Q&A with America’s Gary Snyder, candidate for WMA president

Gary Snyder lives in Boston, Massachusetts — but also West Palm Beach, Florida, during the winter months. He says he’s been active his entire life in sports, including varsity baseball, basketball and track during school years. In later years, he became accomplished at tennis and golf.

Gary Snyder

Gary Snyder

Now a masters sprinter, he has regularly made the finals in USATF national championships in the 60-, 100- and 200-meters dashes.

Gary attended Fairleigh Dickinson University and Boston Architectural College and went on to a 43-year career with AT&T and associated companies.

“[I] worked my way from a technician to chief financial officer in Massachusetts,” he said.

MASTERSTRACK.BLOG: Why do you want to be president of WMA? Who is supporting or endorsing your candidacy?

I want to be the athlete’s president. More of a calling than a “want.” For much of my adult life, people have encouraged me to step forward and run for office to represent them. In track & field, this happened on the USATF club administrative level, on the USATF Association officer level, with USATF Masters Track & Field chair and now also with the WMA president position.

I am endorsed by the United States T&F National Office and USATF Masters T&F Committee.

What three things do you want to accomplish in your term as president?

Establish a council level position to address the needs of country teams.

Reduce the athletes expense by revising the schedule.

Reduce the price of a ticket for the athlete dinner.

How would you perform better as a president than your opponents?

I believe I have the background, experience and personality to be president. I’m retired and have the time necessary to fulfill the responsibilities of president.

How are you making your case to the affiliates? What can you do for the affiliates? 

I have emailed my CV and vision statement to many of the past delegates and member leaders. Improvements for athletes is most important and a plan for each member area is the first step.

What are the biggest concerns of affiliates, and how can you best deliver on solutions?

I have some thoughts but need to discuss them with the athletes and hear what they think. Being an athlete, access to track facilities and training are amongst my issues.

Should WMA hold world masters athletics championships in China? Should WMA return to South America or Africa for its outdoor championships?

Bids from all countries should be considered on merit.

Should WMA lobby for masters exhibition events in the Olympics and make sure masters events always occur in IAAF indoor and outdoor world championships?

Masters events at the Olympics are nice but very difficult. There should be events at all IAAF [world] championships.

How serious or widespread is doping in masters athletics?

Doping is always a serious issue and the current anti-doping efforts are effective as evidenced by the number of suspensions.

What would you do to combat doping beyond what is being done now?

I support the current testing program. Additional education may be an option.

Should the oldest age groups — over 80 — be subject to drug-testing at WMA events? 

I believe there is an age at which athletes should not be tested. At a certain age, participation is more important than performance.

Will you commit to sharing detailed audits of WMA finances? Should athletes have a right to know how WMA officers are spending and investing WMA revenues? (Financial statements have not been posted on WMA website since 2010, and they are not detailed.)

Standard financial statements should be available on the WMA website.

How much travel do you plan to do as WMA president? Will you commit to disclosing your travel expenses — at least the costs to WMA?

I will travel as needed. I have traveled for my entire AT&T career and for USATF. Travel budgets and expenses are a normal part of standard financial statements.

Should John Seto’s mastersrankings.com be incorporated into the WMA website?  Should WMA have its own seasonal lists as the IAAF site does?

I believe Seto receives support from WMA and therefore is connected to the WMA website. Not sure if athletes want seasonal lists but would find out.

What other changes or improvements would you like to see in the WMA website?

The new WMA website is a terrific improvement. I would work with the athletes, council and members to solicit ideas for changes.

How can you or your team better use social media — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other networks — to grow masters athletics worldwide?

Very similar to the website response.

Some affiliates, such as India with multiple governing bodies for masters, have been headaches for WMA. How would you deal with national affiliates that don’t adhere to WMA rules or norms?

I’d have to find out what the issues are but direct face-to-face meetings and dialogue are typically the best means to a solution.

Are you satisfied with the accuracy of WMA world age-group records, given that IAAF lists often show better marks than listed WMA records? 

The issue is: Do we accept records from essentially open events?

WMA has moved its outdoor world meet to even-numbered years to avoid going head-to-head with World Masters Games. Has this change worked out for WMA? Or would you consider teaming with IMGA to conduct world athletics championships?

I believe discussions with IMGA are useful, but WMA is the recognized authority for masters worldwide.

Are you satisfied with the current system for choosing WMA Athletes of the Year, which now have added event-group award winners?  Who should have final say on the winners — the entire WMA Council or the executives? Or just the president? Should WMA award money to the top male and female?

Athlete of the Year and similar awards are best selected by a committee of their peers. No monetary awards.

The Málaga meet expects 8,000 athletes. Is the meet too big?  Should WMA consider qualifying standards for its indoor and outdoor athletics championships?

The meet is not too large, but the schedule needs revision to reduce the number of days for athlete groups such as sprinters, race walkers, etc. No standards.

Should the WMA athletics championships award prize money?  If so, how would this be done?

No prize money as it would only increase expense.

Should WMA revise the Age-Graded Factors? If so, how would this be accomplished?  Who should be involved in this project?  Should athletes have a voice?

I believe a committee is working on the age-graded factors.

Should athletes have a voice in determining rules changes in WMA — beyond the national-affiliate delegates they send to the General Assembly?

Athlete voices are heard through the members. An athlete representative could be added.

What rules changes have been proposed for the Málaga General Assembly?

I don’t know as I am not on Council.

What would it mean to be the first American president of WMA?

It would be a meaningful culmination of my volunteer career in masters.

3 Comments on "Q&A with America’s Gary Snyder, candidate for WMA president"

  1. Mike de Silva | August 6, 2018 at 1:54 am | Reply

    UST&F have had serious organisational problems over recent years. In general US sport outlook is very parochial and I don’t feel Gary has had a sufficiently wide experience to be president.

  2. Friedel Schunk | August 7, 2018 at 7:11 am | Reply

    In my assessment as former WMA council member (Treasurer and interim’s Executive Vice President) Gary is by far the best suited candidate for the Office of President at WMA. I hope he will succeed.

  3. the schedule needs revision to reduce the number of days for athlete groups such as sprinters, race walkers, etc !!! Of course to reduce cost (and not a little..) but also increase level of some events: today, a sprinter has to spend 12 days to run 100 and 4×100..!
    An athlete representative could be added : an other very good idea

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