As of May, 2023, Max Siegel’s reign as CEO of USA Track & Field will have reached 11 years. Siegel and the federation continue to look for ways to grow the sport, including strong efforts at the Under-20 and Youth levels – those levels that most impact athletes who compete in NSAF meets.
And now, more than ever, there’s opportunities for synergy between the NSAF and USATF. Nike is a key partner and sponsor for both organizations and the facilities that host both NSAF indoor and outdoor nationals – The Armory and Hayward Field – are strongly connected in multiple ways with Nike and the USATF.
Siegel sees the NSAF’s Nike Indoor Nationals and Nike Outdoor Nationals as vital in the growth of the sport from USATF’s perspective. “I think these events are absolutely critical for a number of reasons,” he said. “One, is in order to identify our future stars we've got to have a very, very deep pipeline. I think it's also important to continue to build a fan base. I have not met a person that does not have a track & field story, so to have exciting events where you have engagements from families and fans is really important. And then I think that it is really important to prepare our elite athletes by having high level competitions that they can participate in.”
At that high level, the results are often most evident when the U.S. sends strong teams to meets like the World U-20 Championships, which often include athletes who have competed in NSAF events and been supported with travel grants on their journeys.
Siegel notes that “You have more young people, middle and high school, that participate in the sport than any other sport right now, which is really exciting. We see it as a tremendous opportunity to connect the USA Track & Field federation, and our brand, to that demographic. We share that with Nike.”
He added, “I think track & field is one of the rare sports that you have such an opportunity to have cultural impact; we are aligned in terms of our mission with the NSAF and Nike,” he continues. We already started collaborating with Nike in the youth space last year with our XC championships, so we see a lot of synergy, tremendous opportunity and we're really excited, especially with the Olympics coming up here in L.A. in 2028 to really start to connect with that demographic, so we couldn't be more excited about the whole partnership.”