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Posted: June 28, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: Beach goes from record-breaker to USATF CEO for a day

EUGENE, Ore. - When USA Today's Dick Patrick profiled high school decathlete Curtis Beach in May, Beach revealed that his long-term goal was to become CEO of USA Track & Field. (See USAToday.com )

The current CEO of USATF, Doug Logan, took notice. He immediately had his staff contact Beach to arrange a meeting; that meeting turned into Beach spending a day with Logan as he conducts business at the 2009 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.

"As soon as I saw the article, I knew I wanted to come up with a way to get Curtis involved in the organization," Logan said. "It's not every day that a world-class high school athlete is devoting mental energy to contemplating administration of the sport. I was eager to meet him."

On Saturday, Beach attended meetings with Logan, watched portions of the championships and traded ideas with his role model, less than 24 hours after the prepster won the national junior title in the decathlon.

"All I was hoping for was that Doug would see the quote and think, 'Wow, that's pretty cool,'" Beach said midway through his CEO-for-a-day experience. "I never thought I would have the opportunity to spend the day with him. When they called to invite me to do it, it was sheer excitement. I had been reading all his blogs."

Beach's attraction to being involved in the sport goes beyond simply thinking it's cool to hang with the CEO. On his flight from New Mexico to Eugene, Beach spent his time sketching out his strategic vision for USATF in a spiral-bound notebook. Taking up three pages and written in pencil, the plan involves creating a clean, drug-free atmosphere for athletes to compete, making a true business of the sport, and maintaining Team USA's status as the best in the world.

"But the one that trumps all of that," Beach said, "is how to use USATF to help the general population have good lives."

Saturday's activities also included a casual photo session with Logan and participation in an early-morning meeting that included Logan, President Stephanie Hightower, USATF Chief Operating Officer Mike McNees, USATF board member Jack Wickens, and other members of USATF senior staff. During the meeting, Beach not only observed, he participated by asking questions and offering insight. After the meeting, he peppered McNees with questions about long-term planning.

"I have a sense of how much movement there is in USATF to create a model for helping athletes after their track careers," Beach said of the meet. "It could be a real model for all professional sports."

After the USA Outdoor Championships, Beach will leave to Eugene and return to New Mexico, where he will train for the Pan American Junior Championships and prepare to enter Duke University in the fall. But the bigger picture is never far from his mind.

"I've been passionate about helping the sport any way I can," Beach said. "Not just doing it from the perspective of being an athlete."

About USA Track & Field
USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.

For more information on USATF, visit USATF.org.


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