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Sunday, May 13, 2012
Lashinda Demus on track: 'A dying sport'

By Jim Caple

DALLAS -- Lashinda Demus, the world champion in the 400 hurdles, said that every time she competes at a track and field meet, "We know we're in a dying sport."

"People are making $15,000 a year and calling themselves a professional athlete. To me that's not a good job," she said Sunday at the U.S. Olympic media summit in Dallas. "We don't have anyone pulling in [viewers] on TV. Our races aren't on TV like in other professional sports. It's just less and less. They're trying to do better than that -- you can see that with the Diamond League meets, where you can see on who knows what channel. We're in the back somewhere."

So why is track's popularity down? Demus says it's a mixture of things.

"They say the drug thing hurts it and I think that does affect it, but you see people caught doing drugs in baseball and that doesn't really hurt them that much," Demus said. "I honestly think our track meets aren't shown, and one of the reasons they don't show them is because they're so long. If we can keep the meets down to a certain number of events to keep the viewership to stayed tune for 35-40 minutes, it might be better. ...

"That's why we need a great marketing team. I don't have the answers, but more media time would help, more sponsors would all help."