Mike O'Hara, the professional track tycoon, says his International Track Association is not discouraged by the financial wounds it suffered last year and will begin its second season in February. The schedule includes three meets on national TV and two meets in Japan. "We lost a little money last year," O'Hara said last week, "but we weren't disappointed with attendance. We figured it would take about 8,000 per meet to break even, and we averaged about 7,500."
Some purists among track fans are generally unenthusiastic about the pro meets, but O'Hara hopes that the combination of hoopla and name performers will attract its own audience. His instructions to his athletes last year still hold good: "You are athletes first, and concentration upon your competition is certainly important. But keep in mind that we are entertainers also, and a bit of show biz will be appreciated by your fans.... Wave during introductions, smile, turn to all sides of the arena and acknowledge applause."
And try to run a little faster.