The International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), track and field’s global governing body, turns 100 years old, and in honoring 100 years of excellence in the sport, an equal number of New York City youth runners ran in a Times Square exhibition today, two days ahead of the adidas Grand Prix Diamond League meet in the City this Saturday, June 9.
The young athletes were from the New York Road Runners Youth Programs, ages 10 to 14. They were joined by the seven-to-eight-year old finalists in the adidas Fastest Kids competition, a highlight of the New York Grand Prix. They were divided into relay teams so that each of the 100 team members covered 100 meters to symbolize the number years of athletics distinction being carried forward by the next generation.
On hand to kick off the event was IAAF’s president Lamine Diack, who thanked reigning Olympic double champion at 5000m and 10,000m Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia for being there as the IAAF’s international ambassador. She will be competing Saturday in the 5000m, for which she holds the world record. He also expressed gratitude to the organizers of the adidas Grand Prix, the New York City’s Samsung Diamond League meeting, the IAAF Centenary main partner VTB and supporting partners adidas and Mondo, and the New York Road Runners Club.
New American Hall of Famers
Diack then announced the latest American athletes to be honored with membership of the IAAF Hall of Fame, specially created for the centenary. They are “Babe” Mildred Didrikson, who won medals in the hurdles, javelin and high jump at the 1932 Olympics; Dan O’Brian, who was decathlon World champion in 1991, 1993 and 1995, and who also won the indoor version of the event in 1993, as well as the 1996 Olympic gold; and Michael Johnson, who held the world record holder for the 200m until 2008 and still holds the record for the 400m indoor and outdoor.
“I hope that young athletes here today will reflect on the wonderful achievements of these legends and feel inspired by what they achieved with talent, but especially with
d work and dedication,." He said.