Country: Isle of Man/ UK
Tom is the director at Mezzo Management Group, an athlete representation and event management agency. The agency’s list of athletes includes Omar McLeod (Rio 2016 110m Hurdles gold medallist), Britany Anderson (U20 100m Hurdles record holder), Jazmin Sawyers (Commonwealth Games long jump silver medallist) and Betsy Saina (10,000m Rio 2016 finalist). The group also manages the Gothenburg Athletics Grand Prix, a European Athletics Classic Meeting.
What is the one stigma athletics agents cannot seem to shake off?
Many people still seem to think we are not needed within the sport as all we do is take money from athletes. I would argue that a professional agent assists in guiding the athlete through their career and ensure that they receive contracts which are in keeping with their level of results, experience and how well they can tell “their story”.
What basic support do athletes often require?
Kit. It is expensive to buy. A very close second to this however would be guidance on how they elevate themselves to the next level in the career.
What are the two aspects that prevents amateur or junior athletes from turning professional?
Overtraining or poor coaching is a big one for junior athletes as well as the many distractions of daily life. We are in an age of instant gratification and it takes a special mindset to keep focused and work hard to enjoy the results of years of training.
Name one area in which Track and Field athletes struggle during transition through the sport?
The sport is hard, very time demanding, and the struggle is often a financial one unless you have a very supportive family. Even at the lower end of Diamond League competitors there is not a lot of money to be made across the entire year, most would likely make more money working in a regular office job.
What do you envision the future of Track and Field to look like?
I would like to envision that it is faster paced, more data driven but also embraces the stories of the athletes. Unfortunately, within the sport there are many people reluctant to change so it can take a long time to come about.
What two changes can be made to move the sport forward?
Track data. I think the fans want to see the numbers in order to better judges themselves against the athletes, this helps to create interest. I believe we should be much more open to technological changes also; we have seen this recently in the shoe markets. The general public want to buy things which they hope will make them faster and in turn this money helps pay athletes wages (shoe contracts) so it is good for the sport.