A new year and a new sporting event to wet your appetite. The Nitro Athletics Melbourne competition will take place on February the 4th, 9th and 11th. It aims to change the face of Track and Field and boasts Usain Bolt as its most prominent proponent.
Nitro Athletics is a unique competition which aims to turn the sport of Athletics from individualism to more of a team ethic. The first event will be in Melbourne Australia, a country who is the main force behind the concept. Athletics Australia President explained “Nitro Athletics is the sports entertainment product track and field needs to move athletics beyond the existing format of one-day athletics meets,” said Arbib. “Nitro Athletics will be the catalyst that will change how athletics is presented. It’s a game-changer for athletics and Athletics Australia. We want to start the global reinvigoration of athletics right here in Australia.”
There will be six teams each containing 24 athletes. These will be broken into an equal number of men and women. These athletes will work together to build a team point score based on combined results in various events. Points will be awarded for placements running from 100 points for the athlete in first and depreciates running down the order.
Teams will also have the chance to use special ‘power ups’ that they elect to use in chosen event. These will either double a team’s point score, steal 50% off another team or reward beating certain distances in events like long jump.
To make a change like this in a sport cemented in history takes a big name and they don’t come much bigger than Usain Bolt. The 9X Olympic Champion who also holds multiple records has made Nitro athletics his legacy project. “This will be track and field as it’s never been seen before and that’s why I’m involved, not only as a competitor, but also as a team captain,” said the multiple world record-holder, who has never raced in Australia. “Nitro Athletics is what track and field needs – a fresh way to present the sport and I can’t wait to be back in Melbourne to share Nitro Athletics with the fans in February.”
There will be some standard events that fans will recognise in Melbourne like the 100m, Hurdles and Javelin, but there are also some surprises up Nitro’s sleeves. Most notably is in the long-distance events. A 3-minute run will be contested by both men and women. First the men will run for 3 minutes no-stop. Where they finish will determine where their female teammate starts. She too will run for 3 minutes and the longest combined distance will give us a winner.
Events such as Nitro Athletics are very hit and miss. Similar tries have been made to reinvigorate sports. Twenty20 in Cricket has proved a tremendous success, but on the same side of the coin Super Sixes in golf has not had the same impact. It will remain to be seen whether fans will take to the new team based format. Fans will be used to the sport celebrating great individual achievements and a combine team score might not have the right climactic element to excite fans.