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Posted: March 2, 2009  : Add to Mixx!

Athletics: Reebok Grand Prix to Join IAAF Diamond League in 2010

League set to replace the current IAAF Golden League and expand to include twelve international track and field events Monaco

March 2, 2009— Following the announcement today of the formation of the IAAF Diamond League in 2010, a new circuit of elite international track and field meets, Mark Wetmore, president of Global Athletics & Marketing and race director of the Reebok Grand Prix held a media conference call at 10:00am ET from Monte Carlo. Below is a statement and quotes from that conference call.

Statement from Mark Wetmore: "I am thrilled that the Reebok Grand Prix has been named to the new IAAF Diamond League. When we created this event, it was with the express purpose of bringing world class track and field to New York City. I am equally excited about the IAAF Diamond League’s potential. It will succeed because it will deliver the sport’s top events to different regions of the world, not just Europe; it will encourage head-to-head competition between the sport’s best athletes; it will showcase all disciplines and last, but certainly not least, it will increase the overall prize money allocated to athletes."

Quotes from Mark Wetmore:

On being part of the IAAF Diamond League
“This is very exciting news for us. This is something we’ve been working toward for a number of years with the support of Reebok, the great facility at Icahn Stadium on Randall’s Island, and in a short amount of time, we’ve put together a meet recognized by the IAAF and made part of the new Diamond League.” “This is a thrill for us as organizer and as the group that puts the meet on. It is a great compliment and it’s hard to express how excited we are.championship events.”

“The impetus for the IAAF Diamond League came from the participating meets and IAAF President Lamine Diack. What differs from the Diamond League from the current Golden League is President Diack’s vision and idea to take this new circuit to a worldwide spectator base, including China, the Middle East and the U.S.”

“The IAAF came to us about the Diamond League. Over the last few years it has been a goal of ours to be considered for the Golden League or what would take its place. We’ve done everything we could. When we started the Reebok Grand Prix, we wanted it to be in New York because we saw it as selling point to the IAAF. We tried to bring in the best athletes from around the world. Finally, we’ve been working with IMG for the last couple of years to improve the TV product for the event. IMG is now the group that will be selling the TV package for the Diamond League – they had a known commodity in the Reebok Grand Prix and that helped our position among worldwide athletics.”

On the worldwide focus of the IAAF Diamond League circuit
“Two things that make IAAF President Diack happy are that the circuit is expanding internationally from Europe and that the circuit will include all 32 events. He’s in a position where he can feel he’s giving equal opportunities to all athletes all over the world.”

“There will be no guaranteed athlete participation. There are only going to be 10 to 20 athletes probably who are centrally contracted. Most of the top athletes can run more than one event, so there will be a lot of flexibility in the way the athletes can participate.”

“What were stressing here is match-ups, not individual athletes going to win the most races. We want to see the best athletes against the best athletes … The real stress here is going to be to recreate these matchups, wherever they’re going to get more attention and try to bring them to markets where they’ll be most appreciated.”

On the schedule of the 2010 IAAF Diamond League
“The schedule for the 2010 Diamond League is not finalized yet. It’s likely that two of the meets will be held before the Prefontaine and before New York. We will probably be based similar to when we are now, likely in late May or early June and shift to Europe in early July.”

On marketing the IAAF Diamond League
“The IAAF will take a leading hand in marketing the circuit itself, with sponsorships being a local meet issue. All Reebok Grand Prix sponsorships are in place. The IAAF will maintain the title of the Diamond League and will be globally in charge of marketing the Diamond League logo with the Reebok Grand Prix and the other meets.”

Additional information is available at ReebokGrandPrix.com.


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