TrackTown USA announced today that Bob Greifeld and Franklin “Pitch” Johnson, Jr. will continue their roles as chief financial investors of the TrackTown Summer Series, continuing decades of work to elevate the sport of track and field in the U.S. and create opportunities at home for American athletes.
The two financial investors share a lifelong passion and commitment to the sport, and they will continue to provide a guiding vision for the growth and development of the TrackTown Summer Series as members of the Board of Directors. Greifeld and Johnson provided the financial resources which helped launch the TrackTown Summer Series in its highly acclaimed debut at Hayward Field last summer.
“Without the financial backing and genuine excitement from both Bob and Pitch, the TrackTown Summer Series would not exist,” TrackTown USA President Vin Lananna said. “They are both renowned leaders in the business world and they bring a lifetime of experience to this growing enterprise. Their passion and wise counsel provide an ideal foundation for the Series to flourish.”
This summer, the 2017 TrackTown Summer Series will expand to three competitions with the championship meet in New York City televised live by ESPN:
Greifeld, 59, currently serves as Chairman of the Board of NASDAQ, Inc. in New York City, following a 14-year stint as CEO. He was named Chairman of the USA Track & Field Foundation in 2004. Greifeld accepted USATF’s “Groundbreaker Award” on behalf of the USATF Foundation last November in recognition of more than a decade of service in which millions of dollars were raised for youth and emerging track and field athletes in this country.
“Our athletes have to travel to Europe each summer for top-tier competition. That reality doesn’t exist in any other sport,” said Greifeld. “The Summer Series will provide an opportunity for American athletes to race and augment their income without having to travel overseas.”
Pitch Johnson, 88, lived in Des Moines, Iowa, until the age of 12, where his father, Franklin (Pitch) Johnson, Sr., served as head track and field coach at Drake University (1928-40). The senior Johnson, a 1924 Olympic hurdler, also was meet director of the Drake Relays (1933-40) before completing his coaching career at Stanford (1940-45). Encouraged by his father, Pitch Johnson earned a track and field scholarship to Stanford and became a standout performer in both the 440-yard dash and 4×440-yard relay. He served in the Air Force, and later became one of the founders of venture capitalism in the Bay Area.
“I’m very optimistic about the future of track and field,” Pitch Johnson said. “I believe in the TrackTown Summer Series and I’m delighted to join forces with other stakeholders as we build something truly special in the coming years.”