts. It was a very special moment in Knicks history.”

Your favorite sports moment

What is your favorite all-time L.A. sports moment? Email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com and tell me what it is and why, and it could appear in a future daily sports newsletter or Morning Briefing.

This moment comes from Jonathan Taylor:

“I grew up in Westwood, and was a young lad during the heyday of John Wooden’s UCLA men’s basketball dominance. My buddies and I regularly hung out on the UCLA campus, and on game days, we’d try to sneak in to Pauley Pavilion. Security was nothing like what it is today, but it still wasn’t easy. That said, we did identify one kind and accommodating ticket taker who would sometimes let us in once the game had begun.

“So this particular game just happened to be in the NCAA tournament at the end of the then-named Lew Alcindor’s college career. The Bruins were playing Santa Clara (if memory serves) and, as usual, won easily. It was magical, that whole run. Anyway, once we got in the arena, we made our way down to the floor — again, it was a different time — and I found myself standing right at the mouth of the tunnel where the players would run off the court and into the locker room.

“Sure enough, as time ran out, the team came streaming off the floor — no celebrating the West Regional win for this team that was aiming at the national title — and as I saw big Lew (now Kareem Abdul Jabbar, of course) running toward me, I stuck out both hands, palms up and as he ran past, the greatest player in the history of basketball slapped me 10. What?! It was a literal touch of greatness, and I’ve never forgotten it. I have, however, washed those hands a few times in the 50 or so years since.”


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