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Officials Certification & Safe Sport Training
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Information Flyer

USATF SC JO T&F Championships, Myrtle Beach June 22-24

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USATF Youth National Outdoor, 6/26/18 to 7/1/18, Brockport, NY

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Notes from the Desk of Our Chair


International Technical Officials: Until just a few years ago, I was unaware that the IAAF (the international governing body for Track & Field), had a system for training and certifying officials. It is called the Technical Officials Education and Certification System (TOECS). There is also a Race Walking Judges Education and Certification System (RWJECS). Though I would hear terms like “NTO” or “ATO” or “ITO” used, I didn’t really know what they meant, who they were, or what they did. If you would like more information on the IAAF system, follow this link.

According to the USATF Regulations, the IAAF Technical Officials Subcommittee is charged with overseeing and setting standards for IAAF Technical Officials and IAAF Race Walking Judges. This Subcommittee is chaired by an individual appointed by the USATF President. The current Chair is Laurie Boemker. The IAAF Technical Officials Subcommittee certifies NTOs in the United States, trains and generally supervises NTOs, ATOs, ITOs, and IRWJs in the US, and makes recommendations for promotion in IAAF Officiating to the USATF President. This subcommittee, in conjunction with the NOC’s Training, Rules, and Certification subcommittees, is working on a more structured NTO certification process and a long-range plan for preparing future candidates for ATO, ITO, ARWJ, and IRWJ evaluations.

Those who have current IAAF certifications are:

  • IAAF International Technical Official: Mike Armstrong
  • IAAF International Race Walking Judge: Maryanne Daniel, Reginald Weissglas
  • IAAF Area (NACAC) International Technical Official: John Blackburn, Laurie Boemker, Ed Gorman, Bob Podkaminer, Betsy Reed, Eric Zemper
  • IAAF Area (NACAC) International Race Walking Judges: Patricia Hannah, Daniel Pierce, William Pollinger
  • IAAF Area (NACAC) International Starter Panel: Tiffany (Banks) Chin Aleong
  • IAAF Technical Committee and IAAF International Cross Country Road Running Official: David Katz
  • World Para Athletics has its own certification and evaluation process. World Para Athletic International Technical Officials: Jerry Clayton, Carroll DeWeese, Jack Todd.

I also want to recognize Gary Westerfield as an International Race Walking Judge instructor, Tom McTaggert as an International Starter Panel instructor, Richard Roberts as a Para Athletics instructor, and the late George Kleeman as an International Technical Official instructor.

Being Professional: As Track & Field Officials, we need to put emphasis on being safe, being fair, being athlete-centered, and being professional. Being professional has nothing to do with how much you are paid or not paid to officiate a meet. It is about how you conduct yourself. Here are some thoughts that apply to all officials:

  • Be early to everything. Be early to crew meetings before and after events. Be early in setting up the venue. Be early in picking up the athletes. There are still too many officials who falsely think their job doesn’t begin until the event begins.
  • As the lead character in a bad movie once said, “Be nice.” Be nice to other officials, athletes, coaches, and media. Even in times of disagreement and tension, be nice. There is no excuse to be rude, harsh, or demeaning to another person.
  • When you are officiating, be about your business and let the athletes be about theirs. Do not be overly-friendly with athletes or coaches and do not take photos during warm-ups or the competition.
  • Stay in your lane and work through the meet structure. Sometimes, those of us who are often head officials will find ourselves a crew member. In that case, let the head be the head and follow their lead, even if you would do things differently. If an athlete or coach approaches you with a problem, send them to the head. If you are the head official, don’t make decisions that are the Referee’s to make unless you have permission to do so. And if you are a Referee and have suggestions to improve the crew’s function, talk with the head official rather than moving officials or changing procedures without consulting him or her.

Support Your Association Meets: Though the high school and college seasons are winding down, we are moving into a busy season of Association Championships. I can say from experience that it is frustrating to have USATF officials who work college, high school, and AAU meets but are unwilling to work USATF to work their Association meets. I encourage you to support USATF and make yourself available to serve the athletes of your association. Support your Association Championships!

National Officials Shirts: As of May 10, there are still 346 certified officials who have not entered their shirt size and, therefore, have not received their uniform shirt. If you have not received yours, please check your USATF profile or check with your Association Certification Chair.

You can contact Mike Armstrong via email at


Marty’s Training Tip

The position of UMPIRE is one of the most often overlooked of all officials in track. How many of us have worked a meet with no umpires at all, or perhaps been pulled away from a field event to judge a 4x100 exchange zone because apparently that is the only time umpires are actually required? In reality, we would love to cover the track with complete video coverage. We wish we could have two umpires positioned at each flight of hurdles, plus add a couple more on each turn strictly to look for lane violations and obstructions, then make sure you have folks on the straightaways as well, but we know that won't happen. So given the limited resources we have, where is it best to station umpires for a challenging race like the 400mH?

The 400mH race is especially challenging because the barriers are spread out over such a long distance, and early in the race you may have multiple athletes clearing the hurdle almost simultaneously. Later in the race the hurdles are closer to being in line as the staggers are made up, but the athletes are tired so infractions are more likely to occur. Where should you be? First, with limited umpires, move to the outside of the track to give yourself the best chance of an unobstructed view of the race. Second, it is easier to call hooking or a drooping trail leg from in front of the hurdles (athletes running towards you). These can be difficult to see if you are trying to position yourself to have a view along an entire flight simultaneously. So, outside the track, between flights so you can see the athletes as they approach at least two flights, by turning as the athletes pass, you can also catch at least one flight going away. Is this optimal? Of course not, but we don't have 26 umpires for each race. So take your four umpires (a common enough number outside of a national championship), and station them so that you can watch the first turn as the athletes start (from behind the start), make sure you have at least two on the last turn, and put one on the back stretch. By the time they hit the home stretch, the hurdles are all in a row and it is much easier for the first umpire to move over towards the finish to watch the final few hurdles coming in.

Want to see more “Training Tips”? Let Marty Johnson know via email atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Sometimes No-Big-Thing Rules Actually CAN BE a Big Thing

I recently checked in at a high school to officiate a district championship meet and was told by a coach that the cover of my long/triple jump pit had been removed. I asked if it might need watering and was told it might need a little, but probably not – it was pretty much ready.

After setting runway tap[e and deciding how I wanted to handle the ¾” space between the foul edge of the long jump board (there was no foul line) and an apparent cement edge of the runway under the cork-like top surface, it was time to work the pit.

The broom I pushed across stopped as if ii had hit a wall. Click to find out what was found.


USATF Rule of the Month - Youth Athletics - Rule 302.5 (k)

Field Events - Pole Vault Box Collar Pad

In the Pole Vault, a pole vault box collar pad complying with ASTM F2949-12 shall be used.


IAAF Rule of the Month - Hurdle Races - Rule 168.7

(Refer to USATF - Hurdles - Rule 168.3)

Each athlete shall go over each hurdle. Failure to do so will result in a disqualification. In addition, an athlete shall be disqualified, if:

(a) his foot or leg is, at the instant of clearance, beside the hurdle (on either side), below the horizontal plane of the top of any hurdle; or

(b) in the opinion of the Referee, he deliberately knocks down any hurdle.

Note: Provided that this Rule is otherwise observed and the hurdle is not displaced or its height lowered in any manner including tilting in any direction, an athlete may go over the hurdle in any manner.

Rule 168.7(a) applies to both the athlete’s “lead” and “trail” legs. “Knocking down” a hurdle does not in itself result in disqualification. Many athletes knock down the hurdle by hitting the top of the bar when pulling through their back leg. Deliberately knocking down a hurdle (e.g. when the athlete arrives too near the hurdle) is an infringement. The Referee should be satisfied that the action of the athlete was to deliberately knock down the hurdle so as to avoid the key requirement of Rule 168.7 that each athlete shall go over each hurdle. The most obvious example is where the athlete uses his hand. In other cases, such as where it appears the foot or the underside of the thigh may have been used deliberately, the Referee must have a high level of certainty that the action was deliberate and in contravention of the intention of the Rule. An example of where the athlete does not raise his lead leg sufficiently high as to clear the hurdle and as a result knocks it down, could be such a case. In relation to the Note, it will mainly be relevant to competitions at a lower level but is nonetheless applicable to all. Essentially it permits an athlete, often one who has fallen or lost their stride pattern, to for example place their hands on the hurdle and “climb over”.


World Para Athletics - Description of Officials and Their Duties - Rule 2.5 - International Road Course Measurer

(Refer to IAAF Rule 117)

An International Road Course Measurer may be appointed to verify the courses where road events are held entirely or partially outside the stadium.

The appointed course measurer shall be a member of the IAAF/AIMS Panel of International Road Course Measurers (Grade “A” or “B”).

The course should be measured in good time before the competition.

The measurer will check and certify the course if he finds it conforms to the Rules for Road Race (See Rule 49.2 and Rule 49.3 and respective notes).

He shall cooperate with the LOC in the course arrangements and witness the conduct of the race to ensure that the course run by athletes follows the same course that was measured and approved.

He shall furnish an appropriate certificate to the Technical Delegate(s).

COMMENT: It is important to note that WPA (World Para Athletics) does not certify course measurers but uses those certified by IAAF/AIMS for any of their events which run independently of IAAF road races.


Did You Know?

Nike was previously known as Blue Ribbon Sports (RBS). It officially became Nike, Inc. on May 30, 1971. The company takes its name from Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.


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