I've given a lot of thought on how we can make our great sport of track and field more popular in the United States. Over the next couple days (maybe weeks) I'll throw out some of my ideas.
Idea number 1: Put a 40 yard split timer on all 100m races. The general public knows about 40 yard times. They here them all the time from when watching football games, reading football scouting reports, and from football coaches from highschool on up. Since we live in a football-crazed country why not use this idea to highlight just how amazingly fast the best sprinters are in the world. The 100m guys wouldn't have to do anything special. They'd run their 100m just like normal except an electric timing gate would give a 40 yard split time. To make it even closer to the football 40 yard test we could even use a timing conversion (like subtracting .12 seconds for reaction time) since the football 40 yard dash doesn't have a reaction time component like the sprints in track do. Better yet, you could start the timer for the 40 yard split not when the gun goes off but when the athlete lifts their hand off a pressure sensitive strip on the start line or maybe even when the pressure they put on the starting block pedals reaches a certain threshold. To draw even more fanfare meet promoters could dare NFL guys to come out and challenge the sprinters over 40 yards. They wouldn't even have to do the entire 100m race or maybe if enough of them showed up they could even run their own separate heat in which they ran 40 yards and compared it to the split times for the 100m guys. I'd bet if any of them dared to show up they'd be embarassed by the 100m guys and then maybe we wouldn't have to hear about so-and-so having 'World Class Speed" every time we watch a college or pro football game.