Why Michael Johnson’s $30 Million Track League Won’t Have Any Safety Pins

June 20, 2024

Michael Johnson’s new track league, formally launched this week and debuting next spring, addresses several major issues in the sport. Grand Slam Track also tackles one very small one. Sprinters and runners competing in the league won’t pin paper bibs to their jersey tops, eliminating a long-loathed anachronism.

Athletes have long complained about bibs, which look out of place in professional sports and, more important, take up potentially coveted real estate on a jersey for a sponsor. Last year, Johnson ripped into bibs. “When an athlete is trying to focus on performing at their best, the bibs are a distraction,” he said. “The fastest, most efficient athletes in the world are competing with a piece of paper safety-pinned on. It just reeks of amateurism.” Now he’s made good on his word. FOS